Gordon obituary

With great sadness, we say goodbye to our dear colleague and friend, prof. Gordon Shenton, whose accomplishments and contributions to the management education community are immense.

Prof. Gordon Shenton was the Director of EFMD’s Quality Services for many years and also Emeritus Professor at EM-LYON Business School. He dedicated his career to promoting quality and impact in management education globally. He was the founding father of some of the most innovative and transformational services in the management education area, such as EQUIS, CLIP, SLR and BSIS.

Gordon actively contributed to the establishment of the EQUIS accreditation system (you can listen to his thoughtful comments on the genesis of EQUIS in this video interview), subsequently accompanying many schools around the world in pursuing their quality development objectives with diligence and care. Then, he helped to bring the EQUIS quality framework to the corporate learning environment by establishing CLIP.

Gordon was a dedicated senior member of the Quality Services team and participated in 52 EQUIS and CLIP peer review visits, chairing 33 of them. He also contributed to the international development of the Business School Impact System, lately co-directing the department and participating in most of the impact assessment visits.

Gordon advocated for the internationalisation of business education and led numerous collaborative efforts across the network with enthusiasm and conviction. He also believed in the transformational power of quality processes. He often said that “EQUIS is not only a quality assessment but also a quality improvement process, very much rooted in the mission of EFMD.”

Besides his excellent leadership, research record and industry insights, which helped schools climb the quality improvement ladder, Gordon was a wonderful man, full of kindness, compassion and humanity. His humbleness and thoughtfulness inspired colleagues and partners at EFMD.

The management education community has lost an outstanding leader and a genuine and beautiful person. Gordon has been a long-standing and great friend of EFMD, and words can’t express our grief. Our sympathy, thoughts and prayers are with his family, colleagues and the whole academic community. Please accept our sincere condolences.

– Eric and the EFMD family


  1. Laurent Choain on December 26, 2022 at 20:38

    Gordon’s legacy is invaluable.
    What Gordon has brought to management does not lie in research papers or thought-provoking ideas of what management should be. His name doesn’t show up on any fancy rankings. But he will be remembered as the subtlest architect of what a modern business school can be, and then what a modern corporate university can be. He did this by being the trailblazer of EQUIS and then CLIP: open, indicative, inclusive and selective accreditation systems that have shaped the landscape of thousands of students, professors, executives and their respective institutions. Peter Drucker – who shared with Gordon a clear, uncompromising vision on the value added by management – once said that the purpose of a life is to make a [positive] difference. As such, Gordon had a successful, and very inspiring life.

  2. Prof Steven DEKREY on January 1, 2023 at 06:13

    Ironically, I was thinking about Gordon some weeks ago after years of no contact, meaning to check with EFMD on his status. Learning of his death confirmed my fear and brings back the time when, at my request in 1998, he brought EQUIS to Asia and reviewed HKUST. Shortly after gaining accreditation he invited me to join EFMDs foray into Australia serving on his Peer Review Team. It is due to my enjoyable early work with Gordon and respect for EQUIS that I accepted Eric’s nomination and the EFMD board election to serve on the EQUIS accreditation board. Gordon was a visionary, a dedicated leader and a very kind person. He also had a very positive outlook with accompanying broad smile! We shared a passion for boating and I am hopeful that he enjoyed many boat trips after his retirement in the South of France! May he rest in peace!

  3. Dan LeClair on January 11, 2023 at 12:55

    I first met Gordon in a resort on the Italian island of Sardinia more than 20 years ago. That night, I ran into him on the path back to my room. It was midnight; and I had just left friends at the bar. He was coming back from a swim in the Mediterranean Sea! In the time since that moment, he’s only reinforced my initial impression — that, in addition to his sharp mind and meaningful presence, few people are as alive, or full of life, as Gordon. It is hard to imagine him being gone. My condolences to his family and to everyone he loved.