Richard Descoings, the head of the Paris Institute of Political Studies, one of France’s most prestigious academic institutions, has been found dead in a New York hotel room, police say.
The body of Richard Descoings, 53, was discovered naked at the Michelangelo hotel in Manhattan.
A police spokesman said investigators were awaiting a medical report to determine the likely cause of death.
He said police had so far found no evidence that a crime was committed.
Richard Descoings had been the director of the Sciences Po institute, one of France’s elite “grandes ecoles”, since 1996.
Colleagues raised the alarm on Tuesday morning when he failed to appear at an UN-sponsored conference of university heads he had travelled to New York to attend.
The spokesman, Paul Browne, told the AFP news agency that there was “no sign of trauma”.
He said the disorderly state of Richard Descoings’ room at the time of the discovery was the result of attempts by medical staff to resuscitate him.
Richard Descoings was known for carrying out a programme of far-reaching reform at Sciences Po, which educates much of the French political, media and administrative elite.
He also improved access for students from less privileged backgrounds.
In a statement, French President Nicolas Sarkozy paid tribute to Richard Descoings’ career, saying he had devoted his life to education.