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Leo Goldschmidt, born 1932, graduated from the Solvay Business School of Brussels University.

A banker for most of his life, he spent an early four years' interlude as chief of staff of one of the deputy directors general at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. His banking career began in the fifties in the credit department at the Société Belge de Banque and continued in the sixties at Banque du Benelux where he became Director and General Manager. In 1970 he was named Managing Partner of Banque Degroof, a leading Belgian merchant bank, in charge i.a. of its investment banking activities. In parallel, he also served his profession as chairman of the Belgian Banks Association, as a board member of the European Federation of Banks, and as a director or executive committee member of various public institutions. He has chaired or been a director of numerous companies and societies. He has also been engaged in teaching at the Universities of Brussels and Southern Europe, as well as in Vietnam.

Having retired from banking he continued up to 2016 to hold independent directorships in a number of companies and societies, including ECGI (European Corporate Governance Institute). He has participated in numerous corporate governance activities world-wide, amongst others by chairing the Corporate Governance Committee of EASD, serving on the OECD Corporate Governance Task Force, taking part in World Bank-OECD Round Table work in Russia, South-East Europe, Latin America and Asia and giving lectures on corporate governance in various countries. He also endowed his University with a chair on corporate governance.


At the turn of the century, the SBS-EM’s Advisory Board, of which I had the privilege to be vice-chairman, encouraged the School to launch a fund-raising campaign to widen and upgrade its curriculum. Endowing a chair seemed to me an appropriate way of giving something back to the institution whose outstanding teaching had enabled me to pursue a rewarding career. Moreover, I saw it as an opportunity to promote research and tuition in corporate governance, a subject absent from the School’s programme. 

I had developed a strong interest in the field during my years at Banque Degroof. Sitting on the boards of numerous companies and organisations, and acting as an advisor to business leaders, what struck me was the widespread need to understand more thoroughly the nature of and the rationale for the interactions within a corporation, as well as between it and its various stakeholders. 

After retiring from banking, I became ever more involved in corporate governance circles and activities worldwide, serving institutions such as the OECD, the IFC (International Finance Corporation), ICGN (International Corporate Governance Network), and ECGI (European Corporate Governance Institute). 

Over the last three decades, the importance of corporate governance has been increasingly recognised, as individual failures and broader crises highlighted the necessity of prevention rather than cure. Future managers and economists need to broaden their perspectives regarding the proper functioning of corporate organisations, so endowing a chair devoted to corporate governance seemed to me a meaningful way of contributing to the School.

~ Léo Goldschmidt

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