Richard Descoings

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Richard Descoings
Richard Descoings (right)
Director of Sciences Po
In office
Preceded byAlain Lancelot
Succeeded byFrédéric Mion
Personal details
Born(1958-06-23)23 June 1958
Paris, France
Died3 April 2012(2012-04-03) (aged 53)
New York City, United States
Nadia Marik
(m. 2004)
EducationLycée Henri-IV
Alma materSciences Po, ÉNA

Richard Descoings (French: [ʁiʃaʁ dekwɛ̃]; June 23, 1958 – April 3, 2012[1]) was a French civil servant. He was serving as the Director of the Paris Institute of Political Studies (French: Institut d'études politiques de Paris or Sciences Po Paris),[2][3] and as such as the Chief Administrator of the National Foundation of Political Science (Fondation nationale des sciences politiques, FNSP). These two entities are collectively referred to as Sciences Po (see Use of Sciences Po), and are two of the most prestigious public policy research and teaching bodies in Europe.[4] Descoings was also a senior member of the Conseil d'État.

Early life[edit]

Descoings was born in Paris, where he graduated from the Institut d'études politiques (Sciences Po) in 1980, and subsequently studied at the École nationale d'administration from 1983 to 1985.


From 1985 to 1989, he worked as an auditor in the legal section of the Conseil d'État and, in 1987, was appointed special advisor to Alain Lancelot, Director of the Institut d'études politiques de Paris.

In 1989 he was appointed deputy director of the Institut d’études politiques de Paris, and remained in that post until 1991 when he was appointed Counsel (conseiller d'État) of the Conseil d'État. From 1991 to 1993, he was successively technical advisor to the cabinet of the Minister for the Budget, with particular responsibility for monitoring the national education and higher education budget, and then special advisor to the Minister of National Education with responsibility for budgetary issues.[citation needed]

From 1993 to 1996 he was appointed Deputy General Reporter on the report and studies section of the Conseil d'État and on the task force on the responsibilities and organization of the State. From 1995 to 1996, he worked as government commissioner for legal training at the Conseil d'État. He was appointed the chief figure at Sciences Po in 1996.

For his service to the French Republic, Descoings was awarded Knight of the Order of Merit and Knight of the Order of Academic Palms. He was also awarded Commander of the Brazilian Order of Rio Branco[2] and an honorary doctorates from Waseda University, Japan.[5]


On April 3, 2012, he was found dead in a Manhattan luxury hotel room.[6][7] The circumstances surrounding his premature death and his dissolute lifestyle have generated rumours in the media,[7][8] but it was determined that he died a natural death[9] of "causes related to hypertension."[10]

Grave of Richard Descoings at the Pernes-les-Fontaines cemetery

He is buried at the cemetery of Pernes-les-Fontaines in southeastern France.[11]


  • Raphaëlle Bacqué, Richie, Paris, Grasset, 2015


  1. ^ Sciences Po : l'intrigante mort de Richard Descoings, Le Point, le 4 avril 2012
  2. ^ a b "Richard Descoings". OECD. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
  3. ^ "Director's statement". SciencesPo. Archived from the original on 15 September 2010. Retrieved 13 October 2010.
  4. ^ Toure, Madina (4 April 2012). "Sciences Po president found dead after missing Columbia conference". Columbia Daily Spectator. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
  5. ^ "Honorary Doctorates,Prize and Awards". Waseda University website. Archived from the original on 25 October 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
  6. ^ "French academic Descoings found dead in New York hotel". BBC. 4 April 2012.
  7. ^ a b Jethro Mullen (4 April 2012). "French educator found dead in New York was dynamic, controversial figure". CNN.
  8. ^ "How did another top Frenchman come to grief in New York". The Independent. 8 April 2012.
  9. ^ "'Gay hookup' link in French scholar's Manhattan hotel room death: sources". 2012-04-05. Retrieved 2023-01-29.
  10. ^ "Sciences Po Director Died of Natural Causes" The Chronicle of Higher Education" May 30, 2012, [1]
  11. ^ "Google Maps".

External links[edit]