Blog post

In Memory of Olivier Ferrand

Publishing date
02 July 2012
Nicolas Véron

Olivier Ferrand, the founder of French think tank Terra Nova, died of an untimely death on June 30 in the South of France, where he had just been elected deputy for the district of Marseilles North-East. He was 42.

Terra Nova, founded in 2008, owed its very existence to Olivier’s extraordinary drive. In a very short period of time it has already made multiple impacts – not least nudging France’s center-left Socialist Party into accepting the principle of open primaries to select their Presidential election candidate, as well as advocating for a constructive French posture in the EU and more structural reform at home. On the whole, Terra Nova has been a voice for enlightenment of the domestic policy debate, of which there are far too few in France. One can only hope that Olivier’s legacy will prosper in this promising institution.

As a prominent member of the new generation of deputies who were elected on June 17, he was also an inspiration for the entire French public and looked forward to promoting bold reform initiatives in the National Assembly. As such, his passing away is a sad loss for the cause of reform in France. My home country has a glaring need for assertive political entrepreneurship and willingness for risk-taking in policymaking, qualities that Olivier had in spades.

On a personal level, I had known Olivier since the late 1980s, and like all his friends I will severely miss his humanity, optimism, and boundless energy. All my thoughts are to his wife and daughter.

About the authors

  • Nicolas Véron

    Nicolas Véron is a senior fellow at Bruegel and at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, DC. His research is mostly about financial systems and financial reform around the world, including global financial regulatory initiatives and current developments in the European Union. He was a cofounder of Bruegel starting in 2002, initially focusing on Bruegel’s design, operational start-up and development, then on policy research since 2006-07. He joined the Peterson Institute in 2009 and divides his time between the US and Europe.

    Véron has authored or co-authored numerous policy papers that include banking supervision and crisis management, financial reporting, the Eurozone policy framework, and economic nationalism. He has testified repeatedly in front of committees of the European Parliament, national parliaments in several EU member states, and US Congress. His publications also include Smoke & Mirrors, Inc.: Accounting for Capitalism, a book on accounting standards and practices (Cornell University Press, 2006), and several books in French.

    His prior experience includes working for Saint-Gobain in Berlin and Rothschilds in Paris in the early 1990s; economic aide to the Prefect in Lille (1995-97); corporate adviser to France’s Labour Minister (1997-2000); and chief financial officer of MultiMania / Lycos France, a publicly-listed online media company (2000-2002). From 2002 to 2009 he also operated an independent Paris-based financial consultancy.

    Véron is a board member of the derivatives arm (Global Trade Repository) of the Depositary Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC), a financial infrastructure company that operates globally on a not-for-profit basis. A French citizen born in 1971, he has a quantitative background as a graduate from Ecole Polytechnique (1992) and Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris (1995). He is trilingual in English, French and Spanish, and has fluent understanding of German and Italian.

    In September 2012, Bloomberg Markets included Véron in its second annual 50 Most Influential list with reference to his early advocacy of European banking union.


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