Note: The Board of Regents approved this appointment May 20.
Francine Lafontaine, associate dean for Business+Impact at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and William Davidson Professor of Business Administration, will step in as the Ross School’s interim dean, effective May 24, subject to Board of Regents’ approval at the virtual May 20 meeting.
Lafontaine succeeds Scott DeRue, the current dean, who will step down on May 23 to move to an executive position in the private sector.
“Professor Lafontaine combines her commitments to education and research with a deep dedication to the success of her faculty colleagues and students at the Ross School,” said Susan M. Collins, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.
“As interim dean, she will lead the school in furthering its work to ensure that business has a positive impact in the world and assuring continued work toward its goals of diversity and inclusion.”
Lafontaine began her academic career as an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University. She joined the Ross faculty as an assistant professor in 1991, was promoted to associate professor in 1995 and to professor in 2000. She was the Jack D. Sparks – Whirlpool Corporation Research Professor of Business Administration from 2005-07 and has held the William Davidson Professor of Business Administration chair since 2010.
“I am truly honored and excited to serve the Ross School as interim dean” said Lafontaine, who also is a professor of business economics in the Ross School and professor of economics in LSA. “I look forward to working with the Ross community and with colleagues throughout campus in this new capacity. This will surely be one of the greatest experiences of my career.”
From 2016-20, Lafontaine served as the senior associate dean for faculty and research at Ross. Prior to that, she served as the director at the Bureau of Economics for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission from fall of 2014 to the end of 2015. She also was the chair of the Business Economics and Public Policy group at Ross from 2003-12.
Her research focuses on industrial organization, vertical relationships, contracting and franchising, and entrepreneurship, along with related public policy issues. She has received several research grants, including from the Sloan Foundation and the National Science Foundation.
Lafontaine’s awards and honors include the 2020-21 Andy Andrews Service Award at Ross, the Ross senior faculty research award in 2012-2013 and an honorary doctorate from the University of Rennes 1 in 2013. She served as president of the Society for Institutional & Organizational Economics in 2018-19 and as president of the Industrial Organization Society from 2010-12.
She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and master’s degree in applied economics from HEC Montreal at the University of Montreal. She received a Ph.D. in economics from the University of British Columbia.