André Lévy-Lang

Category: 1960s /  All Harkness Stories /  Economics, Finance & Business /  Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths / 

André Lévy-Lang (HF 1963 - 65) was invited with other young Europeans to attend a month long summer seminar, the ‘Salzburg Seminar in American Studies’, some time after graduating from Ecole Polytechnique in 1958. This probably led in 1963 to the Harkness Foundation offering him a fellowship . As he had always been interested in Finance and Economics, he and his wife took this opportunity, and he applied to Stanford to work on a PhD in these fields. After two wonderful years on campus, and back in France after completing his thesis, Andre discovered that his French and American degrees did not open the doors of the French financial establishment of the sixties, so he went back to an engineering career with Schlumberger. In 1974, the right door opened at last and he joined Compagnie Bancaire, a maverick banking group which pioneered modern retail finance in France. He became its CEO in 1982, then in 1990 the CEO of its major shareholder, Banque Paribas, an investment bank. In 1999, they were acquired by BNP to create BNPParibas, still the leading bank in Europe, and he retired.  Andre’s third career, since 2000, has been as an advisor or mentor to various boards or executives, a teacher in Finance at Dauphine University and the founder and chairman of a research network, the Institut Louis Bachelier,  which channels mostly private funds to over 40 research projects in Finance, Economics, Demography, Energy, Climate and Data, in the main French universities and graduate schools.