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I N F O the magazine for anglo-french business french chamber of commerce in great britain

may / june 2014 www.frenchchamber.co.uk

Hospitality & RestauRants tastes, tRends and tRansfoRmations


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Arnaud Bamberger

editorial

President, French Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain, and Executive Chairman of Cartier

W

e are delighted at the news that Her Majesty the Queen, accompanied by HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, will be visiting France in early June at the invitation of President Hollande. This, her first State Visit to France in 10 years, celebrates the close ties between our two countries past and present with the 70th anniversary commemorations of the Second World War Normandy Landings as well as a formal reception at the Elysée Palace and other State Visit events in Paris. France has also made headlines here with President Hollande’s recent government reshuffle that put in place 16 new Ministers – a notably egalitarian complement of eight men and eight women – and 14 Deputy Ministers. New Prime Minister Manuel Valls has been compared with Britain’s ‘New Labour’ Tony Blair for his pro-business ideas and dashing style, but the appointment that aroused the most interest in the British press was that of Ségolène Royal as Ecology Minister. Another major change is that Foreign Trade and Investments, Tourism and French people abroad now fall within the remit of Quai d’Orsay (Foreign Ministry) rather than Bercy (Economy and Finance Ministry), which, according to Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, allows the state’s external action to be unified under the same authority for the sake of efficiency and coherence, benefiting in particular the economic recovery. We would like to congratulate Axelle Lemaire who has been appointed Deputy Minister for the Digital Economy in the new French government. Axelle Lemaire is well known in London as being the first elected representative of Northern Europe in the French National Assembly. Stepping away from the realms of politics, with this issue of INFO we are proud to be marking the magazine’s 35th anniversary, and look forward to many more years of this quality publication that serves Franco-British business interests. This issue focuses on Hospitality and Restaurants, a sector of immense importance to both Britain and France, as articles in the Focus reveal, both in its significant contribution to GDP and in the employment it provides across the spectrum. We can be justly proud of the French contribution to the UK hotel and restaurant scene – our gastronomy, chefs, hoteliers and l’art de vivre have all played a part. In our fastchanging world, there are many common issues faced by the industry the world over, and the articles herein look at specifics and how this part of the service industry is evolving in response. Two of the flagship events in the Chamber’s calendar are fast approaching: our Annual Gala Dinner, this year taking place on 28 May with Lionel Barber, Editor of the Financial Times, as guest speaker, and our Annual General Meeting on 5 June. I very much look forward to seeing you on both occasions. I

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Contents issue 212 / May - June 2014

12

16

City profile: Ian Fisher

8 Happy Birthday INFO magazine! 11 Does Britain’s future lie with Europe?

5 minutes with...

12 Thomas Dubaere, MD Accor Hotels UK

News in the City

15 Payback time 16 City profile: Ian Fisher 17 City shorties

News

18 London & Partners presents dotlondon, a new domain for the capital

19 Airbus and easyJet commemorate

historic deal EDF Energy opens two new electricity generating sites

20 JCDecaux launches Channel 6 network 22 Veolia receives Queen’s Award for Enterprise 24 Capgemini named among World’s Most Ethical Companies

24 Handicap International presents petition to UK Government

36

5 mins with... Thomas Dubaere

68

Dame Helen Alexander and Laurence Parisot debate

Lunch with... Raymond Blanc OBE

72

Dining on luxury

Focus

33 Facts, figures and beyond: the far-reaching impact of the UK hospitality industry

34 Leisure and hospitality: industry insights 36 Lunch with Raymond Blanc OBE 38 Preserving heritage in a globalising brand 39 Branding challenges for a city hotel 40 Adapting to the new age of fine dining: a restaurant’s perspective

41 Wining and dining 42 Social media: to tweet or not to tweet 44 Training the next generation 46 Recruiting and training at hotel level: the Pullman St Pancras case study

47 That VAT issue 48 CSR in the hospitality business needn’t cost the earth

Culture

50 Royal Opera House heads Franco-British partnership to stage Verdi’s Requiem

52 The Bastille Day Ball commences Salute to Style at the Hurlingham Club

25 Schools news

52 What’s on 54 Book reviews

SMEs startups

Eat, Drink, Stay

28 Briefs 31 Big Fernand on its London opening Managing Director: Florence Gomez Editor-in-Chief: Keri Fuller Corporate Communication Executive: Marielle Fraize Graphic Designer: Prima Hevawitharane Advertising & Sales: Suzanne Lycett Publications Assistant: Justine Kroll Subscription: INFO is published every 2 months Printed by: Headley Brothers Ltd

55 Champagne in the family 56 Sipping cocktails with Churchill Contributors: James Barr, Anthony Barry, Eric Charriaux, Martin Couchman OBE, Peter Ducker, Jaime Faus, Laurent François, Patrick Gougeon, Jennifer Lainé, Thibault Lavergne, Adam Lawrence, Ombeline de Lencquesaing, Malcolm Lewis, Peggy Li, Gwénaëlle Maret-Delos, John Nyoti, Ed Purnell, Tom Quinn, Julia Svetlosakova Cover photographs: © Shutterstock/Robyn Mackenzie © Atout France/Nathalie Baetens Courtesy of Pullman London St Pancras - Deluxe Suite Cover artwork: The French Chamber of Commerce/Prima Hevawitharane

57 L’atelier des Chefs – mobile kitchens 58 PAUL meets Jean Paul

Cheese & Wine

News @ the Chamber

62 New members 64 Hats off to 65 New main representatives 65 Chamber shorties 66 Musselling in on a great occasion

Cross –Cultural Relations debate: The best of both worlds

67 M2M: Making connections and discoveries 68 Dame Helen Alexander and Laurence Parisot: Women of inspiration and leadership

70 A short guide to a successful home purchase: UK vs France

71 Investing in bricks & mortar: France or UK? 72 Dining on luxury with Nicholas Coleridge CBE

74 Perfect pairings at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon 75 HR Forum: Learning is the job

Finance Forum: Digital business shares: a pricing puzzle

77 SME Club: How to define and

implement a successful marketing strategy for your business

78 Sophie Mirman: new SME Club co-chair 79 Calendar of events Distribution: French Chamber members, FrancoBritish decision makers, Business Class lounges of Eurostar, Eurotunnel and Air France in London, Paris and Manchester Editorial and Publishing Office: French Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain Lincoln House, 300 High Holborn London WC1V 7JH Tel: (020) 7092 6600; Fax: (020) 7092 6601 www.ccfgb.co.uk

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Š photo credits: VINCI, Crossrail, BBMV and MVB photo libraries

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info - may / june - 


INFO A nniversar y

Happy Birthday INFO magazine! F

irst published in 1979, INFO turns 35 this year. Back then it contained articles in both French and English, but while much has changed, a lot is surprisingly familiar. Similarities can be found in the themes of the ‘Dossier’ (today’s Focus), as well as some sections such as ‘Vie de la Chambre’ (now News @ the Chamber).

1979

Dossier INFO 4 (July / August 1979) dealt with transport and communications as will our September/ October issue this year. In 1979, INFO reported on progress and the evolution of the means of liaison between the two countries – rail, roads, water and air – and was already putting an emphasis on technology. The Franco-British Economic Climate gave INFO readers some insight and forecast of French and British economies, in particular on issues that are still main concerns for both countries: Unemployment In the UK at the end of 1978, the number of jobseekers still represented 5.5% of the active population even though it had decreased by 100,000 since the peak of 1,435,000 reached in September 1977. In France, the main black spot was employment with unemployment figures reaching record levels of over 1.3 million.’

1989

Inflation The 1979 forecast for the UK indicates that if nominal income increases by about 12%, inflation is likely to reach double-digits, and Pound Sterling depreciate noticeably.The consequent impact on the prices of imported goods will push inflation rate even higher towards the end of the year. In France, Institute INSEEC expects inflation to fall to an annual rate of 7.5-8% (1.5% less than 1978’s). Actual purchasing power will increase by 2%, with a greater increase during the first six months.’ INFO 1, 1979 Vie de la chambre This section, much like our present day News @ the Chamber, published news about recent and forthcoming events, new members and members’ news and ‘un départ, une arrivée…’ (our Hello/Goodbye today). Life in Great Britain gave INFO readers advice on aspects of life and work in the UK, including:

1999

Where to establish an office in London The location of one’s London office will be dependent on many inter-related factors. No two companies will have the same priorities which is just as well as the overall stock of office space in London currently available is low. It must be clearly stated at the outset that from the point of view of offices one can identify 4 very distinct geographical areas: 1 The City – The Centre for Banking, Insurance, Stock-broking 2 Holborn – The centre for the Press and the Legal Profession 3 The West End – Commercial and Retail centre

4 The Suburbs INFO 5, 1979 New members in 1979 included the Financial Times and Delahaye Moving, both of which are still members today.

2009

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INFO magazine has always been a tool for the development of strong relationships between the French Chamber and its members and has also served to broaden Franco-British collaboration. We hope it continues to fulfill this mission for many years to come. I


Some of the INFO advertisements in 1979

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ft.com/weekendsub

AXELLE LAMAIRE??? Life. Arts. Culture.

Read beyond the expected

10 - info - may / june


Does Britain’s future lie with Europe?

It is a question that causes much angst and division. Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage tusselled over it in live radio and television debates and it was the topic of a panel debate at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) annual conference on 1 April, where panelists were asked whether there should be an in-out referendum on the EU and where Britain’s economic future lies. L to R: Lord Peter Mandelson, Rt Hon Kenneth Clark, John Peet, Dr Adam Marshall, Executive Director – Policy and External Affairs, British Chambers of Commerce (moderator), Mats Persson, Allister Heath, Alan Halsall

S

ome believe a referendum is only necessary if a significant transfer of powers is on the cards and are critical about setting an artificial deadline. Others see it as inevitable and even necessary to settle the question for once and for all, albeit with the caveat that reform or renegotiation should take place beforehand. ‘There needs to be a thorough and lengthy renegotiation process where the UK tries to find a completely different relationship with the EU and seeks to retain as many of the free market elements as possible,’ Allister Heath, City A.M. Editor, said, and this view was backed up by businessman Alan Halsall, Co-Chairman of Business for Britain, who made the point that having a referendum at the end of the negotiation would help to secure the best terms. When exactly this renegotiation might take place is a moot point. While the German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble recently made positive overtures about protections for non-Eurozone countries, France’s President Hollande has dismissed treaty change as a low priority. ‘It would take quite a bit of work to get other countries on board,’ Mats Persson, Director of think-tank Open Europe, acknowledged, ‘notably the French.’ Indeed, John Peet, Europe Editor at The Economist, observed that the EU is preoccupied with holding the Eurozone together, which made satisfying Britain a second order issue. On the question of EU reform, Alan Halsall decried its slow pace, accusing the EU of being on the side of big business to the detriment of SMEs. ‘Over the last three years we have had over 4,000 new regulations affecting businesses in this country,’ he said. Lord Peter Mandelson, Chairman, Global Counsel and former Labour First Secretary of State asserted that it was in the interests of Europe as a whole for the EU to run itself better, to get the relationship right between those states that are part of the Eurozone and those that are not, and to build bridges

towards its own citizens whose closer identification with their own political institutions and parliaments ‘needs to be respected and reflected’. He went on: ‘There is no merit in the transfer of power to Brussels for the sake of it, nor should we accept that there is an irreversibility in what we do between Brussels and the member states.’ However he was adamant that Britain had to be in the EU to have any clout either politically in Europe or economically in the world. ‘We would be stark raving bonkers to turn our backs on the market on our doorstep,’ he said. As Mats Persson put it: ‘There is no appropriate off-the-peg model for Britain outside the EU so it would have to create one, and that in itself is enough reason to test the limits of European reform before heading to the exit door.’ There was no disputing that Britain’s economic future is global. ‘Britain should integrate as much as possible with the global economy,’ said Allister Heath. ‘As the decades progress we will rely less on Europe and more on the rest of the world. Everything we do should enshrine our position as a global trading player, not just a European trading player.’ John Peet agreed that the balance was shifting towards the rest of the world, but observed that it is a problem for the whole of Europe. ‘Britain needs to play a big role in pushing all of Europe in that direction, and it cannot do that outside of the EU,’ he said. This view that Britain is better positioned within Europe was supported by the Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke QC MP, Cabinet Office Minister without Portfolio: ‘The idea that we retain access to the single market but leave the table at which all the rules are made and abandon our influence over the deregulation or the future regulation of the market is a comic diminution of Britain’s role in the world.’ Ultimately, asked whether the future of their businesses lay in Europe, the audience of BCC member companies voted overwhelmingly yes! I KF info - may / june - 11


5 minutes with ...

Thomas Dubaere

Managing Director, Accor Hotels UK What is Accor’s current presence in the UK and future plans?

Today we count 200 hotels in the UK and Ireland, spread over 10 brands in three main segments. At the upper end, there are three Sofitels and one Pullman, all in London and one MGallery in Bath. The midscale brands (Novotel, Mercure and Adagio) comprise 53%, while the budget/ economy brands (ibis, ibis Styles, ibis budget and Formule 1) are almost 45%. Adagio is a brand we introduced to the UK only last year with the opening of the Adagio Liverpool aparthotel. By 2016-17 we are aiming at opening an additional 100 hotels. Roughly 80% of these will be on a franchise or management model, where we work with the owner of the hotel. About 65% of UK hotels are independent, but because of the accelerated change in customer behaviour, many are opting to be part of Accor because we have the know-how and means: strong distribution and reservation channels, websites, loyalty programmes, etc. For the rest, there is potential to invest in places like London or Edinburgh – whether buying the land and building a hotel with our own equity or buying an existing hotel. Does that mean you are optimistic about the UK market?

We always used to think of the UK in terms of London only, but since the Olympics we have seen consistent monthly growth in provincial areas. Initially this was domestically driven with the government encouraging the ‘staycation’ but tourism outside of London is picking up. For example, Aberdeen is becoming a leisure destination in itself, and events such as the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the Farnborough Air Show help create awareness. Banks are also becoming more confident about lending. We are pleased that the main banks consider Accor a preferred partner when it comes to giving out loans to private partners such as franchisees. You were previously managing director of Accor’s budget brands in the UK, which have undergone rebranding as the ibis family. Why was this?

ibis, ‘the red one’, is a full-service brand, whereas ibis budget has the basics on a self-service basis. These brands have the same décor in rooms and public areas whether you are in Amsterdam, Berlin or London. Every ibis Styles hotel, however, has its own personality and design, which usually tells a story linked to its locality. For example, the 12 - info - may / june

ibis Styles in Liverpool has a subtle theme associated with a well-known band from Liverpool, with room designs linked to some of their songs. There is roughly a 30% differential between the rates of these brands, although it does depend on demand, time of year and location. The economy brands in the UK have seen the biggest growth in the last 10-15 years. Today everybody can travel – no matter what your budget, there is an airline, hotel or restaurant for you. But consumer behaviour has changed too. People will spend their money where they want to, such as the ‘thrifty rich’ who drive a luxury car, stay in an ibis budget and eat at a Sofitel. But people are also looking for emotion, experience and are much more sociable. This is why we have invested €150 million in the last 12 months into the ibis family brand in things such as the design of the public areas, the signage, and even the beds, which are the best you will find in the economy sector. We had so many requests from guests that we have made the beds – Sweet BedTM by ibis – available to buy online! Having worked for Accor for 24 years, you must have seen some changes in the hospitality industry. What have been the most significant?

Technology has transformed the industry. It has created distinct generations of customers – traditional, ‘transitional’ and digital natives who have never known life before digital. We have to cater for all of them. On the technology side, it means free, good working WiFi in every hotel across every brand is essential, and a complete change in the way people book, as well as their behaviour. People use Tripadvisor, blogs and social media to express themselves so if you do a good job, or not, it will be out there. Consumers pay a lot of attention to what is said on the Internet. Other changes are being initiated, such as doing away with the bothersome administrative checking-in process and instead offering online check-in with a more personalised and streamlined concierge service when you arrive at the hotel. Mobile is the next big thing. In 2013 more than 50% of business travellers used mobile for their travel planning, and currently about 18% of revenues come through mobile. Accor has invested in both tools and expertise for this. We have already developed apps for our brands and now we have to seduce guests to come to our platforms.


Today everybody can travel – no matter what your budget, there is an airline, hotel or restaurant for you. - Thomas Dubaere

What does sustainability mean to the business?

It’s all very well having nice words but we have to be pragmatic and make things visible for the hotels, employees, managers and customers. We have seven pillars – health, nature, CO2, innovation, employment, local and dialogue – each with three measurable targets (hence Planet 21) and actions such as solar panels, rain harvesting, recycling, low energy light bulbs, etc. We’ve ensured that guests don’t feel what they might perceive as an inconvenience, such as waterflow regulators in showers, and we do give them a choice, for example, not replacing towels every day in our Plant for the Planet scheme. The gain we make by not paying for the laundry on the towels is partially invested in planting trees – in the UK we work with Pur Projet and The Woodland Trust. In the longer term you do save money, so there is a business case for it. Customers also expect us to be a sustainable and responsible business. You are a board member of the British Hospitality Association. What are the biggest issues for the industry today?

Employment is one area of focus. We are different to other industries in that we can attract those with lower educational qualifications and train them ourselves. The BHA, together with the charity Springboard and Business in the Community has an initiative called The Big Conversation, which brings together young people with hospitality industry leaders to talk about employability skills, work experience and apprenticeships. People without higher education who now work in the industry

give testimonials, which is the best way to motivate young people. Linked to that, we have started to invest properly in young people with the ‘In to Work’ program called Hospitality Futures which we also run with Springboard. The scheme puts unemployed young people through a nine-week course with training and hands-on experience in Accor hotels. After that many of them are able to find jobs in the industry. Accor has also invested in a physical training academy in the UK, one of 17 worldwide, which offers 250 courses a year over 50 different modules. The visa issue is another important one because it will immediately stimulate business, and not only in the hospitality sector. Up until six months ago it was an incredibly long and expensive process for a Chinese tourist or businessman to get a UK visa, but we have been lobbying the government about this and are very pleased that the first steps have been taken to simplify the process. The other issue is VAT. At 20% the UK has pretty much the highest rate in Europe in our industry. We have to absorb the difference, which makes us uncompetitive. A reduction in VAT would enable us to create more jobs and invest in training, service and quality, as well as making the UK more attractive in terms of prices and rates. The industry is the third biggest employer in the UK and an important contributor to the country’s GDP. The BHA is aiming to create 300,000 jobs by 2020, but to do that we need to build more hotels and have more customers to fill them, which is where visas and VAT come in, so it is all related. I Interview by KF info - may / june - 13


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THIS COMMUNICATION IS FOR PROFESSIONAL CLIENTS ONLY AND IS NOT DIRECTED AT RETAIL CLIENTS. Societe Generale is a French credit institution (bank) and an investment services provider (entitled to perform any banking activity and/or to provide any investment service under MiFID except the operation of Multilateral Trading Facilities) authorised and regulated by the French Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution (“ACPR”) (the French Prudential and Resolution Control Authority) and the Autorité des Marchés Financiers («AMF»). This document is issued in the U.K. by the London Branch of Societe Generale, authorized in the U.K. by the Prudential Regulation Authority and subject14 to-limited by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority. Details about the extent of our authorisation and regulation by the Prudential Regulation Authority, info -regulation may / june and regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority are available from us on request. 2014 Societe Generale Group and its affiliates. © David Despau - FRED & FARID


n e ws i n t h e ci t y

Payback time Are better times ahead as earnings edge ahead of inflation, and employment continues to rise?

or the first time in years, UK wages have edged above inflation, meaning that the squeeze in real pay-packets is – technically at least – coming to an end. According to the Office of National Statistics, average total pay, including bonuses, rose by 1.7% in the year to February, while the annual rise in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was at 1.6% in March. However, we are by no means out of the woods. When bonuses are stripped out, pay rose a more modest 1.4%, not quite catching up with inflation. And if the Retail Price Index were to be used, pay would still be seen to be falling. Earnings have not exceeded CPI for six years, apart from two months in 2010, resulting in a cost-ofliving crisis for many British households. In that time, while earnings rose by 8.6%, prices have risen by 16.9%, a sobering reminder of how inflation has eroded the value of pay. Purchasing power may now be improving, but since the start of the crisis real pay has fallen 10% in the analysis of independent macroeconomic research company Capital Economics. And if average weekly earnings had continued to rise at the rate of 4.3% a year that was the average before 2008, they would be over 20% higher now, so there is still a lot of lost ground to recover. That being said, the trend is broadly positive, especially when coupled with the improving labour market. In the three months from December to February the unemployment rate dropped again from 7.2% to 6.9%. This rapid improvement is partly down to a surge in the number of freelancers and older workers. The period saw 146,000 new self-employed workers and 262,000 more 50 to 64-year-olds join the ranks of the employed than a year earlier. Another bright spot is the record proportion of

women in work – 67.6% of 16 to 64-year-olds are now employed, closing the gap with men, of whom 77.6% were employed in the same period of December to February. This compares with 52.8% women versus 92.1% of men in 1970, and is a steady increase since 2012 when fewer than two-thirds of women were employed. Nevertheless, at 6 million, significantly more women work part-time than men at 2.17 million, and the number of full-time female workers trails that of men at 8.09 million versus 14.12 million. The next chasm to cross is the productivity gap, which is at its widest in 20 years compared to its main developed country rivals. Output per hour in Britain is 24% lower than in France, and 21% lower than the average for the other six members of the G7, namely the US, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Canada. One explanation is that the UK’s flexible labour markets have effectively delivered part-time and temporary work, as well as underemployment – employees working less hours than they would like to and employers cutting wages and working hours rather than reducing staff. Another is the disinclination of British companies to invest in more efficient equipment and improved infrastructure, both of which would boost productivity. A third reason put out by Bank of England economists is that fewer businesses in difficulties collapsed in the years following the financial crisis than during previous recessions, with a rising number experiencing a decline in output but stable employment, and banks – many taken over by government or receiving taxpayer support – reluctant to foreclose on loans. Whatever the reasons, the level of productivity will determine the evolution of the UK’s economic growth, the creation of jobs and higher wages. I KF © Pierre Abouchala

F

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news in the cit y

Profile

Ian Fisher Chief Country Officer and Head of Coverage and Investment Banking UK at Société Générale, Ian Fisher is also a board member of the French Chamber. Société Générale has been established in the UK since 1871 and is a longstanding Patron member of the Chamber

Ian Fisher

‘I

had an early lesson that if something is not right in your career you should be bold enough to make a change,’ says Ian Fisher, recalling his first job in a family law firm in Scotland, which lasted all of nine months. Having read for an LLB1 (Hons) at Nottingham University and qualified as a solicitor, Ian was set on a certain professional path in private practice, but realised he wanted more from his career. His quest for corporate experience took him initially to Crédit Lyonnais, where he set up the in-house legal department for the bank in London. It was the early 1980s and the UK was in the depths of a recession so Ian found himself involved in a lot of restructuring work, gaining useful experience in – and a taste for – client negotiations. Five years on, in another reassessment of his career trajectory, Ian decided to move into mainstream banking. He took up a position at Citibank as a transactor in capital markets, becoming a specialist in loan syndication, which involves taking underwriting positions and distributing them to other banks and financial investors. ‘It was a very transversal job, working with the clients, the institution and the 16 - info - may / june

markets,’ he says, but it laid the foundations for what was to become his expertise. His move to Société Générale in 1996 was ‘a logical step’: Ian was asked to head its global loan syndicate in Paris at a time when it was developing its investment banking activities. ‘Here was an opportunity to build on the experience I had in capital markets and not only be in charge of the team but also develop the business internationally,’ explains Ian, while admitting that he took a ‘risk’ in making the move to Paris. ‘I think I got the job because I have a French wife and they knew I could probably adjust culturally!’ he jokes, but adds, ‘It’s not just about language – having that cultural understanding is a key facilitator in business. It gives you a different perspective and a broader vision.’ Ian’s third career, as he calls it, began in 2009 when he took charge of the UK platform for Société Générale (SG) as Group Country Officer. It was the first time the bank had appointed a non French head for the UK business, an indication of its increasing internationalisation. Ian oversees all the bank’s UK activities, the largest chunk of which is Corporate and Investment Banking, with the UK being a core hub of 2,000 people servicing clients across Europe and the Middle East in financing, marketing and advisory. In addition to that are the private bank SG Hambros, the operational leasing and fleet management company ALD Automotive, SG Equipment Finance, Lyxor Asset Management, which specialises in alternative investment management – ETF (exchange-traded funds) structured products, and SG Securities Services, providing custody and fund administration service post trade execution. The latter is a small operation with ambitions to grow. The final plank in the UK platform is a futures brokerage called Newedge, which is currently jointly owned with Crédit Agricole, but will soon be wholly SG. ‘Investment banks are complex organisations,’ Ian observes, ‘and you need to be able to bring all these different elements and specialists together as a team to meet the needs of the client. This is what is behind our signature “Building team spirit together”. Teamwork, like rugby, is so important in this business. You can have a group of very talented individuals, but if they are not well organised, well coordinated and well led, and don’t know their role in the team, you will not be


news in the cit y

able to achieve what you potentially could. At Societe Generale our aim is to make sure we fully understand our clients’ needs so the ‘SG Team’ can deliver all of our capabilities – financing, market access, and advisory expertise – to bring the ‘right solution’ to our clients. Working together as a pack you can be much more powerful than the opposition.’ Rugby is a conscious analogy as it is one of the core sports that SG supports, most notably the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England. ‘Team spirit’ is one of the three values Société Générale is upholding in this, its 150th anniversary year, the others being entrepreneurship and innovation. The company that started as ‘Société Générale pour favoriser le développement du commerce et de l’industrie en France’ (General Company to support the development of commerce and industry in France)

under the reign of Napoleon III in 1864 has not strayed far from its roots, other than geographically. ‘We are very much involved in financing the real economy and our client’s growth, and innovation is at the heart of SG,’ says Ian citing examples from being financial advisor for the London Gateway Port development to being a global leader in equity derivatives. Coming back to team spirit, he puts it in a broader frame: ‘It’s about how you engage with people, how you deliver to the client but also what you do as a stakeholder in the local and wider community. ’ And with over 25% of its staff involved in fundraising and volunteering activities, as well as a strong CSR programme, SG has a track record of social development too. I KF LLB (Latin: Legum Baccalaureus) or Bachelor of Laws is an undergraduate degree in law originating in England and offered in most common law jurisdictions. 1

||| London house prices are now 20% above their precrisis peak, according to figures from Nationwide, the UK’s biggest building society. In April, the average price of a London home stood at £362,699, representing an 18% rise over the year and 5.3% in the past three months alone. While the gap between house prices in London and the rest of the UK is now wider than ever, demand and concomitant price rises have rippled out to areas around London – the Southeast, Southwest and East Anglia. Southern England has reached its own record highs with property prices rising 7.3% year on year. All this is fuelling fears of a property bubble in the capital and commuter belt, as supply remains restricted and demand becomes increasingly voracious. However, not everyone fears the worst. Paul Spencer, Chief Economic Advisor to EY’s Item Club observes that London house prices are being driven by cash purchases rather

© flickr/Andrew_Writer

Bubble, bubble… house price trouble?

The housing shortage is a major driver of prices

than debt and told the Financial Times that cautious mortgage lenders, stricter loan criteria and an increase in housebuilding will gradually cool the market. I KF

Radical pension reform heralded in UK Budget ||| The most unexpected announcement in George Osborne’s 2014 Budget, delivered to Parliament on 19 March, will also be the most far-reaching, for it not only affects every UK retiree, but will also radically shake up the insurance industry. From April 2015, people reaching retirement age will be given total freedom over how they spend their pension pot. Gone is the requirement on those with defined contribution pensions1 to buy an annuity – a financial product that provides a retirement income for life – and many more are expected to take their money as

cash. Annuity providers were hard hit in the ensuing market sell down, which wiped over £4 billion off their value, as the move threatens a key business line. Based on a survey of consumers aged 50 to 75, PwC predicts the UK market for individual annuities will shrink by some 75%, prompting a change in business mix and emphasis for many insurance companies – as well as room for innovation! I KF Defined contribution scheme: Determined by contributions and investment returns. Usually worth less than final-salary pensions, which are based on earnings at the end of your career and length of service. Savings used to buy an annuity, or retirement income - until now. 1

info - may / june - 17


news Compiled by Marielle Fraize

Companies

London & Partners presents dotlondon, a new domain for the capital ||| London is amongst the first global cities to have its own Internet domain. From 29 April 2014, London-based businesses or those with an affiliation to London can register domain names ending in .london. The domain will be a new alternative to existing domains such as .co.uk or .com. With a dotlondon domain name, businesses can more directly associate themselves with the city in which they work and take advantage of the international reputation of London. The new domain also offers the opportunity of getting more memorable website names which are

18 - info - may / june

often already taken in existing domains. During the initial 3-month launch period starting on 29th April, Londoners can apply for the names that they want such as their business or trading name. Names will be allocated at the end of the period according to existing prior rights to a name. This way people who can demonstrate that the name they applied for is their business name or trademark will get priority. If there is more than one application, with equal priority for a domain name then auctions will be used. I www. www.dotlondondomains.london


news

Airbus and easyJet commemorate historic deal ||| easyJet has commemorated the deal it agreed last June with Airbus for 135 Airbus A320 aircraft with an official signing ceremony in Paris on 19 March. Attending the ceremony were Carolyn McCall, Chief Executive of easyJet, Frédéric Cuvillier, Minister of Transport, Hunting and Fishing and Fabrice Brégier, CEO and President of Airbus. Speaking in French, Carolyn McCall said: ‘The order will help to sustain around 10,000 manufacturing jobs across France and Europe. These aircraft will also bring important environmental benefits through a significant improvement in fuel efficiency and a reduction in noise.’ Fabrice Brégier declared: ‘This order confirms easyJet as one of Airbus’ biggest single aisle customers, and its status as one of Europe’s leading carriers. This order secures several thousand Airbus jobs in our home countries of France, Germany, Spain and the

Carolyn McCall, Frédéric Cuvillier and Fabrice Brégier

UK. This is great news for easyJet, for Airbus and for the wider European aviation sector.’ I www.easyjet.com / www.airbus-group.com

EDF Energy opens two new electricity generating sites Renewables operates wind turbines with a capacity of 462MW and has 1,500MW of projects in development. The power station at West Burton in Nottinghamshire is EDF Group’s largest single capital investment project in the UK so far and has a capacity of 1,300 MW, enough electricity to supply 1.5m homes. West Burton gas power station is designed to be an integral part of a balanced energy mix, which can flexibly generate electricity when needed, in conjunction with low carbon energy generation like nuclear power and renewables. Minister for Energy Michael Fallon MP said: ‘Opening two new energy generating projects is proof that the UK is a strong focus for new energy investment, and the best place in the world to invest in offshore wind. These projects will create hundreds of local jobs in the North East and Nottinghamshire, boosting long-term growth. The home-grown energy they produce will also help to reduce our reliance on expensive imports.’ Chairman and CEO of EDF Group Henri Proglio said: ‘EDF is a major investor in the UK. Teesside and West Burton are examples of the scale and diversity of our commitment to Britain, our second largest market after France.’ I www.edfenergy.com Courtesy of EDF Energy

||| EDF Energy has inaugurated two new electricity generating sites. The West Burton Combined Cycle Gas Turbine Power Station and the Teesside Offshore Wind Farm were both officially opened on 16 April by the Energy Minister Michael Fallon MP and the Chairman and CEO of EDF Group, Henri Proglio. EDF Energy Renewables’ Teesside Offshore Wind Farm near Redcar is the first offshore windfarm where the development, engineering and construction have been entirely led by EDF Group companies. Its 27 turbines can produce 62MW of electricity, enough to supply all the homes in Redcar, Marske and Saltburn. EDF Energy

Rotor blades being lifted by crane

info - may / june - 19


news

EDF Energy and EY comment on OFGEM’s energy market investigation announcement ||| Energy regulator OFGEM (Office of responsibility of the energy companies Gas and Electricity Markets) has called who deal directly with their customers for an investigation into competition in every day. However, the inquiry will be energy markets by the Competition and an important opportunity to establish the Markets Authority (CMA). The inquiry, facts in a wholly transparent way. EDF which may take 18 months, could lead Energy will demonstrate that we are acting to a huge shake-up of the industry, and fairly in the interests of customers.’ the possible break up of the Big Six Frances Warburton, EY Economic providers’ retail and generation units Advisory Director, also commented: ‘As we are entering a prolonged period of into separate companies. EDF Energy CEO Vincent de Rivaz first uncertainty over the nature of the CMA’s called for an independent competition intervention and its possible outcomes, inquiry into the gas and electricity the danger of a self-imposed cap on much market in September 2011. He said then needed investment is real. The CMA and Government now need to be mindful of that it was vital to address the persistent Vincent de Rivaz and widespread lack of trust among the the impact of an investment hiatus, and public, customers and policy-makers. After the OFGEM consider how to avoid a capacity crunch just as margins announcement, he commented: ‘An inquiry won’t become historically thin.’ I www.edfenergy.com / restore trust by itself. Earning trust remains the prime www.ey.com

JCDecaux launches Channel 6 network ||| JCDecaux has unveiled its vision for the future of Outdoor advertising with the launch of Channel 6, a national network of 1,400 digital screens in the UK. Located in major retail and transport hubs, Channel 6 will enable brands to deliver screen based communications in an active space for retail purchasing, with the opportunity to target out-of-home audiences who are also shopping and searching via smartphone. With growth set to continue until the end of 2014, Channel 6 will deliver a weekly reach of 40% of the UK population. Spencer Berwin, Managing Director – Sales at JCDecaux UK, said: ‘Outdoor’s role is changing as we continue to develop our screen based advertising. Our investment has provided a new digital channel with national reach and if we were a commercial TV channel we would have the fifth biggest weekly reach in the UK.’ 20 - info - may / june

Part of JCDecaux’s major investment in digital Outdoor, JCDecaux recently unveiled SmartScreen – an insight-driven network of 400 screens at the biggest Tesco stores in the UK. Powered by dunnhumby insight, SmartScreen will enable optimised scheduling based on audience behaviour and sales. I www.jcdecaux.co.uk


news

Rail Europe Ltd becomes Voyages-sncf.com ||| Rail Europe Ltd has rebranded to become Voyages-sncf.com. In a move designed to highlight the benefits of travelling by train and take the complexity out of booking rail travel to the continent, the company has unveiled its new website and brand identity. Rail Europe has been SNCF’s representative in the UK for over 100 years, the move sees the company fully integrated into the Voyages-sncf.com group. This multi-channel approach allows customers to choose how they interact with the company and UK customers will continue to have access to a dedicated UK website, a UKbased call centre and London Travel Centre, both staffed by experienced

agents able to assist with the complexity of journeys across the entire European rail network. I www.voyages-sncf.com

Decathlon opens Oxford store ||| Decathlon, the world’s largest sports store, opened a new 2,000 square metre store in Oxford on 1 May, creating employment for 30 local people. Decathlon’s mission is to make sport accessible to all through the provision of high quality sporting goods at affordable prices. More than 70 sports are catered for from cycling and running to angling and horse riding. To mark the arrival of the store, over the next few months Decathlon will be encouraging families, sports clubs, schools and other community groups to take part in a number of free sporting activities. Thibaut Peeters, Decathlon UK Managing Director, says: ‘The new store will be located

on the Seacourt Tower Retail Park, in the heart of the city. We’re keen to make a real contribution to the community, offering new opportunities for residents, students, families, schools and workers to get involved in sport.’ In addition to offering thousands of affordable sports products, the store will incorporate dedicated showrooms for cycling, camping and fitness. Experts will be on hand in each showroom to provide advice, helping shoppers choose the right product for their needs. There are already 14 Decathlon stores in the UK, employing more than 1,000 people. I wwww.decathlon.co.uk

Mi-GSO acquires Pcubed ||| Mi-GSO, a leading European project management consultancy, part of the Alten Group, has acquired Pcubed, a global management consulting firm focused on delivering business transformation, programme and portfolio management. ‘We are shaping a new global player with 1,100 consultants over 32 offices in 10 countries and successful high profile engagements for Public Sector (such as London Olympics 2012) and ‘Global2000’ customers in Manufacturing, Energy, Financial Services and Telecom & Hi-Tech. We support our clients globally and deliver success at every stage of business, industrial and technological projects,’ says Alexis Farfaro, Director of Mi-GSO UK. Beyond the broader geographical reach, wider sector knowledge, and deeper expertise, the combination of both companies leverages a highly differentiated intellectual property base with extended positioning. Founded 20 years ago, Pcubed has been headquartered in the US, and has developed within the US, UK, Asian and Australian markets, while Toulouse-based Mi-GSO, founded in 1991, has had a UK presence for about a decade,

and is particularly strong within continental Europe. MiGSO’s predominantly industrial profile, supporting most major aerospace, automotive, transportation and energy projects, will dovetail perfectly with that of Pcubed, which has more experience in change management, optimisation and enterprise management projects, and more presence in the telecoms, financial services and public sector. ‘A strong differentiator is that we are a truly independent global partner with no interest in being anything other than our clients advocate,’ Alexis says. By combining Mi-GSO and Pcubed, the UK headcount will be 200, with a London and a Bristol office, but there are plans to expand quickly. ‘The UK will play a big role in our future development strategy. It is increasingly becoming a centre of gravity of our operations,’ Alexis comments, noting that Birmingham, Manchester and Scotland are also areas of growing interest. ‘Our clients have always been long-term partners and to serve them well we want to be close to them,’ he adds. Mi-GSO and Pcubed are establishing the new global leading go-to partner in the PPM market. I www.mi-gso.fr/en.html info - may / june - 21


news

Bircham Dyson Bell merges with Ambrose Appelbe ||| Bircham Dyson Bell and Ambrose Appelbe merged creating a 47-partner practice and a combined annual turnover in excess of £33 million. The two British firms officially combined forces on 1 April 2014 when all members of Ambrose Appelbe joined the Bircham Dyson Bell team at their Westminster office. The joint firm trades as Bircham Dyson Bell. The merger bolsters the capabilities of the combined firm, offering clients an enhanced range of services and a greater depth of resource and experience. Jesper Christensen, Managing Partner of Bircham Dyson Bell, commented: ‘We are delighted to be combining with Ambrose Appelbe, a firm with shared values and a diverse and complementary client base. Our ambition is to grow by developing all areas of the firm and we will continue to look at a range of options to achieve this.’ I www.bdb-law.co.uk

Renault Trucks returns to the Commercial Vehicle Show ||| Renault Trucks returned to the 2014 Commercial Vehicle Show after an absence of five years with its new Euro 6 range of fuel efficient and productive long haul, construction and distribution vehicles. ‘Market conditions are improving and it’s a great opportunity to exhibit to the whole market,’ said Gino Costa, Managing Director, Renault Trucks UK. ‘These are exciting times for Renault Trucks. Our new range is designed around a total cost of ownership approach that we believe perfectly matches current UK buying behaviour.’ The Show was held at Birmingham’s NEC from 29 April to 1 May. I www.renault-trucks.com

The Euro 6 truck

Veolia receives Queen’s Award for Enterprise ||| Veolia has been awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development, the UK’s highest accolade for business success. The award was received for setting the sustainability benchmark and its new business strategy which focuses on manufacturing green energy and calories and places it at the centre of the circular economy. The company recycles over one million tonnes of waste annually and converts non-recyclable waste into energy sufficient to provide electricity and heat to over 300,000 homes. Beyond satisfying statutory requirements, Veolia distinguished itself as a social sustainability leader; devoting annually 20,000 hours to charity work, donating £50 million to community projects, systematically engaging with schools and helping unemployed people, including ex-offenders, back into work. Estelle Brachlianoff, Veolia Environnement Executive Vice-President UK & Ireland and board member of the French Chamber said: ‘It is an honour to be recognised by Her Majesty the Queen for the work we have done over the last five years transforming the business. This award highlights the work all 14,000 members of staff have undertaken to continue to drive the business forward – for us sustainability is not part of our business, it is our business!’ I www.veolia.co.uk 22 - info - may / june


news

SPIE UK announces opening of nuclear training centre in France ||| SPIE Nucléaire, a subsidiary of the SPIE group, has opened a new training centre, dedicated to strengthening the safety culture and developing technical skills to ensure the optimal transfer of all the company’s know-how to SPIE employees. The training centre is an extension of the SPIE Group’s Skills Development Centre’s Technological Institute and will enable training via seven technical platforms on which employees will be able to develop their skills in various fields: welding, plumbing, piping, control, electricity, instrumentation and operational support. Staff from SPIE UK will be invited to the new centre to develop their professional practice and harness their skills in a hands-on learning environment. I www.spieuk.com

SPIE trainees

Miller Rosenfalck launches specialist social housing litigation boutique ||| Miller Rosenfalck LLP has launched BBMR, a specialist social housing litigation boutique. Based in London and St Albans, BBMR is headed up by Simon Braun and Angela Byrne, both of whom are recognised leaders in social housing litigation, and who have particular expertise representing local authorities and housing associations in complex litigation including anti-social behaviour, homelessness and possession cases. The team undertakes all forms of social housing dispute and advises on statutory and regulatory requirements, court rules as well as internal policies and procedures. I www.millerrosenfalck.com

M&A Advisor Deal of the Year for Faegre Baker Daniels JV

BDO initiates social mobility ‘Access Accountancy’ scheme

||| A joint venture led by members of Faegre Baker Daniels’ international corporate practice won in its category at the 6th Annual International M&A Advisor Awards. The $237 million joint venture between FaegreBD client BesTV New Media Ltd and Microsoft was named ‘Transaction of the Year’ in the Technology, Media and Telecom sector. In the joint venture, BesTV joined Microsoft to become E-Home Entertainment Development. The company engages in sales, distribution and marketing activities with respect to Microsoft’s new generation of all-in-one gaming products. ‘We are really proud of our international team and this win which marks an achievement for our firm’s work over three continents securing ground breaking results for our clients,’ said Mary Shields, Corporate Lawyer and Head of French Desk, London. I www.faegrebd.com

||| BDO has initiated a new social mobility drive – entitled ‘Access Accountancy’ – designed to provide greater opportunities to talented UK students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Mark Sherfield, Chief Operating Officer, BDO LLP said: ‘The accountancy profession is such a significant employer in the UK that it’s only right that, in addition to our own noteworthy efforts, we combine as a profession to challenge ourselves to tackle social mobility. The clients we work for don’t come in one mould, so why should their accountants and business advisers? Failure to unlock the potential of today’s younger generation could hinder our economy for generations to come. This is a challenge we need to tackle at both a professional and individual firm level, as any firm’s strategy to provide opportunities and jobs to young people must be built on encouraging better social mobility.’ I www.bdo.co.uk info - may / june - 23


news

Capgemini named among World’s Most Ethical Companies ||| Capgemini, provider of consulting, technology and outsourcing services, has been named as one of the ‘2014 World’s Most Ethical Companies®’ by the Ethisphere Institute, an independent centre of research promoting best practice in corporate ethics and governance. This is the second time that Capgemini has received this award, which recognises organisations that continue to raise the bar on ethical leadership and corporate behaviour. World’s Most Ethical Company honorees understand the correlation between ethics, reputation and daily interactions with their brand and that the award belongs as much to their associates, as it does to them. Capgemini is one of only six companies in the ‘business services’ industry to be honoured this year. Hervé Canneva, Ethics and Compliance Officer at Capgemini, said: ‘We are delighted to receive this award and to have our global ethical business practices recognised for a second year running. At Capgemini ethics, compliance and corporate social responsibility are a central

part of both our Group policy and our client engagements. We recognise that ethics aren’t just a legal or reputational issue but instead are a key part of doing business in the 21 st century.’ I www.capgemini.com

Handicap International presents petition to UK Government

L to R: Giles Duley, humanitarian photographer, Aleema Shivji, Handicap International UK’s Director and Lynne Featherstone, International Development Minister

||| On 8 April, Handicap International met with International Development Minister Lynne Featherstone to urge the UK government to ensure that aid reaches the hidden victims of the conflict in Syria – tens of thousands of injured and disabled refugees. A petition, signed by 81,021 supporters from the UK and worldwide, along with a new report showing how the most vulnerable Syrian refugees are struggling to meet their specific needs, were delivered by humanitarian photographer Giles Duley, himself a triple amputee after stepping on an improvised explosive 24 - info - may / june

device in Afghanistan in 2011, along with Handicap International’s Emergency Co-ordinator for the Syria crisis, Thierry Benlahsen, and the organisation’s UK Director, Aleema Shivji. On receiving the report, Lynne Featherstone said: ‘This is a timely report that highlights an important issue. In a crisis of this kind, it is typically the most vulnerable – including those with disabilities, the elderly and the chronically ill – who find themselves at the greatest risk. That is unacceptable.’ Since the petition was launched in November, thousands of people have signed, both online and at special campaign events held as part of the Forgotten 10 Challenge. In response to the report and petition, the Department for International Development announced a series of changes to the way its humanitarian assistance is designed to better ensure that no-one is left behind. I www.handicap-international.org.uk


news Schools

University Paris-Dauphine sets up in London ||| A French university has set up a satellite campus in London for the first time. University Paris-Dauphine, a new member of the Chamber, will start its Bachelor in Economy and Management course in September 2014 with a class of around 30 students. Priority is being given to those with Baccalauréats from French schools abroad, in particular London. Classes will be held in premises provided by the French Institute. Annual fees are £7,500.

The university will also be partnering with the Chamber’s Recruitment Service to give graduates and alumni access to the UK employment market. Meanwhile, Paris-Dauphine has just become the first university to join the ‘Conference of Grandes Ecoles’ – a selective group of higher education and research institutions in France – giving it a unique duality of being a university and a recognised ‘Grande Ecole’.I www.dauphine.fr

INSEEC Group takes the old Acquitaine route ||| As in bygone days, INSEEC Group has followed the historic wine shipping route from Bordeaux to London to create an original course for students serious about working in the wine and spirits industry. Now students can top the ultimate experience of studying the wine industry at beautiful Bordeaux International Wine Institute by completing their course in London’s trendy Marylebone Village where they complement their speciality by studying the spirits industry. According to UK Director, Ron Morris, the course aims to provide invaluable industry insight which includes lectures from top industry experts, special guest speakers and of course, tastings. ‘London was chosen as the location because of the local depth and expertise in the spirits industry and the diversity of experts available as lecturers,’ he says. It is a mainstay of INSEEC Group where students gain experiential knowledge from practitioners. One such specialist is Ian Wisniewski, a freelance drinks writer, specialising

Expert tasters in the making

in spirits and cocktails, and author of several books on the subject. Other experts provide practical experience led sessions on brand marketing and other spirits industry related essentials. I Contact Groupe INSEEC UK for dates and details of the next course. www.inseec.com

HEC Paris joins Global Network for Advanced Management ||| HEC Paris has joined the Global Network for Advanced Management, whose primary aim is to develop innovative projects in the field of global business studies. This MBA and academic cooperation platform, established by the Yale School of Management with founding members INSEAD and NUS Business School, encompasses 25 leading institutions on five continents. It promotes exchanges between professors, students and alumni, as well as research into global business issues. The business schools collaborate on data collection projects and research that influences business practices. Participating schools also agree to co-develop case studies that incorporate specialised regional expertise. In addition to this, HEC Paris has launched a new teaching chair in Digital Strategy and Big Data with AXA. With the aim of developing insights into the

challenges of digital innovation and big data in a large company, the impact it has on strategy, and the transformation of its business model, this Chair will expose students to the digital operational issues of large firms, raise awareness of trade values associated with these strategic issues and in return, confront ‘digital natives’ with offers and products from AXA, and gauge their reactions. I www.hec.edu info - may / june - 25


news

||| ESCP Europe Business School’s Executive Master in Hospitality and Tourism Management was established in 2010 to provide high-level managers with a business education, tailored to the key features and future challenges of the unique, dynamic and diverse industry. The programme is run in partnership with New York state’s Cornell University, the world leader in the field, and is taught in English. It is accredited by the Conférence des Grandes Écoles. The programme was designed to meet the needs of the highly-international industry which has grown rapidly, and continues to evolve through technological advances, evolutions in lifestyles, the need for responsible and sustainable development, managing diversity and new models for business. Companies in the field are seeking out highly educated, open-minded executives to bring in new visions, insights and expertise for their different business areas and cultural environments. Over 15 months, students study at ESCP Europe in Madrid, with a 2-week seminar at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration in Ithaca, New York. They work on an International Consultancy Project and also on an internship (for at least four months), which can be anywhere

Apply before July 1st and take advantage of our early-bird fee:

18,500€

© flickr/sach1tb

ESCP Europe’s Master in Hospitality Management

Cornell University in Ithaca, New York state

in the world. In addition, to boost their career opportunities, there are regular guest speakers, company visits, personal development workshops and career coaching. In February 2014, the programme was also launched in Mauritius at the Medine Education Village, a government scheme to create an international education hub for local and international students. Feedback to date from participants on both tracks has been excellent. I www.escpeurope.eu

European Identity Global Perspective

MSc in Hospitality & Tourism Management

A full-time, 15-month programme that will change your life: Taught in English at ESCP Europe’s Madrid Campus.

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2-week Professional Development Programme at Cornell University School of Hotel Administration (New York). With 4 specialisation modules: International Consultancy Project (learn by doing).

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The World´s First Business School [est. 1819] www.escpeurope.eu 26 - info - may / june

ESCP Europe Madrid Campus: C/ Arroyofresno, 1 - 28035 Madrid T: +34 913862511 E: acavia@escpeurope.eu


Let’s do business - in French news

France and the UK are important economic partners and bilateral trade has increased tremendously. Cut through linguistic and cultural barriers, and you have a decisive competitive edge.

And that’s where we can help.

The Institut français is uniquely placed to fulfill your requirements, linguistically, professionally and culturally. We have the credentials, capacity and the commitment to develop customised French classes for everyone in your company - from beginners to advanced learners - and give them an insight into the French way of doing business. Classes will be held whenever is most convenient for you, at your premises or ours in South Kensington, London, or even online. For more information, please contact the Corporate Training Department: 020 7871 3532 - corporate.training@institutfrancais.org.uk Institut français, Language Centre, 13 Cromwell Place, London SW7 2JR www.institut-francais.org.uk

info - may / june - 27


spotlight on s m e s & s ta r t u p s

Briefs

Cinebook’s success in the English comic market

© Dargaud Editeur Paris – Morris © Lucky Comics

||| Cinebook has published more than 300 titles to become the premier publisher of ‘bande dessinée’ in English. Olivier Cadic, founder of Cinebook, recently announced on Mondissimo and TV5 Monde, an unprecedented 30% growth in the USA in 2013. US website Comic Book Resources commented: ‘One of the quietest success stories in the comics market in recent years is Cinebook. You don’t see much coverage for them in the big comic web magazine type sites, but they’ve been quickly building up an impressive catalogue of titles translated from the original French.’ In five years, Cinebook published three times as many ‘Lucky Luke’ books in English as had previously been done in 50 years! I www.cinebook.com

Edenred launches Childcare Voucher campaign ||| Edenred is launching a campaign to ensure employers make the most of a valuable tax break which helps working parents before autumn 2015. An employer supported Childcare Voucher scheme allows organisations to offer a benefit which is worth up to £933 per annum for each participating employee, and up to £402 National Insurance savings per employee for the employer. Although the schemes will close to new entrants

from autumn 2015, employers who implement them and sign up their employees before then will be able to lock in their access to the tax-breaks beyond 2015. Patrick Langlois, Managing Director of Edenred UK said: ‘Any organisation which doesn’t offer ChildcareVouchershasashortwindow of opportunity to take advantage of a scheme which delivers significant financial benefits for the employer

and employee. These schemes are simple to set-up and easy to use for both employers and employees. We are urging businesses to act now and either to set up a scheme if they haven’t got one or put plans in place to ensure every working parent in their organisation knows they can benefit from an existing scheme.’ I For information visit ww.edenred. c o . u k /o u r - s o lut i o n s /emp l o ye e benefits/childcare-vouchers

Merci Maman in the media ||| Merci Maman found itself in the media spotlight when the Duchess of Cambridge was photographed wearing one of its necklaces while shopping in Chelsea last October. The personalised necklace had been given to her by her sister Pippa Middleton. After pictures and commentary began appearing in fashion blogs, the story went viral both online and offline. As a result, Merci Maman’s website traffic increased tenfold and sales of similar necklaces spiked significantly. The company has also received media attention from across the Channel with Envoyé Spécial filming owners Beatrice and Arnaud de Montille in January for a programme broadcast on France 2 on 1 May. Beatrice de Montille holds up ‘the necklace’ To add to its mounting successes, Merci Maman received a Gold Trusted Merchant Award from independent reviewers Feefo as a result of a 97% client satisfaction rate in 2013. I www.mercimaman.co.uk

28 - info - may / june


spotlight on s m e s & s ta r t u p s

Ligne Roset furnishes the French Institute’s library ||| Ligne Roset is to provide the furniture for the Reading Room of the French Institute library, currently under restoration. The late Pierre Paulin pieces have been selected to commemorate his creative spirit for institutions. The most media-friendly of Pierre Paulin’s works was without doubt his 1971 conversion of the private apartments of Claude and Georges Pompidou. This was to revolutionise the Elysée Palace, imparting a modernity so far in advance of its time that it was hurriedly dismantled by President Giscard d’Estaing almost as soon as he took office. The meeting of Pierre Paulin and Michel Roset in 2007 resulted in some successful collaborations, one of which was the reinterpretation of the Elysée seating collection commissioned by President Pompidou for the Elysée Palace. And it is pieces from this collection, notably the Elysée sofa, armchair and pedestal tables, as well as the Anda armchair and footstool, that will grace the French Institute’s reading room. The official opening takes place on 16 May. I www.ligne-roset.co.uk

Kirk Rice marks 25 years ||| London accountancy firm Kirk Rice is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Co-founded by Delia Rice, the company has grown to over 40 staff and five partners and has an established French client base. Delia commented, ‘I can’t believe it’s been 25 years! We are looking forward to our anniversary celebrations and have even launched our own Kirk Rice App. We would like to thank all our clients for their continued support.’ I www.kirkrice.co.uk

Energy Future launches first Franco-British online course ||| Energy Future has launched the world’s first Franco-British online training course for introducing new recruits to the energy business. A collaboration between Total, BP, Technip and BG-Group, the Energy Future Program includes a series five-minute energy briefing videos that are available to view on iPads and other mobile devices. The course is now available to all professionals working in or for the energy industry, to help them fill their knowledge gaps of the energy value chain. It includes fundamentals of the oil and gas industry, power generation and

distribution, financing oil and gas, energy and the environment, the history of the oil industry and its key players today. I www.energy-future.com info - may / june - 29


spotlight on s m e s & s ta r t u p s

The Conran Shop celebrates French culture with ‘A Season in France’ ||| The Conran Shop is currently celebrating all things French with ‘A Season in France’ that is showcasing a curated collection of the hottest French names in art, design, food & drink. A series of installations and activity at the Marylebone, Chelsea and Paris stores will pay tribute to the country that has over the years influenced and been championed by the Conran family. Highlights will see The Conran Shop’s very own living lavender wall filling the air with the scent of Provence and a pop up bakery from La Patisserie des Rêves serving the finest cakes. Expect to see established French brands brought exclusively to London and a traditional French zinc bar serving Ciroc Ultra Premium vodka cocktails during select evening events. I www.conranshop.co.uk

Celebrating a decade in the dark for Dans le Noir? ||| Dans le Noir? is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. It was launched in Paris in 2004 (on Bastille Day). The small French team chose London as its second base before developing its activities in many other countries. The concept offers guests a meal in complete darkness, guided and served by blind waiters. A decade on, more than a million guests have had the Dans le Noir? experience and services offered by Ethik Investment in restaurants, spas and events worldwide, including places as far flung as Bangkok, Warsaw, Riyad, Geneva, New York, Moscow, Barcelona and St Petersburg. I www.danslenoir.com

Language Matters placement wins PA award

Lyssiemay Annoh receives her award

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||| Language Matters, a recruitment company for language jobs, was delighted when Lyssiemay Annoh, whom it placed with a prestigious French bank (also a Chamber member), won the SecsintheCity’s 2013 interim/temp PA of the Year Award. The awards were launched in 2012 to recognise the hard work and professionalism of PAs and to acknowledge their contribution to the organisations they work for. Director Robert House commented: ‘Congratulations to Lyssiemay who has been a great ambassador for our services and a prize example of the calibre of our candidates. As Investor In People (Silver) award holders ourselves, we take quality and our recruitment very seriously and without compromise – it is what we prefer to think of as “recruitment excellence – rewarded”!’ I www.languagematters.co.uk / http:// blog.secsinthecity.co.uk


spotlight on s m e s & s ta r t u p s

Profile

Big Fernand It’s taken Paris and Lyon by storm and now Big Fernand’s particularly ‘French take’ on the hamburger is coming to London. Mathieu Durand, ‘Hamburgé’ Ambassador to the UK, explains the concept and how the French Chamber is helping it set up its first branch abroad

||| What is the Big Fernand concept ? Big Fernand’s three founders – Steve Burggraf, Alexandre Auriac and Guillaume Pagliano – wanted to create a burger joint that blends French flavours with a high-spirited atmosphere. Our burgers, which we call ‘hamburgé’, are inspired by French gastronomy and use the best products available – artisan buns made to our own recipe, French cheeses such as Tomme de Savoie, Fromage à Raclette or Fourme d’Ambert, freshly chopped herbs and homemade sauces concocted by Chef Thomas Boutin. Our staff wear retro-style checked shirts, berets and sometimes moustaches, and our trademark is a playful and slightly impertinent service! High-end burger brands abound on the UK market. How will Big Fernand stand out from the crowd?

What makes us different is the story of our product, its taste and the way we serve it… with a warm French accent. We wanted to get back to the popular and immigrant origins of this product: simple recipes with quality ingredients and homemade products. To reflect the dynamic and impatient temperament of the founders, we aim for speed – 40 seconds from order to service – and informality. Our buns will be made and delivered daily by one of London’s best bakeries, while our meat will be locally sourced and sauces made fresh every day. Why choose London for your first overseas restaurant?

When we created Big Fernand we were very inspired by the energy of pubs, cafés and restaurants in the UK, so it seemed natural for us to bring this culinary experience back to where it belongs and share it with Londoners. Having said that, London is a mature market – we have discovered a lot of very good burgers here! London customers are connoisseurs and very demanding so it is going to be a challenge for us to join the competition, but we are hard workers and we believe in our hamburgés. When and where will it open?

Our first restaurant opens in September. We fell in love with a listed building very close to Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia that totally fits our concept. We are not superstitious, but it does bear many similarities to the historical site in Paris where we opened our first restaurant!

What have been the main challenges of opening a restaurant in London?

The things we thought would be challenging, such as sourcing a good baker and high quality meat, proved to be easy. The hard part has been finding a site as a newcomer to a very crowded restaurant market, where preference is given to established concepts. Being in a different country we have had to start from scratch and in many ways it’s been like opening our first restaurant all over again. How have you have worked with the French Chamber?

We felt as if we were explorers in unknown territory, but luckily we encountered the French Chamber as a guide! When we struggled to find information or a local supplier, the Chamber provided us with quality advice and helped us to source the right lawyer, bank and architect/ contractor amongst other things. We look forward to maintaining this relationship as the Chamber’s Business Services department will be providing our new subsidiary with accountancy services. I Interview by KF info - may / june - 31


focus Hospitality and restaurants tastes, trends and transformations

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march on those who have been slow to adopt new technologies, particularly mobile, and although they will never own the service, they are capable of eroding margins and competitiveness. Other issues, peculiar to the UK industry, affect competitiveness. Two drums that continue to be beaten by the British Hospitality Association are visas and VAT. While some progress has been made on the former, the 20% VAT remains a sticking point, putting the UK at a distinct disadvantage compared to the single figure equivalents in other European countries. A more global concern is sustainability. In an industry historically known for waste, it is increasingly becoming a business imperative, not only for cost savings but also because it is expected by consumers. Technology, the operating environment, consumer expectations and demands – all are in a continuous cycle of change, but at its heart the one constant is that this is an industry serving people. Those businesses, whether hotels or restaurants, that really understand their customers, what they want and what influences their choices, will always be at an advantage. I KF

© Atout France/CØdric Helsly

he topic of food, drink and hospitality presented us with a spectrum far too vast to cover in one issue, so for this Focus we chose to hone in on the service aspect rather than products – hence Hospitality and Restaurants. It is a sector of no small significance to the economy, contributing almost 9% to GDP and being the third largest employer in the UK. However, it is also dependent on the vicissitudes of consumer confidence and business sentiment. While it may be an improving picture in parts, economic conditions in the UK, Europe and beyond remain fragile, putting the sector under increasing pressure to deliver innovation, quality and value. A new generation of digitally active consumers expects to be able to search, compare, book, review and engage with hotels and restaurants on multiple channels, giving the industry little choice but to go digital. Opportunities abound for businesses to get to know and engage with their customers like never before, as well as find new ones. But threats also lurk. Brand strength may be an essential differentiator, but inconsistencies are now easily exposed and quickly broadcast. Agile online travel agents are stealing the

focus contents

ADAPTING TO CHANGE AND RESPONDING TO THE NEW CONSUMER

41 Fooding = food + feeling

42 Social media: to tweet or not to tweet?

41 Wining and dining

33 Facts, figures and beyond: the far-reaching impact of the UK hospitality industry

34 Leisure and hospitality: industry insights

future proofing the industry

36 Lunch with Raymond Blanc OBE

44 Training the next generation

38 Preserving heritage in a globalising brand

46 Recruiting and training at hotel level:

39 Branding challenges for a city hotel 40 Adapting to the new age of fine dining:

a restaurant’s perspective

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the Pullman St Pancras case study

47 That VAT issue 48 CSR in the hospitality business needn’t cost the earth


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Facts, figures and beyond: the far-reaching impact of the hospitality industry It’s the hospitality workers who transform local communities, nations and the economy, says Martin Couchman OBE, Deputy CEO of the British Hospitality Association

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hen it comes to proving ‘success’, facts and figures are key. There is no doubt that data is pivotal in tracking the triumph of any initiative. As is often the case, the greater the numbers, the easier it is to focus attention on the ‘accounting’ of success. And certainly, some facts and figures deserve high praise. Take the fact that currently, tourism employs 9.6% of the UK workforce and supports a high percentage of employment among young people. Or the fact it is the UK’s fourth largest service sector contributing £127 billion to the economy or – according to Oxford Economics/Deloitte – 9% of GDP. Take the fact that the Hospitality & Tourism industry accounted for one third of all new jobs created between 2010 and 2012. Or take the Big Hospitality Conversation, which has, in the past 18 months, resulted in 1,200 industry representatives pledging the creation of 36,000 new new opportunities for 16 to 24 year olds up to 2015 (with more to come). The positively powerful impact of these facts and figures cannot be denied. But behind the numbers there is a whole other story; a spotlight which cuts through the figures to focus on the impact of tourism on the lives and livelihoods of hospitality business owners and their employees. Fronted by the British Hospitality Association, Springboard and Business in the Community, the Big Hospitality Conversation is the industry’s biggest job-creation drive to offer opportunities for young people in the UK. It is a forum for real conversation and debate; a place where local hospitality and tourism

Martin Couchman OBE

businesses have the opportunity to translate a real economic challenge – youth unemployment – into something positive. As well as generating work and opportunities for 16 to 24 year olds, it enables the industry, through the British Hospitality Association, to take a powerful message to government on hospitality’s significant contribution to economic recovery, tackling youth unemployment and stimulating growth. Youth unemployment is one of the biggest challenges facing young people today and the hospitality industry has the power to help tackle this. The success of Hospitality and Tourism businesses relies on their ability to serve others. As Bill Marriott once said, we must serve our people, who will in turn serve others. And now the spotlight turns on the way in which the Big Hospitality Conversation has been changing young people’s lives, one apprenticeship, one job or one work experience at a time, and thereby transforming local communities, the national economy and the UK – as a nation. I

info - may / june - 33


focus Part one: ADAPTING TO CHANGE AND RESPONDING TO THE NEW CONSUMER

Leisure and hospitality: industry insights Jennifer Lainé of BDO LLP, a leading advisor to businesses in the leisure and tourism sectors, with Gwénaëlle Maret-Delos of Atout France – France Development Tourism Agency and Julia Svetlosakova of the British Hospitality Association, offer an overview of the leisure and hospitality sector in the British and French economies, and reasons for optimism that the sector may finally be ready for a period of sustainable growth

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t long last, there may be light at the end of the tunnel of recession. A rebounding service sector drove UK GDP up 1.75% in 2013, the fastest growth rate since 2007, whilst France saw its GDP grow by 0.27% with an acceleration in the final quarter1. Nevertheless, whilst the economies appear to be stabilising, they remain at risk from the global and particularly European markets. Hotels, bars and restaurants have had to respond to tough conditions and adapt to trends and shifts in consumer behaviour but are finally seeing signs of an improving consumer confidence in France and the UK. The countries are expected to remain two of the most popular tourism destinations in Europe, attracting international visitors and investors alike.

Tourism The hospitality and tourism sector has a key role to play in the economic recovery of both countries with direct and indirect GDP contribution of 8.9% and 7.2% in the UK and France, respectively in 2012 and a respective share of total employment of 7.6% and 10.9%. After growing 1% in 2012 to reach 31.1 million, international visitor numbers to the UK increased by 5.8% in 2013 to the highest level since 2007. This translated into even stronger growth in visitor spend of 4.5% reaching £18.7 1. IMF, World Economic Outlook Database. April 2014

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billion in 2012 followed by a stellar 12.3% increase in 2013. Domestic tourism experienced the opposite trend, with visitor numbers declining by 0.5% in 2012 to 126 million and a further 1.1% in 2013. The impact of the 2012 Olympics and additional bank holidays in 2012 was most noticeable in the 1.4% decrease in visitor spend in 2013 compared to the 6% growth experienced in the prior year. In 2012, both domestic tourist and inbound visitor numbers to France showed increasing trends to 180.8 million and 83.1 million, up 0.2% and 2% respectively. Tourism spending was also up for both the domestic (up 1.5% to €82.9 billion) and inbound (up 5.2% to €38.7 billion) markets. Official 2013 tourism figures were not yet available for France at the time of going to print, but preliminary United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) figures for 2013 reported increases of 6% and 2% in international visitor numbers and expenditure respectively for France. According to the UNWTO, France remains the world’s most visited tourism destination, and is in third position in terms of tourism receipts ahead of the UK which is the eighth most visited country and is ranked seventh in terms of tourism receipts. Figure 1 presents a comparison on 2012 vs 2011 number of visitors and spending for both countries.

Hotel supply and performance In 2012, the UK’s 29,000 star-rated hotels accounted for circa 38% of total tourism accommodation whilst France’s 17,000 star-rated hotels represented a 22% share with a similar amount of rooms of 600,000. In 2013, UK hotels saw RevPAR (revenue per available room) rise by 3.9%


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from the previous year to £81.5. This improvement was driven almost entirely by increasing occupancy levels which reached 75% as the AARR (Average Achieved Room Rate) growth rate was up only 0.2%to £80.84. Conversely, in France, the main driver behind the 1.9% increase in RevPAR to €72.90 was the AARR. French hotels experienced virtually flat occupancy growth to 65.3% whist AARR increased by 1.5% to €111.50. A comparison of occupancy and AARR in euros is illustrated in Figure 2 with GBP-euro exchange rates at 1.233282 in 2012 and at 1.17772 in 2013.

Paris and London are without doubt two major tourism destinations boasting hotel occupancy in excess of 80%. Each capital has its own characteristics, with London offering larger average hotel capacity of 167 rooms against 55 in Paris (top 12 major European cities: 69), but Paris being more highly geared towards the luxury segment. Despite the challenging comparison with the 2012 Olympic year, London remains the growth engine for the UK hotel industry. Although at the expense of AARR, 2013 occupancy was up 2.2% which contributed to a 0.6% RevPAR growth to £113.63. In 2013, Paris’ hotel occupancy was slightly up and coupled with a 1% AARR increase, led to a RevPAR worth €242.54 for the full year. Both cities are expected to perform well in 2014 as tourism demand continues to grow.

© Atout France/ Cédric Helsly

Restaurants and Bars UK trading conditions in the hospitality sector improved in 2013 as sales increased by 0.7%. Whilst this is down from the high levels of growth seen in 2011 (+3.3%), it is nevertheless an improvement on the muted growth levels of 2012 (+ 0.2%). This trend is comparable to France where we saw strong likefor-like growth in 2011 (+5.9%), while 2012 saw slower paced growth (+1.4%), as the country entered the depth of the Eurozone double-dip recession. As a consequence of recent uncertain times, many UK operators have chosen to invest more in providing quality food at affordable prices. This value for money has been a key driver in bringing some of the volume back into the market – but it remains crucial to give excellent customer service.

France’s industry continues to benefit from its ancient and refined culinary tradition, which figures amongst the main motivations cited by visitors for travelling to the country. French cuisine was recently added to UNESCO’s World Intangible Heritage List. Although few recent trends can be detected, there has been an increase in the consumption of take away meals and, paradoxically, customers have also become more attentive to quality and food traceability, as well as handmade produce and artisanal drinks. The strain on profit margins is still prevalent, with the cost of wages, rent, utilities and food going up, with no signs of slowing in the future. Restaurants and bars in both countries will remain confronted with new trends on a regular basis, e.g. the effect of social media and internet reviews on footfall and reservations, and the changes in consumer behaviour sensitive to the financial situation across Europe. But there is some relief to be had in the fall of wine prices over the past five years, thanks to global oversupply and strong competition from New World producers. By the end of 2013, the UK unemployment rate fell to 7.1%, its lowest level since April 2009 and whilst unemployment continued to rise to 10.95% in France, it is expected to begin decreasing from 2015. Optimism is finally palpable as estimates for 2014 reveal GDP growth of 2.6% for the UK and 0.98% for France. Recent confidence in consumer spending has seen a marked rise in acquisitions of leisure and tourism businesses in 2013, with deal volumes returning to levels last seen before the recession began. Investors tend to lend where they expect consumers will follow, so this investment would indicate that for hotels, bars and restaurants, a busy year lies ahead as both contributors to and benefactors of a recovery. I info - may / june - 35


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Lunch with Raymond Blanc OBE Chef, entrepreneur and mentor, Raymond Blanc has been, in many ways, a pioneer in the British restaurant scene, turning the tables on an industry mired in stuffy tradition. He has blazed a unique trail and continues to push new boundaries in his pursuit of excellence. INFO caught up with him at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons…

Has there been a UK food revolution? Thirty years ago, England was a very different place. Food was class-led and luxury was exclusive. The British separated food from everything. It had become a mere commodity, which was produced intensively, heavily processed, heavily branded and marketed. For the majority, food was devalued, it was a fuel to feed the body and the cheaper the better. It was about shelf life, uniform size and colour rather than taste. The primary ingredient was so bad you had to add more salt, sugar, colouring, flavouring and additives. But there’s a quiet revolution going on. People are starting to understand again that food connects with everything - with your environment, society, farm, home, family values, the health of the nation. It is not going to happen over night, it will be a slow process, but it is exciting to see people start to respect food, enjoy food and give it value. What part has the French influence played? A lot! Most British chefs have been trained by French chefs. But that interests me less as we would do that in whatever country we were. French chefs know about their gastronomic heritage. For me, gastronomy is as much a tomato salad at home as a boeuf bourguignon in a rustic bistro, or a meal in a three-Michelin-starred restaurant. But the British are now reconnecting with their terroir, their own gastronomy. I am sending all my British chefs to my region – Franche-Comté – to

Raymond Blanc

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visit the smokeries, the wineries, my local butcher and baker, where they make the best traditional baguette. The goal is for them to understand le terroir, and what we could reinvent in Great Britain as well. Five years ago if I had asked any chef where my Dover sole came from most of them would have said Dover. Nobody cared. Now that is changing. They know the minimum size, the spawning time, which fishery it came from. Initially we had to import most of our produce from France. You could not find anything good here – it was a disaster. Now I only import about 30% because we work with farmers and fishermen to provide the produce and meat we want. I have specification sheets for everything – the breed, whether lowland or highland, how old, winter and summer feed, antibiotics, organic, free range, etc. It was not easy to establish this; it took 10 years to get suppliers to provide all the specifics I asked for. But I did it because I only want the best for my guests, and to be able to tell them, if they ask, anything about the food or where it comes from.

How are you investing in the future of your own business and the industry? Belmond Le Manoir is the most dynamic, creative place and the people who work here have ownership. Yes, it is my vision, but I work very hard for them to own it as much as I do – emotionally, aesthetically, intellectually, business-wise. I try to teach young people to open up to new ideas and be curious. I want them to ask thousands of questions. Everything is based on knowledge – our people are trained to know anything you may ask them. They have to understand the vision, share it, own it and pass it on. For example, even a simple thing like peeling a carrot. You must know everything about that carrot – what variety it is, where it is grown, the Ph of the soil, how big that kind of carrot should be, which way to cut it. Then you must pass that knowledge on and enrich somebody else. We have trained and mentored many young people, launched many careers, and helped dozens to start their own businesses: 27 Michelin starred chefs, 40-50


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Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons

managers, the world’s best sommeliers and numerous craftsmen. And now they are doing the same – passing on that knowledge. They cannot help it because it is part of the culture. One of the things we have done is join the Mayor of London’s apprenticeship scheme. By taking on 21 apprentices ourselves at Brasserie Blanc restaurants, we are encouraging the food and hospitality sector to take on more young people as apprentices. I am also President of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, which aims to bring sustainability to all restaurants and reward them for behaving responsibly. We now have 2,500 member restaurants and are expanding in France.

Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Has it lived up to your original vision? I wanted to create total excellence in every facet of Belmond Le Manoir – the food, the service, the gardens, the art, right down to the beam of light on a painting. My vision was actually to create a place with republican values. I come from a working class background and I wanted it to have an inclusive luxury. The first thing I did was to kill table protocol. People were sitting on the edge of their seats with straight backs, eating in a particular way, waiters looking down on them in a disapproving manner. I wanted warmth, laughter, fun, lovers holding hands, families coming together. So I told the young commis to engage with the guests, then I started to remove jackets and ties – people were dressed up to the hilt and I did not want them to be uncomfortable. We were the first to have a full à la carte menu for vegetarian and vegan guests.

We also actively welcomed children. You have no idea what a battle that was! I had to fight the food writers, the travel writers, my managers, the chefs, the maitre d’hotel and even guests who envisaged little hooligans running around, but I’ve had very few problems. It’s very simple: you make them feel important – you show them the kitchen and let them choose their ice cream for later. It’s about making people feel special, whether they are little or big. I will always remember in our first year, a young couple arrived in a little battered Mini. I could see their fear and apprehension when they saw Belmond Le Manoir. They were about to turn back but I ran out to them and said please do come in, I will give you the most wonderful time of your life, which we did. We have a great mix of people coming here. Half of our guests come in their Bentleys and Ferraris, but we also have those who come once a year or maybe once in their lifetime. Some dress up, some don’t – it’s about comfort, it’s about celebration. A restaurant used to be an appendage with no connections. Now a restaurant is part of society as important as any university, museum or cinema. It brings people together. Because we have so little time for family life, restaurants will increasingly become a way to enjoy time together and celebrate. All this is the basis of our success and it has had huge commercial consequences. But we are speckles – fire flies – we pass by. I want to finish this place beautifully, entrust it to loving hands, those who will respect its beauty and make it sustainable beyond me. So with my team I’m imprinting every square centimetre in order to pass it on. That’s my role. It’s not about me, it’s not about legacy. It’s about ‘it’ – excellence. I Interview by KF info - may / june - 37


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Preserving heritage in a globalising brand Preserving its French DNA while going global has its challenges for Relais & Chateaux but as Malcolm Lewis, Chairman of the UK & Ireland delegation and board member, explains, it is a conscious business strategy

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014 sees Relais & Châteaux celebrating its 60th anniversary. Recognised as one of the leading international hotel and restaurant consortiums, the successful longevity of this organisation is as much about the people and personalities within it as the powerful brand itself. It is all about a heritage of exemplary hospitality and fine cuisine with its roots in France and the concept of French ‘Art de Vivre’. Now with over 500 members in 64 countries, it is clear that the organisation has become a global brand setting benchmarks within the travel world. This globalisation has not come about by accident. Around 15 years ago, a decision was made that membership and marketing representation should be focused on the 10 key markets in the world. More recently, with this strategy now firmly in place, it was again decided that expansion should extend to the new emerging markets such as India and China. It is no surprise that whilst the strategy of globalisation is working, confusion from within the heart of the organisation has arisen from time to time with the key question being – should we preserve our heritage? The answer every time is a resounding ‘yes’. This anniversary is a reminder of the amazing story behind the brand, when a few passionate French innkeepers and chefs got together to create a journey from Paris to the Côte d’Azur and called it ‘La Route du Bonheur’ (The Road

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Relais & Chateaux’s French roots are an integral part of the brand

of Happiness). This slogan is today a key element in marketing activities whereby itineraries are created encouraging clients to tour member properties in whichever region they may be in the world. Not only is exemplary hospitality a stringent requirement for membership, but so is good cuisine. Cuisine, as it is in France, continues to be at the heart of the organisation and makes up one of the infamous Relais & Châteaux ‘Five C’s’ – Character, Courtesy, Calm, Charm & Cuisine. It is clear, therefore, that wherever Relais and Châteaux is today or wherever it may be tomorrow, it can never escape its past. So what about the future? With globalisation now a very clear strategy, the lessons from this remarkable history will continue to play a part as it did in France. Relais & Châteaux now celebrates all that is great about international cuisines, hospitality and cultures whichever region they’re in and as happened in 1954, they build itineraries so that clients can discover them with ease. With globalisation comes a new culture of communication. In the past, Relais and Châteaux spoke French to a French audience. Learning how to speak to new audiences, new cultures and new markets has been a challenge. Whilst the strategy on one hand is about holding onto its roots and heritage, learning new communication skills has not been without its difficulties. The organisation’s International Board has been key in helping the head office and its marketing departments with this issue. Currently, discussions are being held with the view to delegating more responsibility to a dozen or so international marketing and sales offices. They sometimes say that ‘you can’t teach old dogs new tricks’ – well, Relais & Châteaux is proving this wrong and looks forward to its next 60 years. I


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Branding challenges for a city hotel Location is a serious consideration for a hotel with wider implications for the brand, but in the case of InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Area Director of Marketing for London Ed Purnell describes how the calculated risk of opening in a previously unthinkable locality is paying off

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he idea that globalisation is made up of cities not countries is becoming ever more prevalent. Take for instance cities like New York, Paris and London where international hotel brands are proliferating because they understand that being in the right cities equate to global recognition – but that’s only once the ideal location has been found. With location being at the forefront, the temptation for hotel brands to work with developers to add or grow this presence, whether it be new build, renovation or rebrand and operational enhancement, is massive. Now, more than ever, there is a pipeline of hotel openings in London to rival those of newly created global mega-cities in the Middle East and Asia. PwC reports that after 11,000 new rooms opened in 2011 and 2012, London saw a post Olympics supply slowdown in 2013, but that supply is set to rise again by around 5% in 2014 and again in 2015 when we will see above average growth as over 12,000 new rooms open. The idea of opening a hotel in the East End or south of the Thames 10 years ago seemed incredulous. Now, plots are being sold to the highest bidder and the world’s most prestigious brands, not just from the hospitality segment, are lining up around the block. When InterContinental Hotels and Resorts added to its London portfolio in 2012 with the opening of InterContinental London Westminster, it was the culmination of many years of due diligence into the Victoria and Westminster surrounds. The brand also needed to take great care in choosing a location for what would be its second property in London, to ensure it would be able to gain its own awareness whilst protecting the business and reputation of its

Mayfair counterpart of 37 years. The appeal to the brand in this most traditional of London locations was its proximity not only to some of London’s history and heritage, but also a neighbourhood that is undergoing a dramatic upgrade. It might sit in a prime London location, but until recently, SW1 had never realised its potential. Since 2006, Land Securities has been curating the area’s upgrade, overseeing the arrival of new, inspired architecture. Subsequently, the area has attracted not only a luxury hotel in the InterContinental, but the arrival of many of the world’s most recognisable brands, including Burberry, Jimmy Choo, Tom Ford, Schlumberger, Google, Microsoft and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Unlike the brand’s highly visible flagship hotel at the top of Park Lane, the Westminster property is in an entirely different neighbourhood and not visible until you are virtually through its doors. The hotel’s positioning was to stay true to its Westminster political heritage – touches include the hotel’s very own Division Bell (see page 57), installed by the Serjeant at Arms of the House of Commons, along with a healthy dose of satirical artwork by Gerald Scarfe and Martin Rowson. Public and industry plaudits to date has gone a long way to suggesting that InterContinental has managed to fulfil its brand ambitions to stay true to locality in order to provide insightful and meaningful experiences, whilst delivering a destination appeal that combines the old and the new. Those brands with a burgeoning desire to grow their footprint in London could do worse than take the pragmatic approach as InterContinental, for failure to do so could result in a very short stay in the capital. I info - may / june - 39


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Adapting to the new age of fine dining: a restaurant’s perspective New ways of booking and savvy value-conscious customers are turning restaurant traditions on their heads, writes Adam Lawrence, Marketing and communications Manager at Club Gascon

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n recent years, the shift away from traditional telephone reservations towards web-based reservations platforms has been huge. It’s never been more convenient to make a booking at a restaurant. Consumer-facing sites allow discerning diners the opportunity to browse through live table availability, menus and valuable feedback from other diners for thousands of potential dining options all in one single place. Innovations such as dining reward points, benefit customers who honour reservations and ensure continued brand loyalty. Other factors, such as software integrations with social and reviewing sites, as well as developments in mobile technology are rapidly improving the individual user experience. With meals now an easily searchable commodity, fine dining itself is far more accessible than before and available to new, growing audiences. Whilst this can only be a good thing for the customer, it also exposes restaurants to the perils of the rigid search algorithm – whether you tick the right boxes – in order to be seen and to remain competitive. These days a star rating alone won’t guarantee high visibility and with online reservations accounting for more and more bookings (certainly a very high percentage of new visitors) this territory has become a battlefield. Restaurants are constantly vying with each other to differentiate themselves and stand out from the pack in order to attract new value-conscious customers. There has been a notable rise in discounted, set menus across the fine dining sector, particularly at lunch times. It’s now common for many restaurants to have a lunch ‘deal’ offering fantastic value for money, running with a bookings provider all year round. In some cases this can be counter-productive; when promotions are withdrawn and with so much choice around, many savvy customers will move on to the next deal. However the positives, not least the promise of filling tables at traditionally quieter

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times, are clear to see and operators are adapting quickly. Complimentary drinks, hidden extras and a greater emphasis on improving the overall dining ‘experience’, are just some of the ways in which restaurants are working to eschew the traditional, stuffy image of fine-dining and offer added value to customers. Fantastic food and service at a great price still determine whether diners return, but creating unique and inspiring experiences that showcase a brand helps to capture new diners. Seasonal menus with an emphasis on locally sourced produce, menus showcasing a single quality product, unique limited-time only collaborations and wider trends in luxury pop-up dining are examples of this. The amount of data coming from social media, feedback sites such as Trip Advisor, and online reservations platforms cannot be ignored. By placing more value on feedback, listening to what customers really want and engaging with them in real-time, we can offer more tailored dining options that appeal across the marketplace. Customers have faith in our brand: an online deal does not necessitate a drop in quality, rather an opportunity to deliver inspiring experiences at great value to a broadening customer-base. New operators such as ‘social concierges’ are going a step further and focus on delivering bespoke, luxury dining packages to customers much in the same way as luxury travel operators do. This allows us to concentrate less on the end price and more on showcasing the uniqueness of our own brand. Indeed, with the wider trend towards casual dining in the UK many within fine dining are adapting. Heavily starched tablecloths are disappearing and high-profile names are adapting their restaurants to make them less formal and more easily accessible. Some are going a step further and creating more pocket-friendly concepts within their own brands as a means of attracting new experienced-focused audiences. I www.clubgascon.com


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Fooding = food + feeling

© Atout France/CØdric Helsly

Move over Michelin, Le Fooding is fast catching up. The concept of Fooding (Food + Feeling) was born in 2000, when a younger generation decided to shake up the Parisian restaurant scene. Back then, Paris was full of snobbish gastronomic restaurants turned museums, flavourless brasseries, Chinese restaurants, standardised pizzerias and hotspots with average-quality food. Fourteen years on, the change is palpable: gastronomy has become cool, sexy and inventive, and the establishment looks ‘passé’. There has been a shift from the Michelin Guide to the Fooding Guide, from the Tour d’Argent to Septime, yesterday’s bourgeois have been eclipsed by today’s foodista, sauce béarnaise is giving way to yuzu.As the pendulum swings towards modernity and a certain popularisation, new restaurants and young chefs have sprung up and walls have broken down. It is a blend of smart and specialised cooking, casual settings and less hefty bills. One of the early revolutionaries was Yves Camdeborde (owner of La Regalade) who combined ‘grande cuisine’ with service simplicity, conviviality and quality, taking the best of the bistro and applying Michelin stardust. He termed it ‘bistronomy’. His legacy is a mingling of style and attitude that has put Paris back on the map as a world food capital in the cosmopolitan style of New York and London. Now on every corner you see blended flavours, street food and new types of fast-food such as Jules & Shim, the Korean kitchen, CheZaline’s revisited sandwiches, new style fish and chips at James Whelan and Michael Greenwold’s SunkenChip, and from Alain Ducasse and Christophe Michalak, the puff kiosk ‘Choux d’enfer by Michalak’. In 2013, with 50,000 copies sold, the Fooding Guide ranked second behind Michelin (100,000 copies – five times less than 10 years ago), but it leads on mobile with 20,000 downloads for its app. Proof that a cool food revolution is well underway in Paris! I Gwénaëlle Maret-Delos, Managing Director, Atout France. Information sourced from Les Inrockuptibes 20.11.2013

Wining and dining Thibault Lavergne of Wine Story supplies wine for many of London’s top restaurants. He explains how it works. How did you come to be the wine supplier for 80% of the Michelin-starred restaurants in London?

I specialise in small family domains, which do not have the volumes to supply classic British pubs or restaurant chains such as Café Rouge and Côte. Although they were used to working with big producers and brands, gastronomic restaurants were the right market for the range of wines I introduced to the UK and so I approached them. Do you work with their sommeliers?

To better understand how British restaurants worked, I recruited a sales manager with more than 10 years experience as a sommelier in London. Sommeliers taste over 90% of the wines before putting them on a restaurant wine list. This means maintaining good relationships with them as well as having a very significant budget for samples. Sommeliers, like their customers, are open to discovering new regions or appellations. What wines other than French do you supply?

Besides the major big French wine-making regions, we have exclusive rights to import or distribute wines from

vineyards in Piedmont (Italy), Lebanon, Syria and Israel. The latter three are more a reflection of my passion for the Levant than a rational economic need. We import 95% of our wine range directly. Do you follow seasonal trends or fashions?

Obviously, we sell more full-bodied reds from Madiran in winter and more light red wines from Loire or Beaujolais when it warms up, but sales tend to be consistent. A spike in UK rosé sales is not usually mirrored in top restaurants. How often are the wine lists renewed?

The best sommeliers change part of their wine list at least once a month not only to follow the seasons but also to harmonise with the chef’s menu changes. Some renew the list only once a year. Do you offer your services to other restaurants?

Yes, we help to create wine lists for other restaurants, particularly independent brasseries or bistros, which cannot afford or do not want an ‘in house’ sommelier. I Interview by JK info - may / june - 41


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Social media: to tweet or not to tweet? E ngaging in social media has been described as ‘holding the tiger by the tail’ for the hospitality industry,1 suggesting it is a risky activity that could turn around and bite. Yet for all its inherent dangers, social media is becoming an integral part of modern society and something hospitality businesses can no longer avoid, whether it benefits them or not. Hospitality and leisure businesses were initially slow to use social media channels as marketing tools to generate business. A 2010 survey by DLA Piper and BDO of the UK hospitality and leisure industry found that only 55% of businesses used it as a promotional tool. More recent findings by TripAdvisor’s TripBarometer on Mobile and Social trends affirm that half of UK hospitality businesses are devoting marketing spend to mobile and social media channels, but show that nearly a third of them plan to increase their mobile offerings and invest more in social media platforms this year. In the current economic climate, the traditional drivers of business growth cannot be relied on and if prices go up, customers are informed and savvy enough to go elsewhere. Thus businesses that capitalise on social media, as well as mobile, analytics and cloud, do gain a competitive advantage. Although it is difficult to measure, there may be a financial advantage too. A study by Cornell’s Center for Hospitality Research entitled ‘The Impact of Social Media on Lodging Performance’ (2012) found that online guest

satisfaction (as measured by their review score) had a direct impact on the financial performance of hotels. The study showed that a one point increase in a hotel’s 100-point ReviewPro Global Review Index leads to a 0.89% increase in price, a 0.54% increase in occupancy, and a 1.42% increase in Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR). In an industry in which better reviews generate better revenues, social media cannot be ig nored. But it is also about the intangible benefits that engaging directly with customers bring, namely brand association and loyalty. Facebook is a case in point, cited by PwC in its report on ‘The social media opportunity for hotels’: ‘Around 24 million people in the UK (one third of the population) check into Facebook every day and 82% of them do so on mobiles or tablets. And 63% of generation X travellers and a third of baby boomers share a daily status update while on holiday. Those consumers – through interacting with the brands, posting images, checking in and recommending to their friends – can become powerful ambassadors for the hotel they visit, even if they do not themselves become loyal to that brand or location. Each instance in which your customer interacts with your brand on their social network is another opportunity for you to win new customers, and to increase loyalty and ultimately share of wallet from your current customers.’ The compulsion to be engaged as well as the challenges are shared by three different businesses below. I KF 1. Social Media and the Hospitality Industry: Holding the Tiger by the Tail, by Glenn Withiam, Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.

Aubaine restaurants In Aubaine we believe in telling our stories, both by word of mouth and by using new digital platforms to reach everyone. This gives our customers more control and the convenience of being able to tell us what they like, dislike or just to communicate. These digital platforms need to be conversational and engaging, rather than one-way messages, to get the tone right for both our brand and the platform (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook ) we are using. Content is key – we do not tweet or put photos on Instagram just for the sake of it. Our content is related to what we are doing at that moment, whether it is a new dish, cake, event, recipe, Galette |||

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des Rois or Christmas logs. We try always to keep it visual to grab the attention of and engage with our followers. It needs to stand out from all the other content floating around. At Aubaine we are investing a lot in this digital world because that is where our customers are. For example, this year we have established a dedicated Digital Marketing post, and we have improved our website with easier booking facilities and full mobile compatibility. Being digital is the future. We will soon be finding restaurants, booking tables, ordering food, paying, and then reviewing it all digitally on our mobile. I Hani Nakkach , Aubaine Founder


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L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon Social media has become a fundamental part of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon’s marketing infrastructure, particularly being in such a dynamic competitive market as West End London. Prior to engaging, we felt the strain of having to capture different target demographics for our two distinctively styled dining rooms and destination cocktail bar & roof terrace, each with their own merits and competition. Social media enables us to engage with target segments and promote different areas with strategic timing aimed at reaping maximum exposure. It also offers a spectrum of personal customer service response that was not possible before. Of course this has its pros and cons, but overall the swift response it allows is good for building brand image. Furthermore, it gives French haute cuisine an accessible persona, where misconceptions from appreciation to affordability can be broken down. For a well-known international brand such as L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, it also carries the extra benefit of engaging with potential guests |||

from further afield, not least the booming luxury travel market from China. Using Facebook and Instagram, we are able to showcase ourselves to the potential demographic, enticing future bookings and event hire. Many of this segment’s clientele enjoy a game of ‘West vs East’ whereby they visit us in London and Paris to make comparisons with the likes of Hong Kong or Tokyo for fun! This gives great exposure to our brand quality, builds followers and generates a good level of actual and virtual ‘word of mouth’ recommendations, not to mention healthy competition between ourselves with creativity and marketing strategy. Since establishing our own London website and social media infrastructure in August 2011, our level of engagement has grown considerably. This is valuable exposure for the business and is cost effective to manage. All in all, social media is here to stay, so we should master it and work it to our advantage. I Peggy Li, Marketing & Communications Manager, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon

Pullman London St Pancras hotel It is now impossible to ignore social media. Over the last few years this form of networking has snowballed at a staggering rate creating enormous opportunities for those who use it. With over 1.4 billion people using Facebook alone, any business would be putting themselves at a huge disadvantage if they did not use this tool to communicate. It is particularly useful for those in the hospitality industry as so much of a hotel’s reputation and business is built on word of mouth alone. Such digital platforms give a hotel the unique chance to connect with customers before they have entered the establishment. A relationship can be built prior to the individual even arriving in the country. Not only this, but social media is a fantastic resource for market research, |||

advertising and businessto-business communication. However social media should not be underestimated. It is unpredictable and moves at an unprecedented pace – so much so that any organisation will be challenged to keep on top of it once they have entered into it. The issue with social media is that it empowers the consumer rather than the organisation, creating a virtual space where anyone and anything can be discussed. The organisation is forced to take a back seat and listen to what is being said, as it is only once an issue has been already raised that it can then be dealt with. However the issue will have been presented publically for all to see and once it is out there it can never truly be contained. Although no organisation can

afford to neglect social media at a time like this, we at Pullman London St Pancras believe it must be handled with extreme care, with calculated strategies and management, for an online presence is only beneficial if it is a positive one. Anything less could be detrimental to its reputation. I Jaime Faus, General Manager, Pullman London St Pancras

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focus part two: future proofing the industry

Training the next generation Peter Ducker, chief executive of the Institute of Hospitality, looks at the big picture of employment and career potential in the industry, and what’s being done to attract young talent from across the spectrum

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t a global level, the hospitality industry comes under the wider definition of the travel and tourism industry, one of the world’s largest industries. Here in the Old World although our economic growth is not as spectacular as that in emerging markets, it is worth remembering that Europe remains by far the largest tourism destination in the world, with a 52% share of total annual international arrivals. Paris and London are the two most visited cities in the world, beating Bangkok and New York in the third and fourth places. The hospitality industry’s resilience and development has varied across Europe in recent years. Eurostat publishes employment data under two sub-sectors (accommodation and food service activities) which has been aggregated in the adjacent table to give an overall picture of hospitality employment in Europe’s major economies. The recession hit southern Europe particularly hard, resulting in job losses across Spain’s accommodation and foodservice sectors. In France, Germany and Italy, it led to job losses in the accommodation sector, but food service continued to create new jobs, resulting in overall growth between 2008 and 2012 (see table). The UK’s hospitality industry stands out because it experienced jobs growth across both subsectors, making it a true success story at a time when most 44 - info - may / june

Peter Ducker

industries, including the public sector, financial services and construction, were shrinking. Yet despite such facts, many parents, teachers and careers advisors continue to regard hospitality as a career of last resort and employers can often struggle to fill key positions. In recent months London has experienced an explosion of new restaurant and hotel openings, making recruitment a particular challenge. Until now, the industry’s primary response has been to employ nonUK and non-EU citizens. However, new immigration restrictions plus high domestic youth unemployment (20.7% in the UK; 25.4% in France) make attracting more home-grown talent not

only a sensible idea but a growing imperative. Trying to attract school leavers into hospitality is leaving it too late. That is why a number of schemes aim to educate and influence primary school children about the variety of opportunities that hospitality offers. Too often it is overlooked that hospitality needs not just chefs, waiters and receptionists, but a wide range of professionally qualified personnel in areas such as general management, IT, sales and marketing, human resources, revenue management and real estate. Hospitality is predominantly made up of small and mediumsized enterprises, which offer local jobs for local people and contribute to the wealth of every single local authority in the UK. At the same time, there are major global companies (IHG – Intercontinental Hotels Group, the world’s largest hotel group, has its headquarters in Buckinghamshire) which offer exciting opportunities across the world. Kristian Nenchev’s career illustrates the opportunities for travel and hospitality’s propensity to give young people management responsibility very early on. His talent for mathematics and IT was recognised in his home country Bulgaria; he studied hospitality management in the Netherlands, completed a year-long internship in Dubai and now works at Marriott’s corporate HQ in the US


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Numbers employed in the hospitality industry (Accommodation and food service activities) 2008

2010

2012

Variance between 2008 & 2012

UK

1,269,600

1,417,300

1,471,300

201,700 (15.9%)

France

878,800

965,400

981,100

102,300 (11.6%)

Germany

1,457,100

1,488,200

1,578,600

121,500 (8.3%)

I taly

1,179,400

1,190,600

1,274,200

94,800 (8.0%)

Spain

1,452,600

1,370,300

1,322,200

-130,400 (-9.0%)

Source: Eurostat. Definition: The provision of short-stay accommodation for visitors and other travellers and the provision of complete meals and drinks fit for immediate consumption.

with responsibility for the revenue management of 12 hotels in Memphis. Still only 22 years old and the winner of an Institute of Hospitality Student Award, Kristian says his talent could have taken him into any sector, but he chose the hotel sector because it offered more human interaction and a more balanced working life than becoming a pure IT programmer. Hospitality’s ability to create jobs has not gone unnoticed by the UK Government which is taking a renewed interest in vocational careers and apprenticeships in reaction to the disproportionately high levels of youth unemployment. Our lobbying

TOP 10 Hotel Management Schools in the World

1. Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, Switzerland 2. Les Roches International School of Hotel Management, Bluche - Switzerland * 2. Glion Institute of Higher Education, Glion & Bulle, Switzerland * 2. Cornell University, USA * 5. Hotelschool The Hague, Netherlands 6. Les Roches International School of Hotel Management, Marbella - Spain 7. Hotel School Vatel, France 8. Oxford Brookes University, United Kingdom 9. César Ritz Colleges, Le Bouveret, Brig Switzerland 10. Ecole Hôtelière de Genève, Switzerland * Les Roches International School of Hotel Management, Glion Institute of Higher Education and Cornell University are tied for second position. Source: Taylor Nelson Sofres

body, the British Hospitality Association, is running a nationwide campaign known as ‘The Big Conversation’ that brings together leaders from hospitality businesses and local young people, stimulating dialogue and encouraging more quality work experience, apprenticeships and jobs for 16-24 year olds. So far, more than 1,200 industry representatives have attended these events, pledging the creation of 34,000 new job opportunities. Major companies that support the initiative include Whitbread, Marriott, Hilton, Accor, Compass and ISS. Given the increased cost of higher education in England, there is some evidence that A level students are gravitating towards higher education options with clear routes into employment. At the University of West London, for example, the number of students enrolled in hospitality and tourism management degrees has increased. A recent study showed only 7.7% of UK hospitality management graduates were unemployed six months after graduation. This gives colleges and universities a sound basis to promote such degrees as education for employment. The message to students is ‘you will get a job’ and that management positions are available that may not be in other sectors. For more than 75 years, the Institute of Hospitality’s role has been to act as a bridge between educators and industry and provide career-long learning and development opportunities to our members, who are working in more than 100 countries throughout the world. In our exciting, fast-moving and fragmented industry, a feeling of identity and belonging is important. I info - may / june - 45


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Recruiting and training at hotel level: the Pullman St Pancras case study Jaime Faus, General Manager of Pullman London St Pancras sets out what his hotel does to recruit and train staff

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he Pullman London St Pancras is a fourstar upscale hotel and we rely on having dedicated, talented and a passionate team in order to maintain this status and meet and exceed our guests expectations. With this in mind we tailor our recruitment process to attract the best talent to join our team, ensuring we are fair and thorough, whilst varying our methods in order to reach as many candidates as possible. We are part of the Accor Group, which itself has pledged to provide 3,500 new jobs within the industry in 2013/14. Skype, telephone and face-to-face interviews are all approaches we use in order to get to know our candidates better. We are also going to be trialling a new video interview programme in the next few months. All team members who have successfully passed the first stage of the interview process are then invited to attend a trial shift so that they are able to gain a better understanding of what the role would require and what it is like to work in a hotel environment. Attending a trial shift also allows them to immediately start integrating with the rest of the team and hotel guests. Pullman London St Pancras is extremely fortunate to be situated in the vibrant city of London. With Britain being in the world’s top 10 tourist destinations and the industry itself being the fifth largest UK employer there is huge potential for job creation for 18-24 year olds. Currently 82% of young people do not know what they want to do as a career, but 53% of them would consider hospitality as a positive choice. At the hotel we hope to harness this potential and create as many appropriate positions as possible, giving as many people as we can the opportunity to break into the industry and make a career for themselves. Through internships, apprenticeships and work experience, Pullman welcomes those who are not quite ready for full-time positions or do not know what department or area they want to work in but would like to gain an insight into the varied and exciting world of hospitality. These positions range 46 - info - may / june

from six to 12 months for students from the UK and abroad. We look to create bespoke internships tailored to their needs. We are happy to take on individuals who have no previous experience in the hospitality industry but who show potential and passion for the industry and a willingness to be trained and learn new skills. Training is an important factor at Pullman. We are totally committed to creating varied, useful and interesting training sessions for every member of our team. All team members, both operational and office based, complete training sessions within the first three months of service, namely Team Orientation, which includes all statutory requirements, the Pullman ‘Body & Soul’ and ‘Welcom’In’ values and behavioural training. For managers and supervisors we offer the ‘Welcome Coach’ training as part of the journey to being fully knowledgeable of the Pullman brand and its most important aspects. On top of this, each department carries out a minimum of 30 hours of departmental-focused training a month. These sessions covers everything that a team member would need to know in order to perform within their department to the best of their ability. This ranges from 15-minute sessions on the perfect way to lay a table, how to tie a tie correctly and local knowledge of London, to more in-depth training on cocktail mixology, wine, whiskey and tea deli training. Excellence is the aim, no matter how small the task may be. I


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That VAT issue Tourism is a key industry for the French and UK economies alike, but in terms of support, the approach of the governments on VAT is very different, according to the British Hospitality Association

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rench VAT on tourism products such as hotels and restaurants is 10%, half the standard rate applied in the UK. In 1967 France was one of the first European nations to apply a reduced rate. Now 24 (soon to be 25) of 28 EU members recognise the benefits of a reduced rate of Tourism VAT. In office President Sarkozy was a leading champion of the case for a reduced rate for the sector, reducing restaurant VAT in 2009. Despite raising this rate to 10%, the administration of President Hollande has not challenged the principle that a reduced rate is in the interest of the sector and the wider French economy. According to the Institut National de Statistiques following the French reduction in VAT, employment in the hotel and restaurant industry rose by 75,000 between June 2009 and September 2011, 40% of the VAT decrease was passed through in terms of higher staff remuneration, 23% in price decreases with 20% being invested in the business.

UK tourism businesses are struggling to compete in an increasingly competitive international market. Cut Tourism VAT [campaign] brings together over 3,500 businesses, large and small, to campaign for the UK to join France and vast majority of EU states and reduce VAT for the sector. Tourism businesses operate in an increasingly competitive market. Independent research has concluded that reducing UK VAT for visitor accommodation and entry to attractions would boost GDP by £4 billion a year, create 80,000 jobs over two to three years and deliver £2.6 billion to the UK Treasury over 10 years. Last year the Campaign produced this infographic showing how the lower rate of French tourism VAT (then 7%, now 10%) can make a UK holiday significantly more expensive once VAT is applied. Tourism is now the fifth largest export earner for the UK and the only one subject to a domestic tax. I

MARY AND JOHN SMITH TAKE FAMILY HOLIDAYS WITH THEIR CHILDREN DANIEL (10) AND LUCY (6) WHERE PRICES HAVE BEEN PROVIDED IN EUROS THEY HAVE BEEN CONVERTED TO GBP AT A VALUE OF 0.85 PENCE

FRANCE

UNITED KINGDOM

(SOUTH WEST)

(BOGNOR REGIS)

DRIVING DISTANCE 130 MILES

DRIVING DISTANCE 675 MILES

BEACHWEAR

BEACHWEAR

Price inc VAT

Price inc VAT

£50.00

£50.00

VAT amount

WINE

VAT amount

£8.19

WINE

(VAT 19.60%)

Price inc VAT

£8.33 (VAT 20%)

Price inc VAT

£50.00

£50.00

VAT amount

VAT amount

£8.19

£8.33

ZOO

(VAT 19.60%)

ZOO

(VAT 20%)

Price inc VAT

Price inc VAT

£43.35 VAT amount

FOOD & SOFT DRINKS

£7.10

£63.99 VAT amount

FOOD & SOFT DRINKS

£10.67

(VAT 19.60%)

Price inc VAT

(VAT 20%)

Price inc VAT

£300.00

£300.00

VAT amount

VAT amount

£19.63

£50.00

(VAT 7%)

ACCOMMODATION

(VAT 20%)

ACCOMMODATION

Price inc VAT

£1,232.00

THEME PARK

VAT amount

£80.60 (VAT 7%)

Price inc VAT

£115.60

£15.00

(VAT 7%)

8

(VAT 20%)

VAT amount

£7.56

£131.2

VAT amount

£231.00

Price inc VAT

£90.00

VAT amount

L TOTACH FRENT VA

Price inc VAT

£1,383.00

THEME PARK

(VAT 20%)

TOTAL COST OF FRANCE HOLIDAY (EX VAT)

TOTAL COST OF UK HOLIDAY (EX VAT)

£1,659.67

£1,614.16

TOTAL COST OF FRANCE HOLIDAY (INC VAT)

TOTAL COST OF UK HOLIDAY (INC VAT)

£1790.95

£1,936.99

TOTA L UK VAT

£322.8

3

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CSR in the hospitality business needn’t cost the earth James Barr, Business Development Director and John Nyoti, General manager at TheWesley, a social enterprise hotel, throw down the gauntlet to the hospitality industry for a more ethical approach to business

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overnments lay down policies and frameworks for governance, but businesses can change societies, attitudes, behaviours and lifestyles of generations. Steve Jobs once said ‘the best businesses even identify what the consumer wants before they even know themselves’.

Credit: NOAA/NASA GOES Project Source: http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_detail.php?id=2429 http://veimages.gsfc.nasa.gov//2429/globe_east_540.jpg

A wider scope With wealth creation comes so much more – perceptions, aspirations, tastes, hopes and dreams can all be changed. It also brings influence and responsibility. In the digital age in which we live, there is a much greater awareness of the gravity of the issues facing the world today, and the need to act. Within this context, the corporate responsibility and accountability of hospitality companies are increasingly under the microscope. TheWesley, an ethical hospitality brand that we created, was the result of our passion for a sustainable approach to business. Our vision is: to create wealth and jobs, ethically and without leaving any damage in our wake; to bring employees into the company who would normally not be given the opportunity; to create and maximise new opportunities, focusing on the longer term and not just pursuing financial gain at all costs; to make financial gains ethically and reinvest fairly and sensibly in the hospitality business sector. Profit for purpose A business with social and environmental objectives allows surpluses to be reinvested for those purposes or into the community, rather than maximising short-term profit. The social enterprise model is an example of this. But any socially

48 - info - may / june

responsible business places its ethos at the heart of its core business strategy, driven by a social and environmental mission while focusing on the stakeholders. My experience of 20 years in the hospitality and travel industries has taught me that the underlying philosophy behind this sector needs to change. Cheap air travel is unlikely to be sustainable over a long period. Hotels can be notoriously wasteful with their resources, and they are often negligent in the disposal of waste. Restaurants should focus on their roots and explore the provenance of their ingredients and food and stop using processed food as short cuts by providing simple food to suit the seasons and local environment. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) should no longer be an afterthought, but rather a powerful force for businesses. It makes an inspirational difference when focusing on the bottom line. A socially responsible business delivers a triple bottom line, using profit (or trading) for people and planet. Profit, of course, is critical because it enables social objectives to be fulfilled, and in no way does this CSR philosophy underplay the importance of strong financial performance. According to Tim Smit of the Eden Project, this is ‘a new way of doing business which will, in due course, come to be seen as the way most businesses should operate. It is a movement that gives capitalism a social heart’.

The power of three The triple bottom line is most significant and powerful. Rather than the usual profit criteria delivered at the annual


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shareholder’s meeting, the end of year review will measure performance success by three criteria. There is nothing esoteric about this; it is already a tried and tested formula: • Gross operating profit: There is no evidence that social and environmental responsibility has a negative financial cost to hospitality businesses. In my experience, the opposite is true. Making it your USP (Unique Selling Point) can add significantly to your profit, both in terms of the marketing potential and overhead and cost savings, particularly in energy and utilities. ‘Will behaving in a socially responsible way make my business more successful and more profitable? Will my customers and consumers really reward me for this? Will my board? Will my shareholders? I am convinced they will.’ (David Jones, Who Cares Wins) • Social impact: How many people do you employ and how well are they treated? As we all know, wages are normally the biggest cost to any business, so surely it is sensible to develop and optimise the potential of your workforce? I believe that a socially responsible

company will provide the chance for people with the work ethic, talent and desire to blossom. Does the company contribute to the community and in charitable donations? Do supply chains ensure compliance to ethical standards? • Environmental impact: the Environmental Management Standard - ISO14001 enables firms to target reduced carbon emissions through a structured environmental management system (EMS) applicable to any industry through management commitment. By setting benchmarks for reduction/ elimination of greenhouse gas emissions, recycling and waste management, reduced usage of plastic bottles, reduction of energy use, etc., companies can reduce their carbon footprints with the ultimate target of becoming carbon neutral. Hospitality businesses should measure their social and environmental impact in both qualitative and quantitative terms and stop treating this issue in a tokenistic manner. A socially responsible business gains recognition within and beyond its industry and gives back to society and environment. I

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Royal Opera House heads Franco-British partnership to stage Verdi’s Requiem ||| A 275-strong group of musicians and singers from both sides of the Channel will converge on Thurrock, Essex, for two very special performances of Verdi’s Requiem on 3 & 4 July. From France will come the musicians – L’Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne and L’Orchestre de Picardie – and from the UK, the singers, rising stars from the Royal Opera House Jette Parker Young Artists Programme, the Royal Opera House Thurrock Community Chorus and the Brighton Festival Chorus. The venue, a creative industries training centre, built and run by Creative & Cultural Skills, forms part of the creative hub that is High House Production Park, where the Royal Opera House also has its set and scenery production workshop alongside other activities in partnership with the Arts Council England and Thurrock Council. The history of this project goes back to 2011 when ROH Thurrock was approached to join a network of creative enterprises bidding for European funding. They linked up with a group of French partners, in particular Rose Lowry, General Manager of the Orchestre de Picardie, to put together a programme of work. One of the ideas proposed was Verdi’s Requiem. ‘For the ROH and community of Thurrock to have international visiting orchestras coming here to do that kind of performance was an unmissable opportunity,’ says Matt Lane, Head of ROH Thurrock and Thames Gateway. ‘Moreover to have local people performing alongside world-class musicians really fits in with our mission and work here, which is to create opportunities for people to engage in high-quality cultural experiences.’ The overall project, called ACT – A Common Territory, is a three50 - info - may / june

Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne

year programme of live performance and cultural exchange from 2013 to 2015, involving a wider network of 13 partners in both the UK and France, which is being co-funded under the European cross-border Co-operation Programme INTERREG IV for the purpose of fostering and developing creative skills in local people and promoting wider access to art and cultural events. Each of the partners provides 50% of the funding for their own activities, some of which took place last year. Matt explains: ‘Our activities include putting on Verdi’s Requiem in Thurrock, so we are sponsoring this production, providing the singers, the soloists and the venue. Last November we sent our soloists to join the orchestras and Brighton Festival Chorus in performances of Requiem on tour in Amiens, Compiegne and Rennes. We are also hosting bespoke training events for all ACT partner members at High House Production Park.’ The cultural exchange has been an enriching experience for all the partners, which Matt describes as bringing out the best in people. ‘It’s been a real eye-opener for groups from this area not only to visit but also to play host. Working across the language barrier has added an extra element to the project. It’s made everyone think carefully about what they’re contributing and to raise their game. All this is about breaking down those barriers and really encouraging people to see themselves as being part of a family beyond their national borders.’ Another effect of the programme is to raise aspiration levels in the local area. ‘Traditionally Thurrock has not had a very strong sense of cultural identity or aspiration amongst young people because employment locally tends to be very low skilled in retail, the docks or logistics,’ says Matt. ‘By introducing a new sector you can begin to broaden horizons for young people and it opens up opportunities for them to develop their skills in different areas.’ This Franco-British production of Verdi’s Requiem promises to raise those aspirations to an even higher level! I KF 3 and 4 July, 8pm. The Backstage Centre, High House Production Park, Purfleet, RM19 1RJ. Tickets: £15, concessions £12 Box Office 020 7304 4000 or go to www.roh.org.uk to book online.


The Bastille Day Ball commences Salute to Style at The Hurlingham Club ||| Salute to Style will bring a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ to London in July as an exclusive mix of classic cars grace The Hurlingham Club with their timeless presence. Guests will be able to marvel at the display of cars on parade and experience the thrill of Le Mans cars in the pits. The Club’s idyllic gardens will also be transformed into a chic Fayre with traditional French pastimes to keep guests entertained in true Gallic style. Salute to Style will run from Thursday 17 to Saturday 19 July, commencing with the Bastille Day Ball which opens the event on Wednesday 16 July. The Bastille Day Ball, themed around the 1960s, will epitomise all things French: style, elegance, fine food and wine. The evening will open with a champagne reception and an exclusive preview of the wonderful selection of

classic cars on display. Tickets to the Bastille Day Ball include access to the event from 7pm to 1am, a gourmet four-course dinner with wine, coffee and chocolates, followed by music, dancing and entertainment. London’s new summer event, Salute to Style, is set to be a ‘spectacle magnifique’, and the Bastille Day Ball will be the first event in three days of French ‘joie de vivre’ at The Hurlingham Club. I For further information on the Bastille Day Ball, please visit www. bastilledayball.co.uk and for Salute to Style visit www. hurlinghamclub.org.uk Special offer for French Chamber members: 12% discount on Ball tickets if booked before 8 June

Salute to Style THE BASTILLE DAY BALL

2014

The Bastille Day Ball kicks off The Hurlingham Club’s new summer event, Salute to Style, bringing a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ to London.

WEDNESDAY 16TH JULY SPECIAL OFFER FOR CCFGB MEMBERS

12% discount on Ball tickets if booked before 8th June 2014

For further information, please visit: www.bastilledayball.co.uk or call 020 7229 3725 info - may / june - 51


Compiled by Justine Kroll

w h at ’ s o n : a s e l e c t i o n o f e x h i b i t i o n s i n l o n d o n a n d b e yo n d n at i o n a l g a l l e ry , l o n d o n

Colour Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas, Combing the Hair (‘La Coiffure’), about 1896: © The National Gallery, London

||| ‘Colour’ will draw on the expertise of the National Gallery’s scientific department and the spectacular range of paintings in the Collection. The exhibition will help visitors to understand the history of the use of colour over a 700-year period – from the early Renaissance to the Impressionist movement. Each room of the ‘Colour’ exhibition will be dedicated to a particular colour from the spectrum, as well as a room devoted to gold and silver. The exhibition also examines the material problems faced by artists in achieving their painterly aims; the breakthroughs they struggled for and the technical challenges they faced. I 18 June–7 September / Open daily 10am-6pm / Friday 10am-9pm / Free admission

t h e b r i t i s h l i b r a ry , l o n d o n Brand new Jamie Hewlett design for Comics Unmasked at the British Library (c) Jamie Hewlett 2014about 1896: © The National Gallery, London

Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK ||| Comics Unmasked is the UK’s largest ever exhibition of mainstream and underground comics, showcasing works that uncompromisingly address politics, gender, violence, sexuality and altered states. This exhibition traces the British comic tradition back through classic 1970s titles including 2000AD, Action and Misty to 19th-century illustrated reports of Jack the Ripper; and features such iconic names as Neil Gaiman (Sandman), Alan Moore (Watchmen, V for Vendetta), Grant Morrison (Batman: Arkham Asylum) and Posy Simmonds (Tamara Drewe). It explores the full anarchic range of the medium with works that challenge categorisation, preconceptions and the status quo, alongside original scripts, preparatory sketches and final artwork that demystify the creative process. I 2 May–19 August / Open weekdays 10am to 6pm / Saturday 10am-5pm / Sunday 11am-5pm / Full price: £10.50

des ign m u s eu m , london

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Acrobat ©Daniel Weil

Daniel Weil ||| Thirty-five years ago, Daniel Weil arrived from his native Argentina to study design at the Royal College of Art. His reaction to political and post-industrial freedom produced the seminal Bag Radio in 1981, followed by a continuous series of inventive objects, products and interiors. This exhibition focuses on the process of design, and how designers think and work. It explores how Daniel

Weil interprets sources, chooses projects, uses colour and creates form. A longstanding Partner at Pentagram, former RCA Professor of Industrial Design and Memphis participant, Weil presents his experience and philosophy of design practice as a manifesto of ‘actions for designers’. I 14 May–25 August/ Open daily 10am-5.45pm / Full price: £12.40


v & a m u s eu m , london

Wedding dresses 1775-2014

h ay wa r d g a l l e ry , l o n d o n

The Orientalist, 2007. © the artist. Courtesy of the artist, Stephen Friedman Gallery, London and Salon 94, New York.

The Human Factor ||| In this exhibition, international artists confront the question of how we represent the ‘human’ today. The Human Factor surveys how artists over the past 25 years have reinvented figurative sculpture, looking back to earlier movements in art history and drawing on contemporary imagery. The artists engage in dialogues with modernist, classical and archaic models of art. The exhibition will feature works by over 20 leading international artists including Huma Bhabha, Katharina Fritsch, Ryan Gander, Rachel Harrison, Georg Herold, Thomas Hirschhorn, Jeff Koons, Paul McCarthy, John Miller, Thomas Schütte, Paloma Varga Weisz, Cathy Wilkes and others. I 10 June – 31 August / Monday 12-6pm, Tuesday & Wednesday 10am6pm, Thursday & Friday until 8pm / Full price: £12

Given by Lord Fairhaven © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

||| The V&A’s spring 2014 exhibition traces the development of the fashionable white wedding dress and its interpretation by leading couturiers and designers, offering a panorama of fashion over the last two centuries. The display includes some important new acquisitions as well as loans such as the purple dress worn by Dita Von Teese for her marriage to Marilyn Manson and the outfits worn by Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale on their wedding day. The exhibition highlights the histories of the dresses, revealing fascinating details about the lives of the wearers and offering an intimate insight into their circumstances and fashion choices. I 3 May–15 March 2015/ Open daily 10am-5.30pm / Friday- 10am10pm/ Full price: £13.50

n o rw i c h c a s t l e m u s e u m & a r t g a l l e ry

The Wonder of Birds ||| The Norwich exhibition will explore the cultural impact of birds upon mankind as birds have intrigued humanity since the earliest of times. With loans from local and national collections, the Wonder of Birds will span the centuries and include the arts with works by major artists and illustrators, historical and contemporary, natural history, archaeology, fashion and social history. The display comprises six sections, each highlighting a different aspect of birds, their meanings and our relationships with them: what is a bird, predators & preys, birds & landscape, migrants & ocean travellers, introducing the exotic and the realms of the spirit. I 24 May–14 September. / Open daily 10am-5pm Monday to Saturday, 1pm-5pm Sundays in peak season / close everyday at 4.30pm during low season / Full price: £7

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book reviews These books, recently translated into English, were selected by the French Institute

Weapons of Mass Diplomacy by Christophe Blain & Abel Lanzac Published by SelfMadeHero Translated by Edward Gauvin Original title: Quai d’Orsay

||| Following 9/11, President Bush’s ‘War on Terror’ erupted into a cultural clash between French reluctance and American assurance over the case for ‘weapons of mass destruction’. In Weapons of Mass Diplomacy, diplomat Abel Lanzac reveals the tension and politics from a French insider’s point of view, with satirical humour that softens the controversial subject matter. Readers follow Lanzac’s fictionalised self, Arthur Vlaminck, a speechwriter for the French Foreign Minister. As part of a team of flamboyant ministerial advisors, he has been tasked with drafting France’s response to the growing international crisis in the Middle East, which is then delivered before the United Nations Security Council. A graphic milestone of diplomacy, Weapons of Mass Diplomacy – a bestseller in Europe – provides a revelatory account of a period that saw French fries become ‘freedom fries’ and an alternative perspective on the decisions leading up to the US-led invasion of Iraq. Abel Lanzac, a pseudonym for Antonin Baudry, is a diplomat and former advisor to French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin. Christophe Blain is an awardwinning artist and writer. I

The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair by Joël Dicker Published by Maclehose Press Translated by Sam Taylor Original title: La vérité sur l’affaire Harry Quebert

||| 30 August 1975. The day a small New Hampshire town lost its innocence. That summer Harry Quebert fell in love with 15-year-old Nola Kellergan. Thirty-three years later, her body is dug up from his yard along with a manuscript copy of his career-defining novel. Quebert is the only suspect. Marcus Goldman – Quebert’s most gifted protégé – throws off his writer’s block to clear his mentor’s name. Solving the case and penning a new bestseller soon blur together. As his book begins to take on a life of its own, the nation is gripped by the mystery of ‘The Girl Who Touched the Heart of America’. But with Nola, in death as in life, nothing is ever as it seems. Joël Dicker’s European bestseller is a brilliantly intricate murder mystery, a hymn to the boundless reaches of the imagination, and a love story like no other. I

The avenue of the giants by Marc Dugain Published by Europa Editions Translated by Howard Curtis Original title: Heureux les Heureux

Happy are the Happy by Yasmina Reza Published by Harvill Secker Translated by Sarah Ardizzone Original title: Avenue des Géants

||| In this dark and witty novel Yasmina Reza looks at love through the prism of its frailty. This is a brilliantly caustic, laugh-out-loud chronicle of marital passive aggression, shameful secrets, adultery, friendship, parenthood: the struggles of being a couple – and the pain of being alone. On a knife edge between anguish and laughter, Yasmina Reza’s pitch-perfect prose creates moments of pure black comedy that take us to the heart of what it is to be human, co-habiting with other humans. A renowned prize-winning script writer, Yasmina Reza wrote the West End hit show Art and the film script for Carnage, directed by Roman Polansky. I 54 - info - may / june

||| This novel follows Al Kenner as he progresses from antisocial adolescent to fully fledged serial killer. A giant at over 7 feet tall with an IQ higher than Einstein’s, Al was never ordinary. Tainted by his parents’ divorce and his mother’s abusive behaviour, his life takes a chilling turn on the day of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Al spends five years in a psychiatric hospital, and although he convinces the staff that he is of sound mind, he continues to harbour vicious impulses. Al leads a double life, befriending the Santa Cruz Police Chief and contemplating marrying his daughter, all the while committing a series of brutal murders. Delving into the mind of this complex killer, Marc Dugain powerfully evokes an America torn between the pacifism of the hippie movement and the violence of Vietnam. Born in Senegal in 1957, Marc Dugain is the author of numerous successful novels, including The Officers’ Ward, made into a 2001 film of the same name. I


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stay. Champagne in the family ||| Pierre and Daniella Fresne run the small, young house of Champagne Fresne Ducret in Villedommange near Reims. Grape growers for over seven generations for other Champagne houses, the family established its own in 1947 when Pierre’s grandfather and his brothers began producing their own Champagne, creating a brand with their surname and mother’s maiden name. Pierre took over the family business in 2007, having studied winemaking at Avize near Epernay and worked in wineries in Burgundy and New Zealand. Together with his wife Daniella, one full-time employee and two part-time employees, he runs the 14-acre estate along artisanal lines, producing around 50,000 bottles a year. ‘Most of our operations are done by hand,’ he explains, ‘unlike some of the well-known Champagne brands, which are hardly touched by humans.’ The hands-on approach starts in the vineyards, where the vines are nurtured, wired and pruned, often by Pierre himself, through to the harvest, which is completed in two weeks by 15 or so seasonal workers. Riddling, the process of turning the bottles fractionally in special racks to remove the yeast after the second fermentation, is also done by hand, although there is one machine to help keep up with demand in busy periods. ‘We are 1,000 times smaller than the well-known Champagne brands,’ Pierre points out, comparing their output to the 50 million bottles that big conglomerates such as LVMH produce. But being so small and relatively young does have its advantages. For a start, Pierre is not so tradition bound. ‘We try to be a little bit more experimental, and come up with new, more interesting champagnes,’ he says, giving as an example a new, as yet unnamed cuvée that will be ready at the end of 2014. ‘With that cuvée we are going even further in terms of artisanal Champagne. Instead of using crown caps for the temporary closure of the bottle, we are using the traditional corks they used 50 years ago, and part of the wine is aged in barrels. You can’t industrialise and make things go faster with processes like these.’ Champagne Fresne Ducret also has the advantage of being grower’s Champagne – the grapes come from their own vineyard, and the actual winemaking and blending is done on site by Pierre, giving them a lot of control and discretion. Their Champagne is in many ways characteristic of the area – mellow and smooth, and typically blended from Pinot Noir and Pino Meunier grapes. But, as Pierre explains, the relatively slow rotation of their stocks and longer ageing before releasing them brings on more complex, interesting flavours, and ‘develops a personality that makes them stand out’. I KF Contact: champagne.fresne.ducret@gmail.com www.champagne-fresne-ducret.com info - may / june - 55


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stay. Sipping cocktails with Churchill ||| Sir Winston Churchill, a fresh rose in his lapel, sits amongst guests on the private terrace of his eponymous bar in Hyatt Regency London–The Churchill. Although he takes the form of a life-size bronze ‘In Conversation’ by sculptor Lawrence Holofcener, his presence pervades the bar, from the décor to the stories that inspired the cocktails. The owner of the hotel, which was built in 1970 on Portman Square, just behind Oxford Street, was a great admirer of Britain’s ‘Greatest Briton’ and named the hotel after him. The name stayed, along with the bar, when the Hyatt took over the management contract in 2004, but a refurbishment just over a year ago transformed the styling from stuffy gentleman’s club to that of a warm and inviting drawing room with much wider appeal. The bar was conceived as a place where the young Churchill would have liked to spend time with his beloved wife Clementine and friends, and subtly references aspects of his life – his loves, tastes and interests – designed with the collaboration of his daughter, Lady Mary Soames. Exuding the comfortable elegance of a private living room, the space is furnished with upholstered sofas and chairs, gilded wooden panelling and shelving containing books on topics that the couple would have found interesting such as art, travel, politics, gardening and fashion. These are interspersed with family photographs and memorabilia. A knitted ginger cat represents Jock, the resident cat at Chartwell, the Churchill family home, together with a dog Rufus and Pig – alluding to Churchill’s use of his children’s toys as bookmarks in his library and his habit of signing off his letters to Clementine with a picture of a dog or pig. Framed love letters offer a glimpse into their relationship. In one, Clementine signs off ‘Je t’aime passionnément – feel less shy in French’. Her practice of putting fresh roses on his desk 56 - info - may / june

every day is evoked by a 3-dimensional art piece of white roses (A Rose for Every Day by Briony Clarke)– and the fresh one on the statue. Other art works include an 1880 world map showing his travels as a war correspondent, a topographical model of the landscape of Chartwell, and a portrait of the man himself, smoking a cigar, formed with the words of his famous speeches (‘We shall fight them on the beaches’ by Annemarie Wright). Out on the all-seasons private terrace, heaters, sheepskin covers, blankets and even hotwater bottles ensure a cosy ambiance even in the coldest winter months, while this spring sees its metamorphosis into a Provençal setting, reminiscent of family holidays in Provence when Churchill would indulge in his pastime of painting. On the menu are classic British cocktails with a Churchillian twist – Parliamentary Preserve, British Raj Mohito and Churchill Gin High-Balls – as well as a range of strikingly original concoctions such as ‘British Allotment’, which brings together ingredients that would have been grown in war-time allotments – Chase potato and rhubarb vodka, pear liqueur, plum bitters and fresh carrot juice, served from a hip flask and garnished with a miniature roasted carrot and droplets of pea puree. Gin, being quintessentially British, is the basis for many of the cocktails that take inspiration from the English countryside, using Craft London Gins in combination with house-made syrups, sodas and tonics. All are served table side from vintage silver tea sets to create a memorable sense of occasion. Other cocktails include Churchill’s favourite Pol Roger Champagne, two cases of which he is said to have ordered from France every week. He famously borrowed Napoleon’s words to describe his attachment to it: ‘In defeat I need it, in victory I deserve it.’ I KF www.london.churchill.hyatt.com/


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stay. L’atelier des Chefs – mobile kitchens ||| Cooking school L’atelier des Chefs has begun rolling out its mobile kitchen concept in the UK. It’s not literally a kitchen on wheels, but rather a moveable feast in the making, whereby chefs and equipment are set up in almost any venue the client chooses for cookery class events – corporate or client entertainment, team building or stand-alone cook-and-dine occasions. L’atelier des Chefs UK is taking its cue from France where the concept has been tried and tested with great success. There they also work with marketing agencies to bring food and drinks brands to life with experiential activities in unusual places such as open-top buses or supermarket car parks that get consumers interacting with a brand’s products. ‘When we had enquiries about mobile kitchens and weren’t able to service them we realised we were turning down too much business,’ says Jono Jenkins, Business Development Director. ‘We are starting with events agencies and the corporate market, which we know and have the most contact with. It’s very nascent, but a concept that is now open for business,’ he continues. Since last September they have run a few events for between 30 and 150 people. Jono describes one for a South African bank conference at Heathrow. ‘They had a dinner in the evening, and after the starter and main course the

mobile concept was introduced to them as a surprise and they had to make their own dessert! We had 14 chefs with 10 people on each team making crème patissiere tarts, croque-en-bouche, mille feuille and chocolate truffles. They had an hour to put it together and then a judging panel toured around the cooking stations marking on flavour and presentation before announcing the winner.’ The basics needed are a 2kW power supply per table (up to 15 people), water access and a pot wash area. ‘We’ll adapt the experience to the venue,’ says Jono. ‘It’s relatively low intensity on the venue and really interactive for the customer. I think it’s pretty unique to the market. Others do the cookery concept in their own venues or use certain sites on an ad hoc basis, but I don’t know of anyone else going into a hotel and creating this animated product for a group of people.’ With this year being the soft launch of the mobile kitchen concept, L’atelier des Chefs is initially planning on doing about two events per month. ‘Once we get some interest in the concept we will look to replicate some or all of the ideas that the French guys have put in place. They’ve done a great job and so it’s quite straightforward for us to pick and choose what we feel will work the best in the UK,’ says Jono. I KF www.atelierdeschefs.co.uk

The bell at the Blue Boar ||| Every village has its pubs, and despite being at the heart of the capital, Westminster is no different. At the InterContinental London-Westminster, the Blue Boar Smokehouse and Bar is a sophisticated take on the traditional British pub and is locally recognised as the hub of Westminster village, where Members of Parliament mix with guests. Set amongst myriad satirical artwork and cartoons that adorn the Blue Boar’s woodpanelled walls, an eight-minute division bell defines its proximity to the corridors of power, installed by the Serjeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons in order to call MPs back to cast their votes. I www.blueboarlondon.com info - may / june - 57


Paul meets Jean PAUL ||| London’s French artisan bakery PAUL has created a limited edition éclair to celebrate iconic fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier’s self-titled exhibition; Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk at Barbican Art Gallery in London. Jean Paul Gaultier, legendary French fashion designer and couturier, is recognised for his use of the classic French Breton stripe, a pattern that has permeated almost all of his major fashion collections throughout his illustrious career. Maxime Holder, Chairman of Paul International says, ‘for more than 40 years, Jean Paul Gaultier has waved the enfant terrible flag for French fashion and is renowned for his cheerful irreverence, sharp tailoring and, of course, his Breton stripe. PAUL shares Jean

Paul Gaultier’s values for craftsmanship, quality and French tradition and from this, we worked to create the Breton éclair.’ I

Cherubic cheese by La Cave à Fromage ||| Since the early Middle Ages, cherubs have been associated with heart shapes. They may be an odd combination with cheese, but there is an AngloFrench history behind it. One of the fierce battles that took place between the French and English was in the rolling hills of Normandy, near the Pays de Bray area, renowned for its rich green pastures, agriculture and dairy activity dating back to the sixth century.

During the Hundred Years’ War, local dairymaids shaped their cheese into hearts, and offered them to the occupying English soldiers. And that’s how the heartshaped Neufchâtel was born! Officially registered in 1035, and regularly sold to England in the 17th century, this cow’s milk cheese is best consumed very young (around two weeks old) when it is creamy under a thin bloomy rind, tender with a chalky middle, and certainly as delicate and beautiful

as cherubs. I by Eric Charriaux E: eric@cheese.biz T: +44 (0)845 108 8222 W: www.la-cave.co.uk

Your wines with the Neufchâtel by Wine Story ||| Even if its origins are still a matter of debate, Neufchâtel is without doubt one of the oldest French cheeses. Hence a fitting complement to this ‘heart’ is a red wine which also has roots in ancient times: the SaintÉmilion. Planted by the Romans, the region flourished in the 12th century during the English occupation (which ended in 1453 with the Battle of Castillon). A wine from a satellite appellation of SaintÉmilion such as the Montagne-Saint-Émilion 1 Chateau Puynormond, lighter bodied and made predominantly with the Merlot grape, would also be ideal and much more accessible. An aged Neufchâtel can be powerful with a salty

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finish, so accompany it with a dry white wine such as the Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur lie Domaines des Yolais. Usually made from 100% Melon de Bourgogne grapes, this Muscadet from the young Veronique Günther Chéreau is much riper and more complex than the acidic white wines from this south-west part of Loire Valley that are appreciated by the oyster eater. But any cheese from Normandy goes well with a refreshing glass of local apple cider, such as the ‘Brut par Nature’ from Julien Fremont. I by Thibault Lavergne E: thibault@winestory.co.uk T: +44 (0)7921 770 691 W: www.winestory.co.uk 1. The three other Saint-Émilion satellite appellations are Lussac-Saint-Émilion, Puisseguin-Saint-Émilion and Saint-Georges-Saint-Émilion.


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News @ the Chamber I

n keeping with the season of spring, membership has recently blossomed with two new Patron members – Atos and Keolis – in addition to four Corporate members and 19 Active members. Their details are in the following pages. A wide range of our members have attended the numerous events that have taken place in this period, from the Women, Inspiration and Leadership debate between Dame Helen Alexander CBE and Laurence Parisot to the sublime Luxury Dinner addressed by Nicholas Coleridge CBE. Most remarkable has been the high calibre of speakers – by turns inspiring, motivating, amusing and thought-provoking. A reminder of some of their words of wisdom and everything else that has taken place in the Chamber’s busy calendar of events follows. The Forums and Clubs have continued to deliver sessions of specialist interest for members with both presentations and animated roundtable discussions. Sophie Mirman was welcomed as the new co-chair of the SME & Entrepreneurs Club, replacing Frédéric Larquetoux who has stepped down after two years of dedicated co-chairmanship. At a recent HR Forum session, it was observed that networking is an important part of continuous and fruitful on-the-job learning, and the French Chamber is, as always, delighted to provide an abundance of opportunities for our members to meet, network and enhance their learning. Taking place on 28 May this year our Annual Gala Dinner will herald the onset of summer rather than winter for a change, and we look forward to hearing from Lionel Barber, Editor of the esteemed Financial Times. Other illustrious speakers in store are Jean-Jacques Lebel, Chairman of L’Oreal UK and Ireland at the CEO Breakfast on 13 June and the Lord Mayor of London, Fiona Wolf CBE, at the Annual Legal Lunch on 25 June. But the most important diary date is that of the Annual General Meeting on 5 June. We urge all members to attend not only to network and vote, but also to gain a holistic understanding of your Chamber’s activities and future plans. I KF

Nicolas Petrovic, Peter Alfandary and Sir Ian Cheshire

The Luxury Dinner

Business Club Cocktail at HSBC

Discover the French Chamber

1

st

Foreign Chamber in the UK in terms of both turnover and range of services offered info - may / june - 61


new members 2 New patron memberS

Atos | IT services Represented by Ursula Morgenstern, CEO Atos UK & Ireland | www.uk.atos.net Atos SE (Societas Europaea) is an international information technology services company with 2013 annual revenue of €8.6 billion and 76,300 employees in 52 countries. Serving a global client base, it delivers IT services through Consulting & Systems Integration, Managed Operations, and transactional services through Worldline, the European leader and a global player in the payments services industry. With its deep technology expertise and industry knowledge, it works with clients across different business sectors: Manufacturing, Retail & Transportation; Public Sector & Health; Financial Services; Telcos, Media & Utilities. Atos is focused on business technology that powers progress and helps organisations to create their firm of the future. It is the Worldwide Information Technology Partner for the Olympic & Paralympic Games and is listed on the NYSE Euronext Paris market. Atos operates under the brands Atos, Atos Consulting, Worldline and Atos Worldgrid.

Keolis | Public transport operator Represented by Alistair Gordon, Chief Executive Officer | www.keolis.co.uk Keolis is a leading passenger transport business, operating in 15 countries around the world. Since the privatisation of the UK rail network in 1996, the company has been involved in some of the country’s busiest rail networks. It currently delivers one in three rail journeys and employs over 11,000 people in the UK. Keolis’ four UK rail franchises are: Southern, which carries over 120 million passengers a year and includes the Gatwick Express; South Eastern, which serves nearly 180 commuter stations and 400,000 passengers through London, Kent and East Sussex, including the UK’s first domestic high-speed (HS1) service from Kent to London; London Midland, which carries over 50 million passengers a year and operates over 1,300 services per day; and TransPennine Express, a joint venture with FirstGroup operating a network of local services in the North East & West of England and into Scotland, which carries 20 million passengers per year. In addition to rail, since November 2011, Keolis has been running the award-winning Nottingham Express Transit (NET) system.

4 new corporate members

Air Partner plc | Aircraft charter solutions Represented by Mark Briffa, CEO | www.airpartner.com

Listed on the London Stock Exchange, we are one of the largest and most established aircraft charter companies in the world, and the only one to hold a Royal Warrant to fly HM Queen Elizabeth II. Our reputation for absolute discretion, reliability and innovation has been forged over 50 years. Our services include private jet hire, commercial 62 - info - may / june

airliner charter and cargo charter. Air Partner benefits from a global presence built around more than 20 offices worldwide. From events and product launches transporting hundreds of passengers to flying VIPs on private jets, we have the expertise to provide every type of business any type of aircraft, for every conceivable mission.


new members

Farrer & Co | Solicitors Represented by Robert Field, Partner | www.farrer.co.uk

Farrer & Co is an independent UK law firm with a rich history. For over 300 years we have advised private families, individuals and charitable institutions and today this is complemented by our work with businesses and entrepreneurs, from asset managers

and sports bodies to media groups and tech start-ups. Our aim is to be the market leader in our chosen areas of expertise, advising clients on the contentious and non-contentious legal, business and personal issues they face.

Hudson | Provider of recruitment & talent solutions Represented by Alexis de Bretteville, CEO Europe | www.hudson.com

Hudson is a global talent solutions company with expertise in specialised recruitment, contracting solutions, recruitment process outsourcing, talent management and eDiscovery. Working across a diverse range of sectors and industries, we have the resources

and expertise to help organisations recruit, retain and develop high quality professionals. Our unrivalled scope of services, global capability and local expertise are what drives these candidates to consistently come to us for their next big career challenge.

Newhaven Port & Properties Ltd | Ferry port / port authority Represented by Captain François Jean, Port Manager & CEO | www.newhavenportauthority.co.uk

NPP’s vision is of a thriving commercial port, with a variety of job-creating businesses in the new low carbon industries, with an important cross-channel ferry service supported by an attractive multi-use gateway area that extends and enhances Newhaven Town centre, with a thriving leisure marine and fishing industry, and with improved, attractively renovated waterside access for residents and visitors. Offshore wind industry is a major opportunity and

one of five key strategic priorities laid out in the Port Masterplan. Newhaven has the space and industrial and manufacturing heritage to become a major centre for clean technology and renewable energy businesses. Offshore wind is seen as a major catalyst and major opportunity and Newhaven is prepared to develop the infrastructure to support it. Captain François Jean is also the French Honorary Consul in Brighton (East Sussex).

19 new Active members

Across Consulting Multilingual IT/ sales/ marketing recruitment agency Represented by Abdel Wassi, Director www.across-consulting.com

Big Fernand Ltd

Future Forward Consulting LLP Organisational change consulting & coaching Represented by Sandra Costéja Bos, Partner www.futurefwdconsulting.com

MoveInPeace Ltd

Premium burger restaurant Represented by Mathieu Durand, UK Manager www.bigfernand.com

Relocation agency, property search, help with administrative tasks Represented by Marielle Fady, Founding Director www.moveinpeace.com

Business O Feminin

My Internship Abroad

Women business magazine (online) Represented by Veronique Forge-Karibian, CEO www.businessofeminin.com

Worldwide internships and US students visa procedures (j-1) Represented by Yves Perret, President www.myinternshipabroad.com

Currencies Direct

Muzéo

Foreign exchange and international payment provider Represented by Florentine Guinot, Business Development Executive France www.currenciesdirect.com

Decoration Represented by Eric Angiboust, Company President www.muzeo.com

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Nacre Visual communication agency specialised in signages Represented by Charles-Henri Duclos, Owner www.paris18.signarama.fr

O2P

The Conran Shop Contemporary furniture, lighting and gifts Represented by Simon Calvert, Trading Director www.conranshop.co.uk

The MBS Group

360° communication agency Represented by Olivia Penichou, CEO www.o2p-conseil.com

Executive search consultancy Represented by Janine Leccia, Consultant, Head of Fashion & Luxury www.thembsgroup.co.uk

Oxand Ltd Information systems for Asset Lifecycle Management Represented by Céline Vercoglio, UK Business Development Manager www.oxand.com

The Sage Group Plc

RadcliffesLeBrasseur

Victor

Law firm Represented by Stephanie Thomas, Partner www.radcliffes.co.uk

Business management software and services Represented by Guy Berruyer, Chief Executive www.sage.com Private jet charter Represented by Alexis Grabar, Senior Vice President www.flyvictor.com

Rival Colour Ltd

Wilmore Finance Limited

Printers & branded promotional items Represented by Gary Smith, Account Director www.rivalcolour.com

Alternative finance specialist for mid-sized businesses Represented by Clément Daudy, Managing Director www.wilmorefinance.com

Studio Harcourt Paris Luxurious photographic studio specialised in the art of portraits Represented by George Hayter, Sales Manager www.studio-harcourt.eu

For more information about member companies (including email, address, phone number, etc.), please consult the online directory at www.frenchchamber. co.uk/membership/search-for-members.

h at s o f f t o

Pierre-Yves Cros

Pierre-Yves Cros, the former CEO of Capgemini Consulting has been appointed Director of Development at Capgemini Group. The global digital transformation visionary brings over 25 years of experience spanning mergers & acquisitions, global people management, strategy, business transformation change and international innovation to the Group. Pierre-Yves is a member of the French Foreign Trade Advisors in the UK (Conseillers du Commerce Exteriéur) and the IT, Communications and Telecoms industry UK advisory board. He has also been appointed to the Economic Council of the French Embassy. Pierre-Yves is also a founding member of a Londonbased think tank focused on European issues, and has co-authored Making France a digital power to accelerate growth and employment and Big Data: The opportunities outweigh the risk. He has a Master of Science from the National Institute of Applied Science and an MBA from HEC School of Management. I

Congratulations to Carolyn McCall, CEO of easyJet, and a member of our Board of Directors, and Christine Hodgson, Chair of Capgemini UK, who were listed amongst the UK’s 13 most inspiring business women’ by UK business magazine, Management Today. Both easyJet and Capgemini are Patron members of the Chamber. I Carolyn McCall

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Christine Hodgson


n e w m a i n r e p r e s e n tat i v e s Dominic Pickard – BDO Dominic leads BDO’s French in-bound investment team. His own expertise is in international tax (with an emphasis on UK tax planning for French corporates). Dominic’s interest in all things French began with a year teaching in Reims and then Clermont-Ferrand. He spent five years in Paris in the mid-1990s and a further year in 2007. Dominic also used to run a business bringing artisanal French food to the UK market. I Dominic Pickard

Stéphane Le Guevel

Stéphane Le Guevel – Peugeot Stéphane Le Guevel has been appointed the new Managing Director for Peugeot Motor Company in the UK. With an already impressive international Peugeot career behind him, Le Guevel joined the UK business on 1 April from Beijing where he was the Deputy Managing Director of Dongfeng Peugeot, the Brand’s joint venture operation in China. Before China, he was Managing Director of Peugeot’s subsidiary in Belgium as well as in Russia and Director of Marketing in Poland. I

chamber shorties Welcome to four new Advisory Councillors The Chamber has welcomed four new Advisory Councillors: Bruno Allard, Managing Director UK & Ireland of Roset UK Ltd, Brigitte Reech, Director and Relationship Manager of Crédit Suisse (UK), Nathalie Seiler-Hayez, General Manager of The Connaught and Rupert Reece, Partner, Gide Loyrette Nouel LLP. The Advisory Council consists of up to 66 members – including the Board – and hosts two sessions a year with a view to advising the management of the Chamber on strategic decisions. The role of the Advisory Council is

to increase the effectiveness of the Chamber by actively participating in and leading its activities as well as recruiting new members. I

Farewell to Michele Jackson Michele Jackson, General Manager of Promosalons UK, is retiring. A Chamber member since 1986, Michele has given 24 years of service as an Advisory Councillor. We applaud her achievements and wish her a well-deserved retirement. I

The Chamber organises programme for EDHEC London business trip For the second year running, EDHEC put on a business trip to London for its Global MBA students. Themed ‘London, the first global financial centre’, the objective of the trip was to give the 17 participants of 13 different nationalities an understanding of the London ‘ecosystem’ and provide them with contact opportunities in business finance. EDHEC, which is one of only two French business schools to have a London campus, once again asked the Chamber’s Business Consultancy team to organise the week-long programme, which included interventions from prominent financial institutions, venture capitalists, private equity firms, consultancy groups and CFOs. Sandra Richez, Head of Global MBA Career Service, said: ‘Many thanks to the French Chamber for the organisation of our trip to London with the EDHEC Global MBA Finance Track. It was a pleasure working with them again on this. The Chamber made this a hassle-free week for me and an exciting time for the students!’ The French Chamber would like to sincerely thank all the speakers who so graciously gave up their time for this, among them James Coulson (Head of Compliance and Regulation, Société Générale), Nicolas Guinet (CFO, Altran UK), Francis Malige (Director, Financial Institutions, EBRD), Julia Massies (CFO, Pernod Ricard), Jean-Noël Mermet (MD, Frenger), Etienne Michelin (Senior Partner, EY) and Graham Olive (Head of Acquisition and Strategic Finance, Natixis), Peter Alfandary (Head of French Desk, ReedSmith LLP) and Emmanuel Betry (Senior Economist, French Embassy in the UK) as well as the British Venture Capital Association for its excellent interventions. I info - may / june - 65


recent events r e n d e z- v o u s c h e z

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Musselling in on a great occasion Chamber members were warmly welcomed to Léon de Bruxelles in the heart of London’s theatreland for a taste of Belgian fare, beer and bonhomie

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oules in various forms, frogs legs, croquettes and of course frites were on the menu, served to guests on a succession of trays that were quickly emptied as beer cocktails flowed and people networked in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. Dessert was not forgotten either with mini waffles, chocolate fondants and speculoos shots finishing the evening off on a sweet note. For one lucky guest, the prize draw netted him a dinner and drinks for four at the restaurant. Chez Léon, the mother restaurant, of this UK flagship restaurant, originated in the heart of Brussels in 1893. An instant and enduring success, its trademark mussel dishes continue to be passed on from generation to generation. After expanding the brand across Belgium and France, it finally made its way to the UK in 2012, and is just marking its second birthday at its prominent location on Cambridge Circus. Welcoming the guests, John Fox, the restaurant manager, who was standing in

for General Manager James Storey, took the opportunity to announce that a second branch of the restaurant would be opening soon on Shaftesbury Avenue. I KF

c r o s s c u lt u r a l d e b at e

The best of both worlds

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a lively discussion between two French and British business leaders revealed there is much to learn and take away from each other’s cultures

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ultural misunderstanding is one of the biggest challenges to business today in a world that is increasingly globalised and interconnected. Despite the spread of English as the lingua franca and the speed of communication, cultural differences have not diminished. Thus cultural intelligence has become more important than ever before as a business requirement. Within this context, the French Chamber’s CrossCultural Relations Forum organised a debate between Sir Ian Cheshire, Group Chief Executive of Kingfisher and Nicolas Petrovic, CEO of Eurostar International and a Chamber Board member, moderated by Peter Alfandary, Chair of the Cross Cultural Relations Forum and Vice President of the French Chamber. The debate was hosted at the Résidence de France by the French Ambassador to the UK, HE Mr Bernard Emié. In a lively exchange, peppered with anecdotes drawn from their own experiences of working in cross-cultural environments, the pair spoke about the different cultural approaches in the business context and debated their pros and cons. Among the subjects touched on were the weighting accorded to relationships, meetings, business 66 - info - may / june

lunches, Corporate and Social Responsibility, attitudes towards the EU, common stereotypes, concepts of hierarchy and control, and the perception of risk and uncertainty. British pragmatism with its reliance on experience and French intellectual rigour with its greater reliance on analysis also featured prominently in the discussions. Commenting on the evening, Peter Alfandary said: ‘Nicolas and Ian’s insights into Franco-British business were truly fascinating. Our discussions once again showed how by combining our respective strengths we can truly end up with “le meileur des deux mondes”.’ I KF


recent event member 2 member

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Making connections and discoveries The ever-popular Member to Member Cocktail and Exhibition drew over 200 people together for an evening of networking and discovery around 21 exhibition booths

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he 15th edition of the Member to Member Cocktail & Exhibition was held at The Pullman London St Pancras where over 200 participants from a wide variety of sectors and activities gathered around 21 exhibitors. This event gives companies the opportunity to promote their products and services in person to other members and key players from the Franco-British business community as well as providing extensive networking opportunities with fellow members. Connections were improved thanks to a dedicated mobile app developed by Powervote, which was given to participants on arrival with information on how to use it. It certainly enhanced the Member to Member experience by giving easy access to all the event information: descriptions of the exhibitors, floor plans, the list of participants and a quiz with questions about every stand. Service Point provided all exhibitors with great banners that enhanced the professional image of the event. Florence Gomez later announced the winners of seven superb prizes kindly donated by members: Artelia, Aubaine, Caudalie, Institut Français, Le Pain Quotidien, Merci Maman and Pullman London St Pancras. The 2014 Member to Member Offers booklet, which contains discounted rates or free services from 106 different member companies, was also distributed to all participants. The Chamber team was delighted with the positive feedback from many members who highlighted how

proactive the networking had been this year as well as the efficiency of communication from the Chamber before the event which increased visibility for members who were exhibiting. Our thanks go to Powervote and Service Point for so generously providing the app and the banners free of charge. I JK

2014 exhibitors (in alphabetical order) » » » » » » » » » » »

Artelia UK Asendia Bourner Bullock CEI / Centre Charles Péguy Citroën Emmaus UK Four Seasons Hotel French Chamber Recruitment Service Handicap International Institut Français Interactifs

» » » » » » » » » »

La Maison Médicale Le Pain Quotidien Lloyds International Private Banking Merci Maman Miller Rosenfalck LLP NewTownVision Pullman London St Pancras Solocal The Médical Chambers Kensington TheWesley

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recent event w o m e n : i n s p i r at i o n

&

leadership

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Women of inspiration and leadership Dame Helen Alexander and Laurence Parisot are women who have risen to the top in maledominated worlds as former Presidents of the CBI and MEDEF, respectively. In a debate moderated by Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors, they both spoke from the heart of their own experiences and different takes on the prevailing issues in achieving gender parity in business. The event was sponsored by Chanel, whose founder Coco was herself a business woman of inspiration

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ender diversity makes good business sense – that is undisputed – but its actual implementation into companies, society and culture is a protracted process. Just like learning a foreign language, Dame Helen observed, ‘Some people don’t understand it at all, some have a passing acquaintance and can kind of get by, some have a deep knowledge of the literature but actually can’t talk about it and others talk a lot about how important it is but they don’t actually get on and do it. We are looking for those organisations who know the issues fluently and do things rather than just talking about it.’

Change comes from the top Companies that are serious about diversity make it a priority, but it has to come from the top. ‘The needle only really starts to shift when the boss asks questions about diversity and it becomes part of the senior team’s conversation on a regular basis,’ Dame Helen noted. It comes down to good talent management and challenging gender bias for job roles. ‘Keep on asking the why question. It’s an easy technique but incredibly powerful when used to challenge why anybody is not appropriate for a job. You get to the real reason quite quickly and it shows up how stupid it is,’ she said. Mentors, expressing ambition and being yourself Of her own experience, Dame Helen said what had worked for her was having a selection of mentors to go to with different problems or questions. She extolled the benefits of networking: ‘you nearly always learn something from any conversation in a professional context,’ she commented. And she urged women to express their ambition. ‘Resilience, taking yourself out of the office noise and giving signals about the ambitions you have are critical,’ she said, giving her own example of when she was in the running to be the CEO of the Economist. ‘I wrote to the Chairman, telling him I wanted the job. He later said to me that it was the 68 - info - may / june

single most important thing that had happened because relying on doing a good job wasn’t quite sufficient. They wanted to know that I wanted the job,’ she said. Above all she emphasised the importance of being yourself. ‘Too many leaders get absolutely exhausted by trying to be something different. Recognise that people make choices about how they fit in – whether that is in dress, style of language or attitude to being present in the office. You don’t have to conform, but you do have to be aware of those choices that you and others are making.’

Taking on misogyny Laurence Parisot shares this perspective. ‘It is important that women in positions of leadership act like women. The worst thing is when women try to play like men and think they have to do that.’ She links it to misogyny, which has pervaded her career, even though she only realised, aged 40, that she had been losing out on contracts for no other reason than that she, the company head, was a woman. As President of MEDEF she experienced it daily. ‘Every week there were newspaper articles saying I had no idea about anything. Saying a woman has no idea is the first sign of misogyny – learn to detect it!’ Laurence confronted it head on. In her candidature speech to the MEDEF executive committee she quoted Montaigne: ‘It is a misfortune to be a woman, and yet the worse misfortune is not to understand what a misfortune it is.’ And then asked whether they wanted MEDEF to become like an English ‘old boys’ club’. ‘I dared to speak about this problem so they had to face it and say no, we are not like that’. A great proponent of female solidarity, Laurence expressed regret that some women in key positions don’t want any other women around them. Dame Helen agreed, quoting Madeleine Albright who said ‘there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.’


recent event w o m e n i n s p i r at i o n l e a d e r s h i p e v e n t

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Quotas, for and against On the question of quotas, the women took opposing views. ‘I sit on the side of no quotas in Great Britain,’ Dame Helen said. ‘Countries that do have quotas have created more non-executive women on boards but it hasn’t had the effect on the executive talent pipeline that one would hope. We do want lots more women in senior positions but we don’t want lots more positions for a few senior women. Making sure women come up through companies is really where the drive should be. Most women in this country don’t want tokenism – they want to be known for getting to the top because of what they do, not because the government has decreed it.’ She conceded that the British may be more comfortable with a kind of underpinning quota that outlawed companies with all-male boards. ‘I am totally in favour of quotas,’ Laurence countered, explaining that she came to this position after her discussions with CEOs of CAC40 companies about introducing non-binding quotas into the governance code were largely met with apathy and excuses. ‘I was so disappointed that when the government proposed making it mandatory I supported the legislation,’ she said. ‘There are no women at the top of CAC40 companies today, but I can give you at least 10 names of French women who would be able to run a CAC40 company.’ However, as a board member of two key CAC40 companies, Michelin and BNP Paribas, she has seen changes: ‘Women have brought liberty, a different kind of freedom of speech, and originality. Quotas are not the goal, they are the means to achieve a certain level of equality.’ Levelling the playing field Both women recognise the challenge of changing ingrained culture, each proposing different ways of tackling it. For Dame Helen, it is about becoming aware of unconscious bias and changing the criteria for assessment. ‘The experience measure is too often used, which can mitigate against women, whereas the focus should be on what skills people have. To be a chairman you don’t have to have been a chairman, but rather have the skills to be a chairman. Train people to recognise their own bias and the dangers of recruiting in their own mould.’ Laurence’s proposal is more radical. ‘It’s my conviction that to make decisive progress not only economically but politically and socially we need more than just education. We need a new system of mandatory paternity leave alongside maternity leave. Employers focus on young men because they assume young women will leave to have children. If you have an equal system of maternity and paternity leave it will level the playing field,’ she asserted, along with her intention of one day promoting this on the political stage in France. In her concluding remarks, Dame Helen returned to her point about women being empowered by choice: ‘Being aware of issues is critical but you have to make a conscious choice,’ she said, relating one occasion when some experienced female board directors were giving their newer counterpars some tips. ‘One gave the classic advice to start with your opinion rather than an apology: “Don’t ever say ‘I’m sorry but …’ in a board meeting”. The younger ones retorted, “Why shouldn’t we say that if we want to?” It’s recognising that that is a choice.’ I KF info - may / june - 69


recent event b u s i n e s s c l u b c o c k ta i l

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A short guide to a successful home purchase: UK vs France Property purchase and investment was the theme of the three presentations at the HSBCsponsored cocktail held at a property of note

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SBC hosted a Business Club Cocktail at the splendid premises of the Private Bank, the former Conservative Club in St James’ Street. Guests mingled and networked over Champagne in the beautiful reception hall with its glazed dome and mosaic pavement, before being ushered into the adjacent saloon for presentations on the state of the French and British property markets, and the specifics of buying property in the UK, compared to France. Martijn Van der Heijden, HSBC Global Head of Mortgages, gave an overview of the global market, observing that the financial crisis had had less impact on the property markets of world cities, and some, including London and Paris had even seen growth. He commented that they were surprisingly similar markets with the same growth in house prices, affordability that was a bit over the long-term average and a strong presence of international buyers. In London 49% of properties cost over £1 million and 7% of sales are to French nationals. Peter Dockar, HSBC Head of Mortgages UK, then gave some insights into the UK market, noting that the number of lending transactions had increased to over 1 million in 2013, bolstered by the Funding for Lending scheme and renewed confidence, although it was still well down from the 2007 peak of 1.6 million. With regard to house prices, he said there were questions over how far they had recovered, supply and the impact of the mortgage market review, commenting that the economy was more exposed to housing corrections when affordability was stretched. The UK is, in effect, a three-speed market, as while London and the Southeast have seen a material increase in prices, the England average is barely up and Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are still flat. Alexandre Terrasse, a Partner at Jeffrey Green Russell and an Advisory Councillor at the Chamber, then offered a short guide to the complexities of UK property purchase from how to structure it and preparatory stages through to the exchange of contracts and completion, making comparisons with the French system when appropriate. The team 70 - info - may / june

answered numerous questions from the gathering of around 70 participants, after which cocktails and networking resumed. A graphic comparison of what the French and UK property markets offer would-be buyers has been provided by Boulle International opposite. I KF


Investing in bricks and mortar: France or UK? Investing in French real estate at today’s attractive prices is an option. In contrast, investing in London’s undeniably reliable brick and mortar empowers financially and enables lifestyle plans. Boulle International, in collaboration with professional partners in the UK and France, has provided some facts and figures

A buyer’s market in France The current property market in France is fragile because of lack of confidence from purchasers and new restrictive regulations. Transaction volume is low. Vendors are accepting lower offers, making it a buyers’ market, particularly for investors looking for good deals.

© Journal Du Net

• Chiswick/Bedford Park: 490sqm/7-bed house acquired in 1996 for £257,000 and sold in 2013 for £4,093,000 – 1,593% increase. • South Kensington/Queens Gate Place Mews: 155sqm/4-bed mews acquired in 1992 for £295,000 and sold in 2014 for £2.5 million – 747% increase.

France and UK house prices

The graph shows the evolution of property prices in France and in the UK was quite similar for a long period of time, but this is no longer the case. On the decrease since mid-2010, UK property prices are now rising again (+7.7 between Q2 2011 and Q4 2013). UK property prices are currently almost twice French property prices and growth is higher in the UK.

Supply and demand fuelling prices in London Restricted supply has been key in supporting values in prime central London for some time. Supply levels increase for properties valued £2-5 million and over £10 million. 32% of all sales in Q1 have been flats priced £1-2 million. Competition remains fierce as demand still exceeds supply. Demand also outstrips available supply for properties valued below £2 million.

Property purchasing: cross-cultural comparisons UK

France

Property ownership culture (approx. 75%). Property is seen as an asset not just a home

Secure long term home rental is customary. A home purchase is a once-ina-lifetime event

Moving home to adapt to life’s changing needs is common

Moving home is an exceptional and stressful event

Number of bedrooms is a priority over size

Size is more important than the number of bedrooms

Independent financial adviser is relied upon

Personal bank often provides the finance

Choice of approximately 3,000 home financing products (changes weekly)

Minimal choice of home financing products

Transactions traditionally go through estate agencies

Private sales prevalent

Data for all sale prices is public and available online (Land Registry)

No public data on sale prices available

Two conveyancing solicitors (purchaser and vendor). They must exercise due diligence, and beware of conflict of interests

Choice of one or two notaries

Independent home survey usually carried out for the purchaser Compulsory Energy Performance and Gas Safety certificates. Searches organised by purchaser’s solicitor: local authority / environment / drainage

No bank or independent survey is required but certification is needed for energy performance, termites, asbestos and lead

Exchange of contracts (approx. 6 to 8 weeks after offer accepted and all relevant local searches and property surveys done) formalises the purchase

‘Compromis de vente’ exchange of contracts immediate

10% of the purchase price is deposited with the vendor’s solicitor at exchange

10% deposit when offer accepted

Either vendor or purchaser can decide not to proceed until the exchange

No risk of being ‘gazumped’ or sale falling through subject to conditional clauses being met

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Disclaimer: This information is given in good faith but without liability on the part of Boulle Ltd or its employees.

Price change percentages: Paris vs London A 260sqm, 3-bed apartment in Paris, Rue Vaneau, acquired in 1995 for €1.4 million and was sold in 2010 for €4.6 million, achieving an increase of 229%. Over a similar period, an average 878% increase has been achieved in London. Selected properties in the French community’s preferred areas provide examples:


recent event l u x u ry d i n n e r

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Dining on luxury Held at Claridge’s and sponsored by Société Générale Private Banking Hambros, the inaugural Luxury Dinner was an exquisite combination of fine wine, food and an entertaining speech from guest speaker Nicholas Coleridge CBE

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he Chamber’s first ever Luxury Dinner was an evening of sophistication and elegance, attended by a large swathe of the most prominent luxury houses – among them Chanel, Hermès, LVMH Watch & Jewellery, Longchamp, Guerlain, Panerai, Piaget and of course Cartier! Indeed, the dinner had been the brainchild of Cartier Executive Chairman and President of the Chamber, Arnaud Bamberger, who was pleased that it had finally come to fruition, setting a magnificent precedent for future such dinners. Claridge’s was the perfect setting, imbued as it was with an ambiance of understated glamour. After a Laurent-Perrier Champagne reception, guests sat down to dinner, accompanied by Crus Classés de Graves wines, and an address by Nicholas Coleridge CBE, President, Condé Nast International and Managing Director, Condé Nast Britain. To much appreciative 72 - info - may / june

applause, Nicholas began in French, lamenting that he could not speak for longer because his spoken

President, speaker and sponsors, from L to R: Charlie Hambro, Christophe Billard, Arnaud Bamberger, Nicholas Coleridge CBE and Eric Verleyen


recent event l u x u ry d i n n e r

French was ‘déplorable’, despite years of learning. ‘We spent year after year studying the use of the aigü and grave accents, and the correct use of the cédille and the circonflexe. We slaved over grammar and writing but never the speaking of French, probably because it was assumed we would only communicate with French people in later life by letter, never in person!’ After reading theology at Cambridge (with Justin Welby), his own career took a different route in the magazine and newspaper industry, beginning at Tatler – the oldest magazine in the world launched in 1707 in a London coffee shop, which was only finally made profitable by Condé Nast in 1989. ‘I never realised when I first started working in the magazine industry how important the world of luxury goods was going to be in my life, and particularly French luxury goods,’ he said. Nicholas worked at various publications including the London Evening Standard, The Telegraph and Harper’s Bazaar before joining the still privately owned Condé Nast 25 years ago. In that time, it has expanded from 40 titles to 139, a reflection of the era of globalisation. Describing life in his magazine company, he noted that of the 730 full time employees in London, 640 are ‘scarily ambitious’ women. The few men that still work there are ‘hanging on by their fingernails at the very top or at the bottom in the mailroom’. He explained: ‘We are organised very much like a diversified luxury goods conglomerate. Each of our magazine brands has a distinct personality of its own, each targeted at a different niche, but all have a strong tone of voice, a clear DNA, identifiable readers and an editor who “gets it” and knows what pleases their audience.’ Touching on his French connections he said: ‘France has never been far from my thinking, since at least two-thirds of the great luxury brands of the world are headquartered in Paris, and we work with them all. And now, of course, London has become the fourth city of France. My London house is in the arrondissement of South Kensington and I can see the effect everywhere – new French restaurants and brasseries, delicatessens, patisseries and wine shops, more Hermès ties on the street, more boulevards as we increasingly call them in my part. And very beneficial it is too, a civilising influence keeping us all on our toes. I hope you will all stay in London a very long time, perhaps forever. And like your President Arnaud, you can all become honorary Englishmen!’ During the evening, two professional singers from the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House, gave beautiful performances from Turandot (Nessun Dorma), Carmen (Seguidille) and Béatrice et Bénédict. Studio Harcourt provided a

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15 a p r i l 2 014

Bertrand Michaud, MD of Hermès, with Fiona Rushton (Hermès) and Romain Vilbert of Deloitte

Operatic arias from Jette Parker Young Artists of the Royal Opera House

L to R: Natalie Seiler-Hayez, GM of the Connaught, Fiona Rushton of Hermès and Thomas Koch, GM of Claridge’s

lucky draw prize of a ‘Portrait Prestige’, while each guest received a bottle of Hermès perfume. Special thanks go to our sponsor Société Générale Private Banking Hambros, represented by Charlie Hambro, Christophe Billard and Eric Verleyen; Thomas Koch, General Manager of Claridge’s; Hermès for its ongoing support of the Chamber, in particular Managing Director Bertrand Michaud, Chair of our Luxury Club; Laurent-Perrier for the Champagne and Crus Classés de Graves for the wines. I KF info - may / june - 73


recent event dîner des chefs

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24 m a r c h

Perfect pairings Chef Xavier Boyer hosted another dîner des chefs at L’Atelier de Joël Rebouchon, wowing diners with his sublime combinations ingeniously paired with cocktails conceptualised in collaboration with pernod ricard UK

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ernod Ricard UK was delighted to partner with the French Chamber once again for a very special Dîner des Chefs. On this occasion the team at l’Atelier made the bold decision to push boundaries and omit still wine for alternative spirit-based cocktails that were paired with each course. By collaborating with Pernod Ricard UK, the L’Atelier team had a wide breadth of products to choose from across the company’s portfolio. After a refreshing aperitif of Pernod Absinthe and grapefruit soda, a creative ABSOLUT Elyx vodka shot was served chilled over a fresh herb-infused iceberg and paired with caviar imperial and salmon tartar. The fresh herbs opened up their aroma as the iceberg melted, thus adding flavour to the silky feel of ABSOLUT Elyx. A Havana Club 15-year-old cocktail with port, fresh cherry and lemon juice complimented the rich flavours of the pan-seared duck fois gras. The cocktails concluded with a palate-cleansing Plymouth Gin lemon foam sorbet cocktail, wonderfully counterbalancing

Spirited combinations

the sugar sphere with Menton confit lemon. No Dîner des Chefs would be complete without a glass of bubbles and G.H.Mumm Blanc des Blancs excellently provided the richness of Champagne paired alongside the scallops in monbazillac sauce. I Tom Quinn, Business Development Executive, Pernod Ricard UK

A word with L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon’s new Chef: Xavier Boyer You have worked with Mr Robuchon for 12 years. How has this shaped your evolution as a Chef? I have gained a lot of knowledge in this time and I hope there are still many more to come and more know-how to obtain. Standing in the kitchen, cooking, creating new recipes is a passion of mine. Having been in Paris, New York and Taipei, how do you feel about the challenge of coming to London, which Joël Robuchon calls the gastronomic capital of Europe? After having opened L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon London together with the team back in 2006, it was a good experience for me to travel to theWest as well as the East to different‘Ateliers’ with different customers cultures and tastes. Now having widened my horizons, hopefully I will succeed in a city as cosmopolitan as London. Your team is young and talented – how important are they to you as Chef de Cuisine, and to the restaurant? When you spend as much time in the kitchen as chefs do, the team grows together like a family. Thus, it is very important that you respect your team and they will respect you in return. Appreciation and recognition are the key factors as without my team the restaurant would not be able to run.

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Chef Xavier Boyer at work

How do you define your style of cuisine and what dish best expresses this? For me it is very important to always show respect for the product and its heritage. I would say that the Scottish lobster ravioli in a delicate ginger broth, which on our Tasting menu, would describe my style of cuisine best. Not because the lobster is Scottish but for the very combination of Western and Eastern cuisine in one dish. I interview by KF and KM


forums

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recent hr forum

clubs

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5 m a rc h

Learning is the job A roundtable discussion on learning and training methods was kicked off by Simon Parker, Learning & Development Manager, Danone UK & Danone Waters UK & Ireland, who gave some insight into the company’s new approach to learning

‘O

ur objective is to create a learning organisation that is able to self-generate talent and growth, Simon explained, ‘One of the main reasons is to help everyone to be more dynamic and able to change at a faster pace.’ From a learning and development perspective that means asking people to change the way they do things and encourage a different mindset towards learning, so that it is integrated into what they do every day rather than going on a training course. ‘Learning is the job, it’s not what you add to the job.’ This is a marked change from a historical approach to learning, which at Danone entailed managing a catalogue of training courses from which employees selected what they thought sounded interesting. Now learning is needs-based. Employees have to come up with measurable objectives, something they need to do differently which requires a mix of functional skill and behavioural skills as well as a clear business impact. Charles Jenning’s concept of 70-20-10 is also deployed, the premise of which is that 70% of valuable learning should come through experiencing something (i.e. on the job), 20% through networking and exchange and 10% through exploring (i.e. formal training). ‘People have a better idea of what they are trying to achieve and are coming up with their own ideas of how they can start to develop this,’

Simon said, and as a result HR functions as more of a consultant within the learning and development context, helping people find the best solution to meet their objectives. Getting people to recognise different types of learning is another step. At Danone, this was initiated by getting everyone to record their own learning on spreadsheets, whether on the job, being coached by a line manager or networking with peers. A year into the programme, Danone is seeing far fewer requests for formal training courses and far more bespoke solutions and coaching approaches. A learning management system has also been launched to help people self-manage their own development plans and provide information. As well as focusing on the individual, the Learning & Development team works with management to integrate the programme with business strategy, and internally run courses are also being reshaped to fit with the 70-20-10 concept. Behaviour and mindsets are shifting, but a key challenge is to equip people managers as developers and role models to make the journey successful. Simon’s opening remarks triggered discussion on the role of line managers versus HR in the learning context and questions about how to change mindset, break habits and measure engagement – all potential topics for future forums! I KF

recent finance forum

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7 m a rc h

Digital business shares: a pricing puzzle Within the broader framework of financing a sustainable digital economy, Patrick Gougeon, UK Director of ESCP Europe and Co-chair of the Finance Forum, scrutinises the value of digital stocks

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ecent M&A deals have once again raised the issue of the fair value of high-tech companies, particularly digital businesses. How can prices, such as the $19 billion spent on Whatsapp, a company with near zero sales, be justified? Some would argue the

question is irrelevant; the company is worth the price that someone is prepared to pay for it. Yet, from an academic point of view, with a duty to explain the origin of value and how prices are determined, it is a challenge. info - may / june - 75


forums

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clubs

recent finance forum

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7 m a rc h

Yes, but it does not prove absolute prices are justified, and that is exactly how bubbles grow… and then burst.

Figure 1 For a start, one needs to consider the general market trend. As of today, the average price-earning ratio for the S&P 500 index – an indication of the relative price of US shares – is about 26. Compared with its historical average around 15, it seems somewhat excessive. The reasons put forward to explain excessive pricing are well known: a huge amount of capital concentrated in the hands of a group of large global investors desperately looking for return in a context of low interest rates. For a few years we have seen a particular interest in the digital business industry.

Digital business companies outperform Compared to the NASDAQ composite – an index reflecting the evolution of a large basket of high-tech companies – over the last 12 months the digital business industry clearly outperforms. Figure 1 provides an illustration of that phenomenon with Apple (+30.3%), Microsoft (+38,8%) and Google (+38.9%), landmarks in the industry, and new comers like Facebook (+ 121.3%). Anyone familiar with commonly used market benchmarks to compare companies would realise that digital business companies are well above average. This raises the issue of their valuation and of the relevancy of traditional evaluation methods. Indeed, some try to convince investors they are being offered the right price by considering comparable transactions: ‘When you look at it on a valuation perspective, the price they’re paying is only about $42 per [WhatsApp] user. To put that in perspective, Twitter goes for about $150, Facebook itself is about $140, LinkedIn $120,’ said Robert Peck, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey Internet analyst. ‘It’s not a bad deal.’

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Real option theory to close the evaluation gap The real option theory is often put forward as an interesting substitute for the traditional Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) method; it became popular in the late nineties when dot.com share prices were skyrocketing. Valuation based on discounted future expected cash flows does not account for managerial or strategic flexibility. When assessing an opportunity, one should take into account the possibility of taking advantage of future opportunities that would not arise unless the first investment is made. In other words, buying a stake in a company is like buying an option to have the right to be part of the game later. When it comes to buying a stake in a company like WhatsApp, $19 billion can be seen as the price to pay for multiple unknown options to be exploited in the future. David Lee of SV Angel, an early-stage investor explains: ‘In the last cycle, there were barely 500 million people online, and they were all on 56k modems... By 2015, there will be five billion people with a supercomputer in their hands.’ Facebook now owns a significant market share of ‘time spent on mobile devices’. Time to do what? It is not quite clear, although it represents certainly an opportunity to offer a lot of new services, hence the concept of unknown options. As seductive as real option theory may be, one has to be prudent when using it. Valuing unknown future business opportunities remains highly subjective and the risk is to succumb to over-optimism or to adopt a far too simplistic view of the future. In particular, assuming ‘users’ or ‘time spent on mobile devices’ constitute a solid everlasting asset seems somewhat optimistic in a context of rapid technological and socio-economic change. Let’s remember, experts who dared express their scepticism about the share price of Blackberry were criticised for their lack of vision. Ultimately, they happened to be right: from less than $1 at the end of 2002 the share price of Blackberry peaked at $140 in May 2008.... only to come down to about $6 today! I


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sme & entrepreneurs club

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10 m a r c h

How to define and implement a successful marketing strategy for your business Laurent François, Executive Creative Strategist and co-founder of RE-UP Agency, and Anthony Barry, Director of Shared Experience gave presentations on digital strategies for SMEs

E

mbracing social media might be scary at first: suddenly, consumers, random people, may start talking about your rising business. A lot of entrepreneurs say that they don’t want to start documenting their own lives, or they don’t know where to start, or they don’t have time. First things first: if someone has time to talk about you or about a related interest, it’s worth listening to what they have to say. The other argument is that entrepreneurship is not about marketing, it’s about passion. When you start talking about your project with sparkling eyes, you definitely create emphatic ties with your growing audience. After all, Coca Cola wants to sell happiness, why not you?

Here’s some food for thought as you begin your foray into social media 1. Have fun: social media is all about people interacting with other people; it’s a playground, and if you’re authentic in the way you reach out to them, it will all go well 2. Be yourself: there’s no magic trick to being online, no ‘one best way’. Even if you’re a cynical person, a distant one, it can attract a lot of people. Think about Piers Morgan: his tone of voice is unique, and he’s very successful in his niche market online. Try to draw personality traits around you: you’re a communication object at the end 3. Listen. Listen. And listen again: we leave a lot of digital footprints in our favourite social media. Spend time Googling yourself, setting up Twitter searches on related interests. It’s all free material that can save a lot of time and which often tells you a lot more than traditional marketing surveys 4. Make it tangible: social media should drive real action. Try to meet in real life people who seem interesting online. I Laurent François

Creating a marketing strategy? 8 tips to ensure it delivers a good ROI 1. You already have a Marketing Strategy. Call it intuition, instinct. You know who your customers are and what works for them – and what works for you 2. ‘Marketing is too important to be left to the Marketing department.’ – David Packard, HP 3. Start with your business goals. Focus on those and cut your marketing cloth to fit your budget 4. Be clear about what business you’re in and ask yourself what it is about your business that people need. Are you selling coal or heat? 5. Test, test, test Don’t blow your budget all at once. Find out what works and what doesn’t – do more of the first, no more of the second 6. Build a strategy carefully – there are few shortcuts. Define what you’re going to do, how you’ll do it, who you want to reach and influence, what you want to do as a result and who is going to do it 7. Don’t rely on (or blame) the marketing people. The buck stops with you. Stay close and involved with your marketing. Keep your finger on the marketing pulse and ensure you keep close to your business and understand how it’s growing – and why 8. Stick at it. Don’t change direction every 5 minutes. And you have to be true to the business 9. Always leave room for new things, innovation and fresh ideas. New markets, new product ideas. But be driven by customers. I Anthony Barry

info - may / june - 77


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sme & entrepreneurs club

Sophie Mirman: new co-chair INFO introduces Sophie Mirman who takes over from Frederic Larquetoux learn from each other’s experiences. I am constantly learning from other people experiences and relish the opportunity to interact with other members.

You went from being a guest speaker at your first Club session to becoming co-chair at your second. How did this happen and what inspired you to take up the role?

Quite simply, I was asked! I hope, however, that I was chosen because my story and my experience inspired the group I spoke to and I am delighted to take up a role within the French Chamber of Commerce.

How do you hope to see the SME & Entrepreneurs Club evolving?

Sophie Mirman

You are a seasoned entrepreneur yourself (Sophie’s story was told in INFO September/October 2013), but you commented at your first session as co-chair that you had learnt a lot. Could you elaborate on this?

My experiences in business might be helpful to members of the SME group. Networking is such an important part of business and I think it is great that the Chamber of Commerce enables their members to do just that. It allows like minded business people to compare notes and

I hope the number of members of the SME club will expand and encompass many areas of business and industry.

What is the best advice you have been given or wish you had been given as an entrepreneur?

There are many pieces of advice that have stood me in good stead over the years. One is the importance that respect plays in getting people to perform. As an entrepreneur, one also has to have the resilience to bounce back, occasionally take failure on the chin, brush oneself down and start again. I KF

f o rt h co m i n g f o ru m s & c lu b s

Cross-Cultural Relations Forum

Chaired by Peter Alfandary, Head of French Team, Reed Smith LLP, Vice President of the French Chamber When: 3 June, 8.45-10.15am Theme: Working session By application only

Legal Forum

Chaired by Olivier Morel, Partner & Head of International Corporate Investment, Cripps Harries Hall LLP When: 5 June, 9.00-10.30am Theme: Trade secret harmony in the EU – a recipe for cross-border collaboration? Speaker: Serena Tierney, Bircham Dyson Bell By application only

SME & Entrepreneurs Club

Co-chaired by Sébastien Delecour, Managing Director, Doublet UK Ltd and Sophie Mirman, owner and founder of Trotters Childrenswear & Accessories When: 10 June, 8.30-10.00am Theme: The essential HR do’s and don’ts for SMEs and Entrepreneurs Open to all SMEs and entrepreneurs 78 - info - may / june

Climate Change Forum Summer visit When: 17 June Where: PwC, 7 More London By application only

Finance Forum

Co-chaired by Patrick Gougeon, UK Director ESCP Europe and John Peachey, Managing Director, CFO, Global Markets, HSBC Bank Plc When: 19 June, 8.00-9.30am Theme: Challenges and opportunities in Latam – focus on Brazil and Mexico

HR Forum

Chaired by Rose Gledhill, HR Director - Northern Europe International SOS When: 25 June, 8.30-10.00am Theme: How to manage flexibility Open to HR directors and managers Most forum and club sessions take place at the Chamber. For more information, please contact Frédérique Compain at fcompain@ccfgb.co.uk or 0207 092 6638


f o rt h co m i n g e v e n t s

28 May

19.00 - 23.00

Annual Gala Dinner Guest speaker: Lionel Barber, Editor of the Financial Times At: The Landmark London Hotel Gold sponsor: EY, HSBC Silver sponsors: Accor, Colas Rail, EDF Energy, Safran Charity partner: Handicap International Champagne and wine partners: Perrier Jouët, Le Conseil des vins de Saint-Emilion, Les vins de Graves, Les vins de Pessac Leognan Cost: £186+VAT per person; £1,700+VAT for a table of 10; £2,000+VAT for a table of 12 Dress code: Black tie Guest speaker Lionel Barber is the editor of the Financial Times, appointed in November 2005. Prior to that he was the newspaper’s US managing editor, based in New York, responsible for the US edition and all US news on FT.com. He joined the FT in 1985, working as news editor from 1998 until 2000 and editor of the continental European edition between 2000 and 2002. He has also been the Brussels bureau chief. contact: Kim Darragon on kdarragon@ccfgb.co.uk or 0207 092 6643 The charity we are supporting this year is

Main sponsors

Supporting sponsors

LOGO Nº dossier : 20110049E

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Date : 31/05/11 Validation DA/DC : Validation Client

5 Jun

18.30 - 21.00

13 Jun

Annual General Meeting Where: Reed Smith Offices, The Broadgate Tower, 20 Primrose Street, EC2A 2RS London All members are welcome - free of charge Dress code: Business attire An opportunity to learn about the Chamber’s accomplishments in 2013 and discover this year’s new projects and challenges: an instructive evening followed by a cocktail reception. Please confirm your attendance with Carla Coutinho at ccoutinho@ccfgb.co.uk / 0207 092 6603

ceo breakfast Guest speaker: Jean-Jacques Lebel, Chairman of L’Oréal UK & Ireland Where: Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane, Hamilton Place, Park Lane, W1J 7DR London Cost: £40+VAT per person; £60+VAT for two Dress code: Business attire

08.00 - 10.00

Sponsored by

Jean-Jacques Lebel is the Chairman of L’Oréal UK & Ireland, a role he has held since September 2013. He joined the company in 1981 as General Manager of the Consumer Division in the UK, and has worked in roles as diverse as Managing Director of L’Oréal UK, Managing Director of the Latin America Zone, and President of L’Oréal Professional Products Division. From 2008 until 2013, he was President of L’Oréal Consumer Products Division Worldwide. Contact Sonia Olsen at solsen@ccfgb.co.uk or 0207 092 6642 info - may / june - 79


f o rt h co m i n g e v e n t s

17 Jun

18.30 - 20.30

Rendez-vous chez... La Maison Maille Where: La Maison Maille, 2 Piccadilly Arcade, London SW1Y 6NH Cost: £20+VAT per person Dress code: Business casual Experience an explosion of flavours in this tasty two-hour networking session and meet up to 50 new business contacts from a wide range of industry sectors. This is La Maison Maille’s first store outside of France, offering all food-lovers a new destination to experience a wide range of premium French mustards and more than 40 flavoured products. The truffle mustard is an absolute must! Contact Sonia Olsen at solsen@ccfgb.co.uk or 0207 092 6642

25 Jun

12.00 - 14.30

Annual Legal Lunch Guest speaker: Alderman Fiona Woolf CBE, Lord Mayor of London Where: The Connaught, Carlos Place, London W1K 2AL Wine partner: Crus Classés de Graves Cost: £100+VAT per person, £950+VAT for a table of 10, £1,100+VAT for a table of 12 Dress code: Business attire Alderman Fiona Woolf took office as the 686th Lord Mayor of the City of London on 8 November 2013. She is a solicitor, having studied Law at the Universities of Keele and Strasbourg. In the course of her career, she worked in the corporate and banking fields at Clifford Chance for five years, before moving to CMS Cameron McKenna, where she ran its banking and project finance practice in Bahrain for three years and negotiated the Treaty and the Concession Agreement for the Channel Tunnel on her return. Contact Sonia Olsen at solsen@ccfgb.co.uk or 0207 092 6642

pat r o n e v e n t

10 Jun

19.00 - 22.30

‘Romeo and Juliet’ Dress Rehearsal – Royal Albert Hall Where: The Royal Albert Hall Open only to Patron member main representatives and their spouses Dress code: Business attire Contact Cécilia Gonzalez at cgonzalez@ccfgb.co.uk or 0207 092 6643

pat r o n & c o r p o r at e e v e n t

19 Jun

18.00 - 20.00

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Tour and Tasting at Beefeater Gin Distillery Where: Beefeater Gin Distillery, 20 Montford Place, London SE11 5DE Open to Patron & Corporate members Dress code: Business casual Contact Cécilia Gonzalez at cgonzalez@ccfgb.co.uk or 0207 092 6643


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French Chamber INFO Magazine on Hospitality & Restaurants  

INFO, the French Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain's bi-monthly magazine, is the only Franco-British business publication in the UK. INFO...

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