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A N G L O - F R E N C H






Top entrepreneur and investor Bernard Liautaud on how to build a unicorn; the CBI’s Carolyn Fairbairn on making a success of Brexit; Five minutes with Sanofi’s Hugo Fry; and much more...


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CONSTRUCTING A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE At VINCI Construction Grands Projets, we engineer digital solutions that help us and our Clients in the conception and construction of our major projects. On SEA Tours-Bordeaux high speed rail line (302 km and 38 km of connecting track), we developed a bespoke information system allowing sharing of processes and data between all partners (80 design offices, 5 sub-consortiums, 3,500 employees) that offers the most reliable performance. We introduced an Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) and a Geographical Information System (GIS) whose 3D interface fostered collaboration with clients and stakeholders. This real Asset Information Management (AIM) is being transferred to the dedicated company for the maintenance of the project over 45 years.

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Estelle Brachlianoff President, French Chamber of Great Britain Senior Executive Vice President of Veolia UK & Ireland


y the time this issue of INFO has landed on your desk, the British government will have – or will be very close to – triggering Article 50, the process that will lead to the UK’s departure from the European Union in two years’ time.

Brexit presents challenges for companies in the UK, but meeting them depends on people and attitude.

As Carolyn Fairbairn, Director-General of the CBI, highlighted at a recent French Chamber event, it is essential that the UK does not shut the door to its European neighbours: the UK’s strong relationship with Europe must be maintained. I would encourage you to read our report on her speech – and, indeed, all of our Brexit coverage – in our expanded, dedicated Brexit section, which starts on page 10. Additionally, in advance of the launch of our Brexit Forum this spring, we have also interviewed its two Co-Chairs (p71). Ensuring that the economy continues to thrive will be a key priority for the government during the Brexit negotiations. With this in mind, this issue of INFO looks at entrepreneurship and the role that innovative corporate companies play in the wider UK economy. Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of Europe – start-ups, scale-ups, scalers, unicorns are essential to keeping our economies moving forward through job creation, innovation and wealth creation. In particular, scale-up businesses have played – and continue to play – a vital role in boosting the economy. Indeed, as a report by the CBI recently confirmed, between 2010 and 2013, the country’s 3,000 medium-sized scale-up businesses contributed £59bn to the UK economy – this was a crucial difference between recession and recovery. This is why focusing on building more scale-ups and supporting entrepreneurship is a priority. Even just a 1 per cent increase in the number of high-growth businesses would create 230,000 new jobs and add £38bn or 2 per cent to UK GDP, research by London Stock Exchange Group shows. Our Focus shows how this can be achieved and identifies the ingredients needed to create these superheroes of the modern economy. Packed with practical tips, interviews, case studies and high-level analysis, I hope that you will be inspired by this issue of INFO to take your business to the next level. I


- march / april 2017 - 5



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Superheroes of the economy














27 Introduction by Jason Hesse 28 Infographic: UK entrepreneurship in numbers 30 Interview Bernard Liautaud, Managing Partner, Balderton Capital and Founder of Business Objects 32 Surround yourself with the best Devialet 34 The entrepreneur's fiscal checklist Irwin Mitchell 35 Your first employee Merci Maman 36 Power to the people Olystix 38 Interview Arnaud Vaissié, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO, International SOS 40 Challenging VCs C4 Ventures 42 A global family empire PAUL International 44 Money, money, money London Stock Exchange Group 45 The CEO's role in scaling Microsoft Accelerator London 46 David and Goliath Early Metrics 48 Intrapreneurs: Three steps to success Schneider Electric 49 Breaking down corporate culture KPMG Enterprise

51 Building an entrepreneur-driven economy Cercle d'outre-Manche 53 What next? Recommended books, podcasts and must- watch videos on entrepreneurship CULTUR E AND LIFE S T YLE

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What's on Book reviews Eat, Drink, Stay Profile Jeremy Page, Executive Chef, L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon Cheese & Wine Weekend in... Bath


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Introduction by Florence Gomez Chamber news Discover your Chamber New members


Five minutes with... Hugo Fry, General Manager UK, Sanofi Brexit: Analysis and look ahead French Tech London; CBI's Carolyn Fairbairn; Peter Alfandary; The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP News and analysis Start-up story: Eptica Start-up and SME news Charity news Education news Reports and research


A N G L O - F R E N C H



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Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director General, on making a success of Brexit - Balderton Capital’s Bernard Liautaud explains how to build a unicorn - Five minutes with Hugo Fry, General Manager UK, Sanofi

Editor: Jason Hesse Graphic Designer: Katherine Millet Editorial Assistant: Noorie Haroon Sales Manager: Suzanne Lycett Contributors: Peter Alfandary, Victor d'Allancé, Liz Anderton, Antoine Baschiera, Philippe Chalon, Eric Charriaux, Warwick Hill, Olivier Huez, Thibault Lavergne, George Merrylees, Jeanne Monchovet, Arnaud de Montille, Tanuja Randery


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Forthcoming Forums & Clubs Brexit Forum Meet the Chairs Start-up & SME Club Four mistakes to avoid Digital Transformation & Innovation The millennial conundrum HR Forum Pay gap: Time to report Finance Forum Investor relations 2.0

Advertise in INFO: Please call our sales team on +44 (0)207 092 6651. Alternatively, please email: INFO is published every two months Printed by: CPI Colour Distribution: French Chamber members, Franco-British decision makers, Business Class lounges of Eurostar, Eurotunnel and Air France in London, Paris and Manchester


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Past event highlights Rendez-vous chez PAUL; Cocktail party at Home House; Rendez-vous chez The Hippodrome Casino Ambassador's Brief: Brexit Seminar: Will French law reign supreme? Forthcoming events

INFO is published by: French Chamber of Great Britain Lincoln House, 300 High Holborn London WC1V 7JH Tel: (020) 7092 6600 Fax: (020) 7092 6601 Managing Director: Florence Gomez


- march / april 2017 - 7

Five minutes with...


General Manager UK, Sanofi

What is your background?

between Merck and Sanofi, but the joint venture recently

I joined the pharmaceutical industry after my studies, where I

disbanded, with each company integrating their respective

qualified as a chemist. I went straight into the commercial side,

European vaccines business into their operations. So we are

as I realised that this would be a great opportunity to use my

now targeting a whole new area and helping the vaccines

scientific background in a different way.

business benefit from Sanofi’s network, access and resources.

Twenty-three years later, I am still here and have no

There are also a number of soon-to-launch products that

regrets. I have been lucky to bounce around the world quite a

we are excited about – I will share two with you. The first is a

lot throughout my career, working in the US, Russia, Japan and

new, broader-spectrum flu vaccine that we will launch at the

all over Europe. Prior to becoming the GM of the UK, and GM

beginning of the next flu season. The second, which is still a

of Sanofi Pasteur UK and Ireland, earlier this year, I was Vice

couple of years away but is very exciting, is a new therapy for

President and Chief Marketing Officer for Sanofi Pasteur MSD,

atopic dermatitis, a form of acute eczema that currently has

based in Lyon and Paris.

very few effective treatment options. Both have the potential

That is the great thing about the pharmaceutical industry –

to have a big impact on health and wellbeing.

it is truly global. Everyone needs wellness, and this industry is part of the system. What is your role at Sanofi? It is a truly general management role, in the sense that Sanofi has several business units that span different therapeutic areas of healthcare: these are diabetes, oncology, cardiovascular, vaccines, generics and consumer healthcare.

The most fundamental thing for us is the importance of retaining a stable regulatory environment once the UK leaves the European Union

As a healthcare company, we also have functions that are unique to the industry, such as our Pharmacovigilance

Do ‘blockbuster’ medicines play an important role in the

Department or the Regulatory Department, which are a key part

company’s development?

of the business and which I am responsible for overseeing.

Sanofi has a number of blockbusters, but they sit within a truly

My role is to make sure that the governance is strong

diverse portfolio. So while, for example, we have the world’s

throughout all of these businesses, as well as be the face of the

biggest-selling insulin product, we also invest in rare diseases,

company, for example when we talk to government authorities.

through our Sanofi Genzyme speciality care business unit.

What are your strategic priorities for the next 12 months?

– we put people’s wellness as the centre of what we do and

Sometimes, if you are not careful, the interaction between

work across the whole spectrum. We look after people from

healthcare and pharma can be seen as purely transactional,

birth through to their old age.

It isn’t just about finding and developing the blockbusters

and it really shouldn’t be; it’s a partnership. My personal challenge this year is to build stronger relationships with the

What effect has Brexit had on the industry?

NHS and UK government.

Like everyone else, I do not have a crystal ball that shows me

Another key event this year is our integration of the Sanofi

how Brexit will turn out, but the most fundamental thing for us

Pasteur vaccines business. This was a standalone joint venture

is the importance of retaining a stable regulatory environment

8 - info - march / april 2017


Great institutions remain great institutions – medical research in Oxford or Cambridge is not going to fall by the wayside overnight because of Brexit, as good science always attracts good science funding. The UK will remain at the forefront of that innovation

once the UK leaves the European Union.

government, so my message to Theresa May would therefore

At the heart of this is the European Medicine Agency [a European Union agency, located in London, that is responsible

be to think hard about how to foster the entire ecosystem – not just one part of it.

for the scientific evaluation, supervision and safety for the evaluation of medicines], in which the UK currently plays a big

Sanofi has been a member of the French Chamber for 25

role. As a country, the UK accounts for around one-third of

years. What is the benefit?

the EMA’s work, getting new drugs approved. So for the sake

Being a member of the French Chamber is a great opportunity

of patients across Europe, I hope we can reach a conclusion

for businesses to access a wonderful network of companies

where innovation will not be slowed down. Patients must have

that all have something in common. To be plugged into that

access to innovative medicines just as quickly as before.

network is really important to us, as it also gives us access to

We have a strong position on this: we would like ties with the EMA to remain as tight as possible. And we are actively

fabulous events, such as the Gala Dinner with the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, which we are looking forward to. I

discussing it with the authorities – Jeremy Hunt, the UK Health Minister and Simon Stevens, the CEO of NHS England, have been on a ‘road show’ of the nation’s top pharmaceutical companies to sound us out and hear our positions. Scientific research could also suffer as EU funding gets cut. Is this a worry? I am fairly optimistic about this. My view is that great institutions remain great institutions – medical research in Oxford or Cambridge is not going to fall by the wayside overnight because of Brexit, as good science always attracts good funding. The UK will remain at the forefront of that innovation. However, we do need to ensure that the full ecosystem remains supported. This means the research that feeds the start-ups, the start-ups that feed biotech firms, and the biotech firms which feed big pharma. This requires a friendly

SANOFI FACTS AND FIGURES • Global employees: >110,000 in 100 countries

• UK employees: >1,800

• Global revenue: €37bn in FY2015

• UK revenue: £553.5m in FY2015

• 280 programmes worldwide

• 14 per cent of sales invested in R&D


- march / april 2017 - 9

Analysis and look ahead INFO looks at the latest news on Brexit and its impact on the Franco-British community


y the end of March, the British Government will trigger Article

future. With this in mind, and to help develop a clearer picture

50, formally announcing the UK's intention to withdraw from

of what Brexit's impact may be on UK-based businesses, the

the European Union and kickstarting negotiations. However, the government does not yet inspire a lot of

Chamber is launching a Brexit Forum on 29 March (read our interview with the Forum's Co-Chairs on p71).

confidence in how the negotiations will develop. On the

Brexit is a topic that will only gain in importance as time

same day that Prime Minister Theresa May said that she was

progresses. Therefore, we have expanded INFO's dedicated

'optimistic' about achieving a bespoke Anglo-EU trade deal,

Brexit section, in order to monitor developments.

Brexit Secretary David Davis warned Cabinet Ministers to

Over the next six pages, you will find news, analysis and

prepare for the possibility of the UK not reaching a deal with

interviews with some of Britain's brightest minds, including

the EU after leaving. And Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson,

CBI Director General Carolyn Fairbairn (p12), The Rt Hon

meanwhile, continues to promise a 'fantastic' future for the UK

Dominic Grieve QC MP (p15) and the Chamber's very own

outside of the EU. We can only hope!

cross-cultural expert, Peter Alfandary (p14). We hope that the

What is certain is that these mixed messages do not help business leaders, who depend on certainty to plan for the

articles will prove both informational and useful for when you, yourself, think about Brexit and its impact. I JH

Key dates European Council meeting

Article 50 Deadline

French Presidential Election

Rome, Italy – 25 March

London, UK – 31 March

Paris, France – 23 April and 7 May

Marking the 60th anniversary of the Rome

The Prime Minister has set herself a

A victory for Marine Le Pen would be

Treaties, which established the European

deadline of triggering Article 50 before

a big win for the anti-establishment

Economic Community, EU wHeads of

the end of March 2017. If she does not

movement in Europe and cause the EU

State are due to meet in Rome, Italy, on

do it at the EU Summit, May is expected

to lose the support of one of its most

25 March to celebrate. Brexit will be on

to likely trigger the process in mid-March

important members – and throw the

everyone's mind, however.

– but definitely before the month-end.

Brexit negotiations into disarray.

Withdrawing from the single market would be the biggest single act of protectionism in the history of the United Kingdom and no amount of trade deals with New Zealand are going to replace the amount of trade we do with our European neighbours GEORGE OSBORNE, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, speaking at the British Chambers of Commerce's annual conference on 28 February

10 - info - march / april 2017

Brexit cannot lead to any kind of optimisation of Britain's relationship with the rest of Europe. An exit is an exit. I am very determined that there will be no undue advantages EMMANUEL MACRON, independent candidate for the French Presidential election and former Economy Minister under Socialist President François Hollande, speaking during his visit to the UK on 21 February


BREXIT IS A MAJOR CONCERN Nearly eight in ten French tech start-up entrepreneurs based in London are worried about Brexit, and 75 per cent have already seen an impact on their business


hile 78 per cent of French tech entrepreneurs said they are concerned about the recent turn of events linked to

Brexit, nearly half – 49 per cent – said they were ‘very worried’. The survey – conducted in February by French Tech London

per cent, have not taken any measures in response to Brexit. However the potential impact of Brexit on tech start-ups should be put into perspective, François Barrault, President and Founder of FDB Partners and President of iDATE, warned.

and which gathered responses from more than 300 London-

‘Start-ups are agile both by nature and necessity. They

based French tech entrepreneurs – also revealed, perhaps

allocate resources according to the business’s geographic

unsurprisingly, that France would be entrepreneurs’ destination

need, and the growth of the cloud simplifies this even further,’

of choice (47 per cent) should they leave the UK. This was

he explained. ‘Additionally, taking into account the average age

followed by the US (9 per cent), Spain (8 per cent), Switzerland

of this community, mobility is a given for these “digital natives”,

(7 per cent) and Germany (5 per cent).

for whom the concept of a border has lost its meaning.’

‘The French start-up ecosystem is experiencing a revival and conditions for entrepreneurs have improved,’ commented

What remains to be seen is whether the UK will be able to retain these fast-growing start-ups in the long term. I JH

entrepreneur and investor Albin Serviant, Co-Founder of FrenchConnect London and Coordinator of French Tech London. ‘I am not surprised that France remains the destination of choice should start-ups leave the UK.’ Global talent Continued guaranteed access to talent is essential to ensure that French entrepreneurs stay put in London, the survey

If London closes itself off, making access to diverse talent more difficult, companies such as ours could move their headquarters elsewhere. This is why, by becoming more open to different nationalities, Paris could be playing its cards right – Jules Minvielle

indicated. Access to quality international talent is why French entrepreneur Jules Minvielle, CEO and Co-Founder of Mozoo, set up his business in London – and with great success. In the


three years that the company has operated in the city, Mozoo has grown its team to 60 people with 10 different nationalities. Should this access to talent be removed, Minvielle said he would consider his options.

Future of French citizens in UK

Freedom of movement

‘If London closes itself off, making access to diverse talent more difficult, companies such as ours could move their headquarters elsewhere,’ Minvielle said. ‘This is why, by becoming more open to different nationalities, Paris could be



playing its cards right.’ Keep calm and carry on Reacting to the report, Axelle Lemaire, the now-former French Deputy Minister for Innovation and Digital Affairs, warned that the first consequence of Brexit was to create uncertainty. ‘[It]


hits innovative, reactive and open ecosystems, such as the London tech scene, the hardest,’ she said. While three-quarters of respondents indicated that they had felt the impact of Brexit on their activities, French start-ups have kept their cool, the report shows. A majority of respondents, 77

Outlook of trading conditions


- march / april 2017 - 11


THREE PRIORITIES FOR BREXIT Carolyn Fairbairn, the Director General of the CBI, highlighted three priorities to make a success of Brexit, at the Chamber’s latest Business Club event, sponsored by Irwin Mitchell


lose to 150 people gathered at the French Residence on

on whether Parliament should be allowed a vote on Brexit –

24 January to hear Carolyn Fairbairn give her thoughts

Fairbairn offered candid and honest views on how to make

on Brexit, at an event sponsored by solicitors Irwin Mitchell,

Brexit a success for both sides of the Channel.

which recently released a report with the CBI analysing how

‘The timing of this evening is extraordinary,’ Fairbairn

to improve productivity across the UK (read more on p15 of the

opened her speech. ‘Our relationship with France is one of the

January/February 2017 issue of INFO).

strongest – it really matters, and there is a serious challenge

The evening started with remarks by the French Ambassador,

ahead of us.’

HE Ms Sylvie Bermann, who said it was a pleasure to host the

Fairbairn, who had been in Davos during the Prime Minister’s

reception: ‘Carolyn Fairbairn is in a unique position to help us

Mansion House speech the previous week, where Theresa May

understand the challenges for businesses of the UK exiting the

outlined her priorities for Brexit, said that the speech sent

European Union, and I am very interested to hear your opinion

‘shockwaves’ across the room and the European continent.

tonight,’ the Ambassador said.

‘We face some very big questions about the kind of

As Director General of the CBI, Carolyn Fairbairn represents

relationship the UK should have with the European Union, and

more than 190,000 UK-based businesses, which employ nearly

we know that when the negotiations are done and dusted, the

seven million people – that is nearly one-third of the UK private-

details of the deal will affect not just firms here, but also in

sector workforce. The CBI’s views are, therefore, rightly taken

France and across Europe,’ she explained.

seriously by the government. The CBI has already published a number of whitepapers directed at the government that look at the impact of the various Brexit scenarios on UK business, but at the event – held on the day that the Supreme Court gave its judgment

‘It is absolutely crucial for the future prosperity of our two countries that firms across Europe work together to make a success of Brexit and get the best possible outcome.’ Fairbairn shared three main messages with the audience, which she said she would highlight to the UK government.

The Prime Minister has made encouraging noises that she does want to guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the UK – and the rights of British citizens in member states – which is a good sign. But at the CBI, we still believe that a unilateral commitment is the right thing to do, and very quickly 12 - info - march / april 2017

Let’s speak up, as European businesses on both sides of the Channel, on why access to people matters, why access to markets matter, and why this relationship – which we have enjoyed for so many years – will continue to be important in the future. This is not the time to close the door

1. People and skills

3. Transition deal

Companies must continue to have access to the people and

Finally, Fairbairn explained why a transition deal, including an

skills that they need. Fairbairn explained that in the aftermath

implementation period, would be essential for UK companies.

of Brexit, many EU nationals have felt unwelcome and uncertain

‘[We need] an implementation period to give companies the

about their future in the UK. The CBI would like the UK

time they need to prepare in really practical terms for the new

government to provide a unilateral commitment to EU nationals.

arrangements,’ she said.

‘There are more than 300,000 French citizens living in the

Business leaders have a role in achieving this, Fairbairn

UK. People from France, Europe and beyond make a massive

added. ‘It is time for firms all across Europe to work together

contribution to our economy,’ Fairbairn explained. ‘The Prime

with our governments to ensure that a calm head prevails, so

Minister has made encouraging noises that she does want to

that it works for everybody.'

guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the UK – and the

She agreed that there are challenges ahead, but she also

rights of British citizens in member states – which is a good sign.

added that a sense of perspective would be important: British

But at the CBI, we still believe that a unilateral commitment is

companies do want the relationship with Europe to remain

the right thing to do, and very quickly.’

a partnership.

After Brexit, she added, it is vital that firms in the UK have access to the brightest and best talent from around the world.

‘Today, right now, there is a unique opportunity to shape the post-Brexit world. We must defend the openness that has defined our relationship for centuries and has meant so much,’

2. Free trade

Fairbairn concluded.

Fairbairn’s second point was around markets. Highlighting

‘My main message today is this: let’s not take this openness

how trade between Britain and France has doubled since the

for granted. Let’s speak up, as European businesses on both

creation of the Single Market, she said that open borders have

sides of the Channel, on why access to people matters, why

benefitted companies on both sides of the Channel. By ruling out

access to markets matter, and why this relationship – which we

membership of the Single Market, the Prime Minister has reduced

have enjoyed for so many years – will continue to be important

the options to achieve the barrier-free trading relationship that

in the future. This is not the time to close the door.’

the UK and France have depended on so strongly.

Following her speech, Fairbairn opened the floor to

‘No one says that it is going to be easy, but the CBI is

questions – under Chatham House rules – which prompted an

completely clear on this: we believe that an ambitious and

open debate about what was needed to make Brexit a success.

comprehensive trade deal should be done,’ she explained. ‘This

The evening then concluded with a networking reception, where

means negotiations on tariffs and customs and making sure

guests continued to debate the issue at hand.

that our strong regulatory framework matches yours.’

A huge thank you to Carolyn Fairbairn for speaking at the

The default option – of reverting to World Trade Organisation

Chamber’s event, thank you also to HE Ms Sylvie Bermann for

rules – would be ‘damaging’ for French and British firms,

hosting the event at the French Residence, and a final thank you

Fairbairn added.

to Irwin Mitchell for their continued support. I JH


- march / april 2017 - 13

ORCHESTRATING A SUCCESSFUL BREXIT C'est le ton qui fait la musique

Getting the ‘tone’ right will make the difference between success and failure in Brexit negotiations, writes Peter Alfandary, Senior Vice President of the French Chamber of Great Britain


he success of international

‘Think European’ and build trust

our negotiators will need to invest a

negotiations invariably depends on

Paradoxically therefore, British

lot of time on the relationship side of

the negotiators having the requisite

negotiators will need to ‘think European’

things. Combating the feeling of betrayal

level of ‘Cultural Intelligence’ (CQ) to

in order to protect British interests.

will need time; it will need patience

enable them to conclude a deal.

They will need to flex their style.

CQ involves deep cultural

They will need to be more patient than

to the style and the presentation of

understanding and a real awareness

instinctively they would wish to be. And


by negotiators of the respective styles,

they will also need to understand that

tactics, preferences and mindsets of

one of the most critical ingredients of a

If they are to be successful, they need

their counterparts. CQ is therefore

successful negotiation – trust – is itself

to negotiate on two fronts – they need

going to be critically important in the

‘cultural’. Trust of the mind, facts-based

to end up with a good Brexit deal for

upcoming Brexit negotiations.

trust, works in some cultures but in

the UK, but equally importantly, with a

others trust of the heart prevails – do

future relationship with the EU that sits

and the onus of getting this right

I like you, can I do business with you

comfortably with our ex-partners.

therefore falls more heavily on the

over the long term, and is there enough

British government than on the other

common empathy that can form the

It is the UK that is leaving the EU

EU member states.

thing’. They are highly transactional and pragmatic. Their natural tendency is to focus on the deal. Influenced by the great empirical philosophers – Bacon, Locke and Hume – they tend to reason inductively. Theirs is a facts-first/ bottom-up approach.

The British position is a difficult one.

Divorce is never easy, but maintaining a harmonious relationship post divorce is often as important as

The British tend not to be very good at what has been called the ‘vision

and real alignment when it comes

reaching a financial deal. In the case

We need to focus on a culturally-intelligent Brexit. Our negotiators need to think long term; they need to flex their negotiating style to take account of context and culture

Much of the rest of Europe

of Europe of which Britain will always remain part of geographically and geopolitically, that future relationship will, in the long term, be crucially important. So forget about hard, soft or a medium-cooked Brexit. We need to focus on a culturally-intelligent Brexit. Our negotiators need to think long

reasons deductively – Cartesian and

term; they need to flex their negotiating

Hegelian logic dominate thinking.

basis of a successful relationship at the

style to take account of context and

The approach is therefore more top-

end of the negotiating process.

culture; and, above all, if the musical

down and principles led. The vision

Trust is, at the moment, in short

score they end up with is to please all

thing is important. The creation of a

supply. Dismayed and shocked by our

who will eventually listen to it, then they

common logical framework is often

decision to leave the EU, rebuilding trust

need to be very careful about its tone

a precursor to getting down to the

is an absolute necessity. If they are to

car c’est toujours le ton qui fait la bonne

details of the deal.

negotiate successfully, our leaders and

musique. I PA

14 - info - march / april 2017


BRITAIN MUST NOW MAKE A CONSCIOUS EFFORT The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP, President of the Franco-British Society, explains why its mission of encouraging closer relations between the two countries remains important today

Why is it so important to continue fostering bilateral relations between France and the UK? France is our nearest neighbour, and we have an intertwined history going back 2,000 years – if not longer. While, throughout this period, this has occasionally brought the two countries into collision, a feature of the last 200 years has been the cooperation towards securing peace on the European continent. Today, as the UK transitions to leave the EU, Britain must now make a conscious effort to promote the relationship and ensure that it is sustaining and lasting. What role can the Franco-British Society play in this? Founded at the beginning of the last century, the Franco-

alternatives appear to be quite attractive. To remedy this, mainstream politicians who believe in

British Society’s purpose was – and still is – to promote Franco-

moderate policies must understand that they need to engage

British understanding. Rather than being a government-to-

much more deeply and honestly with the electorate on issues

government effort, the Society brings people together for

that they have tended not to in the past.

events that look at politics and culture. Every year, the Franco-British Society organises a trip

How can Britain make a success of the upcoming Brexit

to France not as ordinary tourism, but to provide privileged


access for our members to areas and people they otherwise

The first thing that the British side needs to understand is

would not see and meet. Fostering these relations, between

that for the French – and our other European partners – the

France and Britain, is one of the big contributions that the

EU is, for all of its imperfections, a model with a lot of idealism

Franco-British Society makes.

present. While the UK has always been pragmatic towards the EU, we must not be seen trying to undermine their ideal.

Traditional politics is being challenged by populism. What

Equally, our European partners must understand that, in

does this mean for our two countries?

spite of Brexit, the UK does want to maintain an exceptionally

Mainstream politicians, who have operated in a traditional

close relationship with the EU, with as close an engagement as

environment, need to look at themselves very carefully and ask

it is possible to achieve.

why it is that the system of politics they have been conducting appears to have become so unattractive that people are being

What role can businesses play towards ensuring a smooth

lured off to alternatives.


A big mistake that we have made in the last 20 years is

It is very important that business leaders should speak

that although we have improved our communication with the

out honestly about their fears and concerns – as well as

general public, this communication has started to become

the positives. What would be troubling is businesses not

more important than the policy.

wanting to do that because they are worried about exposing

This has blown up in the face of mainstream politicians in France, Britain and across the European continent, fuelled

themselves to criticism. This is such an important issue on both sides of the

by the economic crisis of 2008, and created a serious crisis in

Channel; it is really important for the business view to be put

confidence in the way that politics is done, making simplistic

forward, whatever that view may be. I Interview by JH


- march / april 2017 - 15

YOUR ESSENTIAL DAILY READ Our award-winning journalists keep you informed on all the latest industry news, ensuring you make the best possible business decisions.




PwC: UK CEOs ‘upbeat’ about growth Chief Executives of UK-based companies are more upbeat about their own businesses’ growth prospects than they were 12 months ago, according to PwC’s 20th CEO Survey


K CEOs are increasingly bullish about their own businesses’ growth prospects, despite declining

confidence in the global economy. This is the key finding of PwC’s 20 th CEO Survey, which surveyed 1,300 global leaders of companies with 500 or more employees, across all sectors. Asked to rate their own company’s growth prospects, 89 per cent of the 126 UK CEOs interviewed by PwC say that they are confident for the coming year, which is up from 85

We may see a period of uncertainty, but the economic fundamentals remain positive and businesses should keep calm and carry on doing what they do best – capitalising on the UK’s strength and attractiveness to the rest of the world, and seeking out new opportunities – Kevin Ellis, PwC UK Chairman

per cent last year. What’s more, they are even more confident about their own businesses’ ability to grow revenues over a three-year

growth (84 per cent), exchange rate volatility (82 per cent)

time frame, where 95 per cent of UK CEOs said they were

and the future of the Eurozone (78 per cent).

confident about growth. This contrasts sharply with CEOs’ confidence in economic

‘Clearly there is some concern over the potential impact of Brexit,’ Ellis continued. ‘However, the UK is increasingly

growth more widely. The survey shows that only 17 per cent

popular with overseas companies: business leaders from 16

of UK CEOs expect global economic growth to improve over

countries see the UK as more important than last year for

the next 12 months. This is down from 30 per cent last year

their short-term prospects and many are enthusiastic about

and well below the global figure of 29 per cent who think

investing in the UK.’ I JH

growth will improve. ‘Despite an eventful 2016, it is encouraging to see growth firmly on the agenda of UK plc,’ said PwC UK Chairman and Senior Partner Kevin Ellis. ‘We may see a period of uncertainty, but the economic fundamentals remain positive and businesses should keep calm and carry on doing what they do best – capitalising on the UK’s strengths and attractiveness to the rest of the world, and seeking out new opportunities.’ The impact of uncertainty surrounding Brexit is clear: the top three concerns for UK CEOs are uncertain economic


- march / april 2017 - 17

L’Oréal targets digital start-ups International beauty giant L’Oréal has invested in an early-stage venture fund as part of its strategy to engage with future tech and digital champions. With a focus on digital technology, Partech Ventures will help L’Oréal tap into innovations and services that can transform consumers’ relationship to beauty through prediction and personalisation tools, artificial intelligence, marketplaces and new services.

Pinsent Masons ranked top LGBT law firm

International law firm Pinsent Masons has ranked second overall – and is the highest-ranking law firm – in Stonewall’s Top 100 Employers 2017 list. The index showcases the best employers for lesbian, gay, bi and trans staff, recognising organisations’ commitment to workplace equality and inclusion. This is the ninth consecutive year that Pinsent Masons has ranked in the list.

Societe Generale named best Trade Finance Provider

The Global Transaction Banking arm of Societe Generale has been awarded ‘Best Trade Finance Provider’ in Western Europe and Emerging Markets by Global Finance magazine. ‘Trade finance is an ever-changing environment and we are committed to continuing to offer our clients innovative products which support their businesses,’ said Pascal Augé, Director Global Transaction & Payment Services at the bank.

‘Our unique relationship with Partech Ventures will give us access to a high quality and comprehensive sourcing of the best

Capgemini launches industryleading carbon reduction targets

B2B and B2C digital players and contribute to the group’s global strategy of open innovation,’ said Lubomira Rochet, Chief Digital Officer at L’Oréal. ‘It will create value across the board for our brand and marketing teams and will connect us to new ideas and partners to better engage and serve our consumers.’ L’Oréal’s investment in the venture fund follows its investment last year in Founders Factory, the London-based digital accelerator and incubator co-founded by Brent Hoberman. As part of the partnership with Founders Factory, L’Oréal agreed to support the growth of five high-potential early-stage start-ups each year. In January, following a pitching session, L’Oréal announced the five start-ups that it will support in 2017. These are: Preemadonna, an app that allows people to design and print art onto their nails; InsitU, a personalised and natural skincare brand; Cosmose, which uses location technology to allow retailers to target offline customers via online channels; Veleza, an app-based community to help beauty lovers discover new products; and Tailify, which connects big brands to social media influencers. ‘Open innovation will be key to identify new disruptive ideas and co-develop new services to meet the aspirations of our consumers,’ added Rochet. I 18 - info - march / april 2017

Capgemini UK has set itself a goal to slash the business’s carbon emissions by 20 per cent per employee by 2020, and by 40 per cent by 2030 – science-based targets which are consistent with the 2015 Paris Agreement. ‘As a service provider and consultant for many household names, our impact is much wider than our own operations and it’s important for us to acknowledge this by leading from the front,’ said James Robey, Global Head of Corporate Sustainability at Capgemini.


GE to connect every industrial asset

AccorHotels to acquire luxury villa marketplace Travel Keys

a partnership with

broker that represents more than 5,000 luxury villas around

technology giant

the world. Founded in 1991, the company also offers

Oracle to build a

professional vacation planning and 24/7 concierge services.

AccorHotels is to acquire of Travel Keys, an elite travel

GE has announced

The combination of Travel Keys with onefinestay and

platform that will enable companies to

Squarebreak – two other recent acquisitions – will provide

digitally connect all of

AccorHotels with a portfoliio of around 8,500 addresses in the

their industrial assets,

luxury private rental market. The Travel Keys transaction is

all across the world.

expected to close in Q2 2017, after customary due diligence. ‘Travel Keys brings an impressive portfolio of premium

By working together, GE and Oracle intend to offer integrated solutions that allow

properties to our existing activities,’ said Sébastien Bazin,

industrial customers to connect any machine or sensor to

Chairman and CEO of AccorHotels. ‘This is a very robust

any other machine or business application.

business, which will be instrumental in our strategy to create the number one luxury private rental player in the world.’ I

‘We are building an ecosystem with world-class partners who share our belief that customers benefit at the intersection of information technology and operations technology,’ said Bill Ruh, CEO for GE Digital. The business case for connecting industrial devices digitally – making them part of the Internet of Things (IoT) – is strong and is a fast-growing trend. Connected devices can enable businesses to create more efficient supply chains and use predictive maintenance, as well as adopting intelligent manufacturing and optimising business processes. I

photo © Hufton+Crow

LVMH launches innovation programme at Central Saint Martin’s

Luxury leader LVMH has announced a major investment to fund a new sustainability and innovation programme at Central Saint Martin’s, the London-based art school. The programme aims to combine disruptive thinking and sustainable practice to question the future of creativity and the challenges that the luxury sector faces. I Central St Martin’s College of Art & Design building

OVH takes €250m private equity investment

Cloud infrastructure and web hosting services company OVH has sold a €250m minority stake to investment firms KKR and TowerBrook Capital Partners. The growth capital will be used to take advantage of the rapidly-expanding cloud market and to broaden OVH’s customer base and services. To support UK growth, the company has also announced a new data centre, which will open this year. I

BNP Paribas completes first Blockchain payment

BNP Paribas has successfully completed its first real-time Blockchain payments for two corporate clients, packaging solutions company Amcor and Panini Group, the leader in collectables and trading cards. Blockchain technology allows payments to be fully processed and cleared in a few minutes, which in turn can significantly cut the cost of transactions for businesses. I


- march / april 2017 - 19


“Fascinating bilingual guide... full of shrewd insights into both sides’ codes.” - THE FINANCIAL TIMES


Meetings may not start until the most senior person arrives.

Meetings start on time.

A meeting is a debate.

A meeting is a process.

Latecomers enter, shake hands with everyone present, and then sit down. “Non c’est impossible” – often means “start convincing me”. •••

Latecomers slip in quietly, apologise and sit in the nearest available seat. “No, I’m afraid that it really is impossible” usually means just that. Non-negotiable. •••


Eptica: Creating meaningful conversations

INFO sits down with Olivier Njamfa, founder of Eptica, a European technology company specialised in intelligent plaforms for digital customer experiences


ounded 15 years ago by French entrepreneur Olivier Njamfa,

That was the beginning of Eptica’s long – but ultimately

Eptica has become a leader in multichannel customer

successful – journey. Njamfa is the first to admit it was not an

interaction technology – that is, customer service technology.

easy journey: for five years, the company was not able to sell

Every day, Eptica’s solutions answer millions of customer service

much as the market was not ready.

queries via email, social media, web and chat, helping huge brands engage with customers across the whole world.

But with a lot of patience and tenacity, the market matured and email became the second most-used channel for interaction

How did the business start? Njamfa explains that in the early

between individuals and brands. By being the first to market,

noughties, he foresaw that the internet was changing the way that

with a highly developed proposition, Eptica was able to leverage

brands interact with individuals. ‘I strongly believed that phones

this and grow in both France and the UK.

would not be the only way that people would talk to companies, that the internet would revolutionise this,’ he explains.

Artificial intelligence

Njamfa, who had already had a successful career selling

With 30 per cent of turnover invested in R&D each year, innovation

accounting software, had recently obtained an MBA from

is at the heart of Eptica’s business. Today, the company’s technology relies on artificial intelligence and, in particular, natural language

There is still so much that we can do in Europe. We have a strong position, but I want us to be a very big European player – the number one

processing, which Eptica started investing in heavily five years ago. Eptica’s dictionaries now contain more than one million words across 26 languages that specifically respond to customer service cases. This natural language processing technology is used by hundreds of global brands to provide top-class customer service.

ESCP Europe. He loved technology and loved seeing how

Eptica’s four core industries are retail (customers include

technology was disrupting markets – and he was very ambitious.

New Look, La Redoute, Decathlon, L’Occitane and others),

‘When working on a project for EADS [now Airbus], I came

banking and insurance (Domestic & General, Hastings Direct,

across speech and written-word technology that the group had

Covéa, Crédit Agricole, LCL), the public sector (the NHS Business

developed. But the business did not believe that this could be

Services Authority, Birmingham City Council and others) and the

used on the internet, for customer service,’ Njamfa explains. ‘So I

travel industry (TUI, Virgin Holidays). Eptica boasts more than 450

convinced them to let me take the risk with it, to let me use their

customers in total across 15 countries – and growing.

software and spin the team out of EADS.’ Njamfa suddenly found himself with a team of six ex-EADS employees and lines and lines of code.

While Eptica is the dominant force in helping companies have meaningful conversations with their customers in France and the UK, Njamfa says that his aspirations are further afield. ‘There is

‘EADS let me use their technology for free because I took on

still so much that we can do in Europe,’ he says. ‘We have a strong

the personal risk of hiring these six people,’ he says. ‘The pressure

position, but I want us to be a very big European player – the

was on.’

number one.’ I JH

Launched in: 2001 • Employees: 80 • Customers: >450 • Funding: €7m


- march / april 2017 - 21

Tramonex given green light for ‘e-money’ Registration as a Small Electronic Money Institution allows the fintech start-up to issue electronic money on the blockchain. The approval, given on 25 January, makes Tramonex the first blockchain start-up to receive approval from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to issue digital money. The

French Radio London teams up with Hippodrome Casino French Radio London and Hippodrome Casino have partnered to launch a new series of French shows to be held at the 180-seat music and cabaret theatre in Leicester Square. The 2017 Hippodrome Live International Programme features three successful French acts, which started with the comedian Fary (in February) and will be followed by Vianney (March) and Kyan Khojandi (April), plus others later in the year. I

company now intends to conduct a test pilot for the transfer of ‘e-money’ across its platform. Indeed, its registration is valid for no more than 1,000 payment service users. ‘Automation of payments using the blockchain and smart contracts will reduce costs of transactions, allowing for the adaptation of this solution across many different fields such as insurance, real estate and government, to name only a few,’ said Marc Avedissian, Co-Founder and COO of Tramonex. ‘Previously the missing link was lack of regulation – Tramonex is very proud to provide a regulated environment where digital payments can be executed in a secure and transparent way.’

Blockchain payments The FCA’s approval comes less than one year after Tramonex received a £250,000 grant from Innovate UK, Britain’s innovation agency, to fund the development of a cross-country payments system that leverages blockchain technology. At the time, Avedissian said that Tramonex would use the grant to provide a platform with a common standard, in order to reduce the time and cost of transacting across currencies. ‘It’s only a question of time until blockchain technology goes mainstream and becomes the standardised option for cross-currency transfers,’ Avedissian said. A blockchain is a shared digital ‘ledger’ of transactions that is continually updated and decentralised – or, to use conventional banking as an analogy, the blockchain would be similar to a full history of banking transactions, but which is distributed across a wide base, rather than being held by central banks or institutions. Based on strong cryptography,

CWF signs deal with House of Givenchy CWF, the leader in children’s luxury fashion, has signed a license partnership with House of Givenchy to unveil its first ready-to-wear collection for children in autumn 2017. The collection will revisit the iconic Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci wardrobe with clothing and accessories for babies and children. This is the latest win for CWF, which already works with many luxury fashion brands to sell children’s clothes, including Zadig & Voltaire, Chloé, and Little Marc Jacobs among others. I

which validates and chains together ‘blocks’ of transactions, it is considered a much faster and safer technology.

E-money test pilot Having successfully obtained the registration, Tramonex will now conduct a pilot, in collaboration with another fintech start-up,, to test the use of smart contracts to manage charity donation transfers over the blockchain. During the test, donors will transfer funds to Tramonex’s segregated account, and it will issue the according amount of e-money and automatically transfer that amount to the charity through a self-executing smart contract. I

22 - info - march / april 2017

Ekimetrics finds new partner Ekimetrics, the strategy consultancy specialised in data science, has announced a partnership agreement with Sinequa, a leader in cognitive search and analytics. By working together, the companies intend to provide customers with an integrated, end-to-end approach to quickly extract value from their enterprise data. I


A Light for Africa joins forces with Aide et Action Edouard de Broglie, the founder of Dans le Noir and A Light For Africa, will work with Aide et Action to bring electricity to schools in sub-Saharan Africa Charity programme A Light For

Going forward, Aide et

Africa has partnered with Aide et

Action, which has more than

Action, an international solidarity

35 years of experience in

and development organisation

piloting educational projects in

specialised in education.

Africa, will be responsible for

Founded in 2014 by Edouard

coordinating and managing the

de Broglie, the founder of the

programme and budget.

Dans Le Noir restaurants, and

‘The commitment of Aide

Alexandre Castel, the founder of

et Action in the piloting of

French start-up Station Energy, A

the programme allows it to

Light For Africa is an independent

benefit from their 35 years

programme sponsored and

of experience in complicated

funded by private companies to electrify as many schools as

environments in order to guarantee to our sponsors an

possible in sub-Saharan Africa.

efficiency and long-lasting quality of their investment,’ said

Dans Le Noir financed the equipment of a first school in 2014 in Senegal, followed by three more in Senegal and Côte

Edouard de Broglie. By teaming up with Aide et Action, the programme hopes

d’Ivoire in 2015 and another five in 2016. The next phase

to deliver more schools and increase corporate sponsorship.

of the programme is to recruit more private companies to

Indeed, the programme has set itself the goal of equipping at

invest in the charity’s important work.

least 100 schools with electricity by the end of 2018. I

Handicap International: 75% of disabled people feel excluded in crises

Emmaus UK founder awarded France’s highest distinction

A large majority of people with disabilities living in countries affected by a crisis still feel excluded from humanitarian responses. According to a report by Handicap International, 75 per cent of disabled people caught in a humanitarian crisis – such as earthquakes, floods, tsunami or conflicts – believe that they do not have adequate access to essential, basic assistance such as water, shelter, food or health. During crises, Handicap International sets up Disability and Vulnerability focal points in tents or shelters to give vulnerable people the help they need. Mobile teams also go out in camps or within the community to identify vulnerable

Selwyn Image, the man who brought homeless charity

and disabled people, to ensure that they can access aid and

Emmaus to the UK, has been awarded the Légion d’honneur.

are not forgotten.

The French Ambassador, HE Ms Sylvie Bermann, presented

‘People with disabilities and injuries are often disproportionately affected and struggle to access the

Image with the award in January. ‘Through your initiative, energy and effort, you have

support they need,’ said Aleema Shivji, Executive Director

embedded Abbé Pierre’s legacy on this side of the Channel,’

of Handicap International UK. ‘There are many different

said Ambassador Bermann. ‘Your work is part of what unites,

reasons for this, including a lack of information on the

rather than divides, France and the UK.’

services available, a lack of services being able to answer

Image set up the first Emmaus community in the UK in

their specific needs or difficulties in accessing services that

1991. Today, Emmaus has grown to a community of 28, providing

are too far away, or simply not reachable.’ I

a home and meaningful work for more than 760 people. I


- march / april 2017 - 23


Three French business schools in top global rankings


ESSCA partners with University of Northumbria ESSCA Ecole de Management has established a new partnership with the University of Northumbria in Newcastle. This is the 200 th partnership that ESSCA has agreed with universities across 50 countries. The French business school uses the partnerships to share best practice in academia, as well as collaborating on academic research. I

ESCP Europe runs first certified Fintech course in London

Three French business schools have been ranked as leading MBA providers in the latest report published by higher education analysts QS Quacquarelli Symonds. Of these, two are members of the French Chamber: HEC and ESSEC. The third French school is INSEAD. The QS Global 250 Business Schools Report 2017 ranks the

ESCP Europe’s London campus has become the first UK

world’s 250 top business schools across four categories,

higher education institution to run a Certified Executive

drawing on surveys of both MBA employers and academics.

Development Programme in Fintech. Enabled by a strong

The three French schools feature in QC’s ‘Global

partnership with FINTECH Circle Innovate, the school

Elite’ quadrant. Furthermore, the French schools ranked

delivered the two-day programme to a class of 23 financial

particularly highly against European counterparts.

and professional services executives from 10 countries.

Within Europe, HEC ranked third and ESSEC seventh in the

Covering the entire Fintech ecosystem, sessions looked at

‘employability’ category. I Discover QS’s full report on the

digital megatrends, insurtech, blockchain and enterprise

rankings here:

innovation. I

Hult tackles innovation with Amazon Launchpad

Turenne Consulting expands education business

Amazon has agreed to participate in Hult’s annual Business

Turenne Consulting, the expert in education, has started

the way that they interact with startups in their Launchpad

Challenge, where students work directly with a major corporate client to solve a critical business challenge. Amazon has tasked Hult with helping them to challenge

2017 with a bang, signing a new international client. Although the consulting business has historically focused on UK-based education institutions, it has recently been appointed by the Lycée Français d’Irlande to advise them on a strategic review that includes their curriculum, branding and estate. This new contract is the latest addition to a prestigious roster of clients. Last year, the company was hired by institutions such as HEC, ESSEC and Toulouse Business School among others to help develop their UK operations. Laurent Batut, who has recently joined the Turenne team as Senior Education Consultant, said: ‘2017 has been the start of a new personal adventure, but above all, it is the year

programme, which showcases new products. The ultimate

during which Turenne will grow beyond the M25. These are

goal for Hult students is to develop actionable strategies so

really exciting times for the whole team.’ I

that Amazon can build sustainable relationships with the start-up scene. The winning idea will be announced in April. I

24 - info - march / april 2017


A selection of research papers and reports produced by Chamber member companies and partners

CBRE Understanding European Technology Clusters London is the leading destination in Europe for technology-based industries, according to CBRE’s inaugural report Understanding European Technology Clusters. The report analyses the characteristics of tech clusters and explores future opportunities among high-performing and emerging tech cities. Out of 35 cities across Europe, London is ranked in first place in CBRE’s index, followed by Paris in second. The report also identifies the fastest-growing emerging European tech cities of the future: Budapest, Bucharest and Istanbul. Understanding European Technology Clusters – December 2016. Available at:

CBI Making a Success of Brexit When the UK voted to leave the European Union, it was clear that businesses would be faced with change. Firms continue to manage this change and uncertainty with focus, determination and a clear message: the final result must be a coherent deal that delivers the best outcome for every region and every sector of the UK economy. Making a Success of Brexit aims to set the priorities by sector and, by doing that, give clarity on the issues that apply across sectors, helping the government to maintain the key principles of openness, stability and certainty of trade, immigration, regulation and funding that are shared by all. Although it was published in December 2016, the CBI’s Making a Success of Brexit report continues to offer a highly-insightful sectoral analysis for businesses in the UK. Making a Success of Brexit: A whole-economy view of the UK-EU negotiations – December 2016. Available at:

Ellen MacArthur Foundation Achieving ‘Growth Within’ Shifting towards a circular economy could bring many benefits for growth, employment, resource dependency, health and the environment. In an era of sluggish post-crisis recovery and stagnating industrial investment, the transition to a circular economy is a source of innovation and industrial renewal for Europe. This report, published by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Systemiq, identifies ten attractive circular innovation and investment opportunities, worth €320bn, in Europe before 2025, along with the policy reforms and business actions needed to unlock them. Achieving ‘Growth Within’ – January 2017. Available at:


- march / april 2016 - 25





ntrepreneurs are the job creators, the wealth makers, the innovators. The small and mid-sized enterprises that they lead account for 99.9 per cent of total UK businesses, two-thirds of UK jobs, and close to half of total UK turnover. Today's start-ups are tomorrow's corporate giants. Following the Global Financial Crisis, entrepreneur-led SMEs led Britain through its recovery: between 2010 and 2014, fastgrowing SMEs created more than two million jobs. Entrepreneurs are equally important in larger firms: companies that foster 'intrapreneurship' are more innovative and perform nearly 20 per cent better than those that do not. As Britain faces a new paradigm shift through its departure of the European Union, the nation will once again turn to its entrepreneurs to maintain stability and lead growth. What is now required to ensure that entrepreneurs remain our economic superheroes, both in fast-growing companies as well as in more established businesses? Through interviews with world-class entrepreneurs who have built billion-pound businesses (Business Objects' Bernard Liautaud, International SOS's Arnaud VaissiĂŠ), to articles penned by tomorrow's leaders (Devialet, Early Metrics) and advice from seasoned experts in entrepreneurship (Schneider Electric's Tanuja Randery, London Stock Exchange Group's Serge Harry, C4 Ventures' Olivier Huez and many more), this Focus paints a picture of how to attain entrepreneurial success, no matter your company's size and no matter your sector. The opportunity for you to become a superhero of the economy lies firmly on your shoulders. We hope that the following pages will inspire you to step up to the plate. I JH


- march / april 2017 - 27

UK entrepreneurship in numbers Over the last few years, unnoticed by most of us, entrepreneurs from home and abroad have been turning Britain into a hub of innovation. And global businesses have followed, hungry for the inventions and innovations they are generating, developing technologies that will change fundamentally the way we work and the way we live Philip Hammond, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer



SHARE OF ENTERPRISES IN THE UK PRIVATE SECTOR, 2016 Source: BIS, Business Population estimates, 2016

Employment 99.3%



Turnover Businesses


383,000 NEW BUSINESSES IN 2016


48% 40% 33%


12% 14%

Source: UK Government (2016)








Source: Eurostat (2016)

MILLENNIALS: An entrepreneurial generation





56% MEN

The average start-up wage is


The average banking IT salary is 42% higher


Percentage of start-ups offering equity to new starters


Source: Adzuna / Duedil

28 - info - march / april 2017




Source: Silicon Valley Bank Startup Outlook Report 2017

Source: Silicon Valley Bank Startup Outlook Report 2017



Source: Silicon Valley Bank Startup Outlook Report 2017

Source: Silicon Valley Bank Startup Outlook Report 2017

Despite its many young and innovative entrepreneurs, Europe is not yet fully tapping the potential of its entrepreneurial capacity and talent. Starting and scaling a company across Europe has to become simpler European Commission, Communication on Europe's Next Leaders


- march / april 2017 - 29


BERNARD LIAUTAUD, Managing Partner, Balderton Capital

As one of France’s most celebrated entrepreneurs and now the head of one of Europe’s biggest VC firms, Balderton Capital, Bernard Liautaud knows what makes entrepreneurs successful


ernard Liautaud certainly knows a thing or two about

Finally, while you need to plan ahead, you also need the

success. He set up business intelligence software firm

financial capital to make it happen. This means raising money

Business Objects in 1990, growing it over the next two

when you least need it, well ahead of time. Because if you get

decades into the global leader. When he sold the firm to SAP

into a situation where you run out of money, your company will

for $6.8bn in 2008, the company had 6,700 employees, 45,000

either die or be taken advantage of by whoever finances it. You

customers and $1.5bn of revenue – a mega unicorn.

always want to be a step ahead.

Today, Liautaud is the Managing Partner of Balderton Capital which, with a war chest of $2.3bn, is one of Europe’s largest VC

Scaling the business is the next step. How can

firms, investing up to $20m apiece in potential disruptors.

entrepreneurs reach the next level?

INFO sits down with Liautaud to hear the secrets of setting up a billion-pound business.

This comes back to my point about having a fantastic team. That’s the baseline, but you then need to ensure that your team is at the right level for the next phase of growth.

What advice would you have for entrepreneurs starting up

If it isn’t, then you need to act. As the CEO, it’s your job to

a new business?

upgrade the team members. This doesn’t mean that they’re

First, to surround yourself really well. It’s a classic, but it’s

not competent – just that some people are more comfortable

extremely important – build a great team around you, with

in the early days of the company, while others are better suited

people who are better than you in each particular field of

to the later stages of development.

expertise. For the next three years, you will need a team that can be scaled and that team needs to be better than you.

At Business Objects, I had four CFOs over 18 years. Each was well dimensioned for the different phases of growth: the first

Some CEOs have a tendency to be a little afraid to hire

was early stage and the last one was geared towards running a

people that are too strong, but it should really be the opposite.

public entity worth billions of dollars. So you need to constantly

I’ve seen it time and time again: a great team pushes you up

look at how adequate your team is for the next few years.

as a CEO and they are absolutely critical to your company’s success. Second, entrepreneurs need to have great clarity about

The second important point is about the vectors of growth and thinking global. If you want to scale properly, you will likely need to build

where they want to take the company. This means having a

a strong international presence. For example, if after three or

good perspective not only on your ambitions for the company

four years, your business is turning over $25m but you want to

over the long-term, but also to have a practical three-year plan:

do $200m, then you will probably need to derive $100m from

what will be your vectors of growth over the next three years?

international expansion.

Entrepreneurs need to have great clarity about where they want to take the company. This means having a good perspective not only on your ambitions for the company over the long-term, but also to have a practical three-year plan: what will be your vectors of growth over the next three years? 30 - info - march / april 2017


Balderton Capital's offices in Kings Cross

But to get there, you need to start today, because it takes an

France is a terrific place today, as there is a fantastic base of

enormous amount of growth to be successful. You need clarity

engineers, scientists and people who are creative. There is

about where this growth will come from and start in good time,

a free spirit and a mature ecosystem that leads to plenty of

because new initiatives always take longer than you anticipate.

entrepreneurial capabilities. Funding is also good: there is plenty of money in seed, venture and growth funds as well as

Finally, how do you then build a billion-pound business? To build a very large company, the critical thing is to have very

government support. However, what France sometimes lacks is international

strong ambitions and be ready to hold on to the business for

ambition in its entrepreneurs. Quite often, they are not as

the long run. If you want to build a really big company, it will take

ready to go global as their UK counterparts. This is not helped

a lifetime of passion – it doesn’t happen over a couple of years.

by the labour laws and the lack of flexibility at the regulatory

With my own company, Business Objects, it took 18 years. But what interested me was making sure that millions of

level. The UK, of course, has been the centre of entrepreneurship

people would have better access to information. It was about

and innovation for several years, with good financing and

being passionate about the company’s core mission.

natural access to the US. I also think things are a little cheaper

Some people are only interested in making money quickly and therefore follow a fast-growth plan and are obsessed

and easier to do than in France. What remains to be seen is what impact Brexit will

with funding rounds and valuations. But this isn’t what

have, particularly as non-British entrepreneurs are such an

creates a great company. Great companies are created by

important component of the UK ecosystem. In London, 40 per

entrepreneurs who are passionate about what they do – the

cent of CEOs are non-British – as are around half of engineers

financing is just a way to make it happen.

working in UK start-ups. There is a lot of uncertainty over how

The good thing is that we are seeing more and more incredibly ambitious entrepreneurs who have that passion inside them, who want to take their company to new levels.

the UK’s departure from the EU will be implemented and what the fate will be for the foreign workforce. While early-stage companies are agile and can easily move people around, there could potentially be a substantial impact

Being a French entrepreneur living in the UK, how do you

should there be a severe limitation on bringing tech people to

rate the two countries for entrepreneurs to do business

the UK. It’s too early to tell what will happen, but the ecosystem

in? And what effect might Brexit have on this?

will continue to thrive, I’m sure. I Interview by JH

I wouldn’t say that one place is much better than the other.

What remains to be seen is what impact Brexit will have, particularly as non-British entrepreneurs are such an important component of the UK ecosystem info

- march / april 2017 - 31

Surround yourself with the best Why is it so important for entrepreneurs to surround themselves with a great group of mentors, investors and board members? Victor d’Allancé, General Manager UK and Ireland at Devialet, shares his company’s lessons for gathering the best advisers

T a



help others benefit from past experience,

new markets, formalising recruitment



including mistakes and bad decisions.

processes or building a solid and

story and

Such mentors are humble, transparent

realistic business plan. Due to the


and boast great listening skills.

nature of their activity, investors are


Like in any context, long-lasting

particularly instrumental in raising the


relationships are built when there is trust.

financial standards and expertise of

The ability of entrepreneurs to present

growing businesses.

must the




around them as they scale up.

their story (‘where we come from’), vision

Before investors decide to purchase

(‘where we are going’), strategy (‘how we

shares in the company, founders and

It is a straightforward business case:

are going to do it’) and team (‘the people

management must answer a lot of

mentors bring their experience and

who will execute’) is key in attracting

questions, ranging from the sustainability

share the lessons from their failures,

quality advisers.

of their business model to their ability to

while investors bring the capital crucially

And it is important to attract the

control their working capital needs over

needed for growth and help the company

best. Mentors can typically also help

the next five years. Such questions can be

to raise its own standards. The ability

entrepreneurs to shape their investment

a great catalyst in helping entrepreneurs

of founders to surround themselves

pitch as well as introduce potential


with external business leaders bringing

investors to them.

relevant questions and monitor their

wisdom and expertise while sharing the










finances more thoroughly.

same level of passion and enthusiasm is

investors act as a great source of

Once investors have a stake in the

a key skill – if not a critical one.

inspiration and drive. For instance, at

company, they expect it to strictly follow

Devialet we have always been inspired

the operational plan agreed ahead

by the achievements of Xavier Niel, one

of the round. Recruitment objectives,

Most of the time, meeting such high-

of our early investors, who managed to

financial ratios, cash flow generation

quality people is down to word of mouth.

build internet company Free from scratch

and compensation become truly part of

One usually hears about a mentor’s path

and disrupt an established and powerful

corporate policy.

of life, successes and failures through a

industry. The same goes with Elon Musk

friend or good contact.

and a few other entrepreneurs.

Meeting the best

In reality, only a minority of business

At Devialet, the €100m round that we closed in Q4 2016 created not only the means of our future growth, but it

leaders can become great mentors.

Expertise and discipline

Mentoring is about relationships. It



internal processes and execution. From

implies a genuine desire to give back and

their expertise, be it about entering

the inside, employees can see that the

32 - info - march / april 2017




also initiated a clear improvement in


company is becoming more structured

can result in deals and create other

to build with the company. For instance,


networking opportunities. Many of the

the investors in Devialet’s latest funding

deals and partnerships signed at Devialet

round – be it Renault, Foxconn or Android

happened because one of our investors

founder Andy Rubin – all had something

introduced Quentin Sannié, our CEO,

to achieve and build with Devialet.






encouragement to all staff.

Mutual trust and respect Another benefit of having great mentors

to one of his friends. The multiplier

Entrepreneurs having a real vision for

and investors on board is about the

effect then applied and great things

their business should think in the same

network effect. Because they believe in


way when it comes to finding the right

the business so much, well-connected

One key element to bear in mind

mentors and investors. At the end of

and influential mentors and investors

is the story. The best mentors and

the day, a world-changing and industry-

can make powerful introductions that

investors are those who have a true story

shaping story is never built alone. I VdA

The ability of founders to surround themselves with external business leaders bringing wisdom and expertise while sharing the same level of passion and enthusiasm is a key skill – if not a critical one

TOP TIPS to find the best mentor Know what you want Before you begin looking for a mentor or adviser, write

help promising disruptive companies. Target entrepreneurs

down your expectations and the role that you would like

that you admire or would love to work with and write to

them to play in your business. Do you want someone who

them; what do you have to lose?

can provide guidance on running a business or someone with specific industry insight? Clarifying your expectations,

Set up a meeting

goals and objectives will ensure that you find the right

When you meet a potential adviser, make sure that you

mentor that will benefit your goal.

are clear on the terms of the relationship: you are looking

Think outside the box Begin by exploring your own network: a friend of a friend could have the perfect experience of business success (or

for someone who can mentor you and help your business reach its next level of growth. Be clear what you need from them every time you meet, so that you do not waste time.

failure). But also be sure to aim high – you would be surprised

Ensure you get on

at how willing successful entrepreneurs and investors are to

The key to any successful mentoring partnership is respect and the ability to get on together. You’ve got to click and you must be able to have honest conversations about your business with each other. Above all, you need to be able to communicate with each other and there needs to be trust and respect on both sides.

Start early Do not wait until your business gets into trouble before looking for a mentor. They are there to be a sounding board and provide advice to help your business grow – they are not there to issue orders, but to help entrepreneurs and business owners find their own solutions. I VdA


- march / april 2017 - 33

The entrepreneur’s fiscal checklist George Merrylees, Associate Solicitor at Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth, outlines his tax checklist


ime and time again, when working with French entrepreneurs,

Particularly of importance is understanding the interaction

there is a common misconception that the UK tax system is

between the two tax systems, especially during the year in

simple enough that it can be left for another day. After all, UK

which you may be both a UK and French tax resident. To ensure

employment law is so much simpler than its French equivalent,

that you benefit from the advantages of the UK tax system,

so why would UK tax and compliance be any different?

compliance and planning is key. Indeed, falling foul of tax

While there is some truth to this, the UK tax system remains a complex beast. French entrepreneurs would do well to consider

compliance – or simply not structuring your affairs correctly – can result in extensive costs, fines and penalties.

the UK tax implications from the moment they consider a move

French tax

Determine how and when you will cease to be French tax resident. Take local advice on the exit tax

Identify which, if any, French tax compliance forms need to be completed on ceasing to be French tax resident

Pinpoint which assets (particularly business assets you need to have valued before leaving France (if any)

Consider any actions (relating to remuneration or asset sales) that you should take prior to leaving France and consider whether these could be postponed until you move to the UK

Identify your French social security status and requirements

Covering French and UK tax, this checklist could assist entrepreneurs in navigating a move to Britain. I GM

across the Channel.

UK tax Determine how and when you become UK tax resident

Ascertain which, if any, UK tax compliance forms need to be completed on becoming UK tax resident. This may include applying for a National Insurance number if you work, and/or a Unique Taxpayer Reference number if you will need to submit a UK tax return

Work out how you will remunerate yourself once you are UK tax resident and the UK tax implications of this. If you are still performing functions outside the UK, you may consider overseas workday relief

Identify whether the remittance basis of taxation is an option (the remittance basis is UK tax regime that permits non-UK domiciled persons who live in the UK to keep their non-UK income and gains outside the UK tax net)

Consider how UK tax may impact on your personal assets and investment (for example, if you are looking to sell your French home or rent it out to supplement your income)

BUSINESS SUPPORT FROM THE CHAMBER The one-stop shop for French start-ups and SMEs setting up and developing in the UK


oving to the UK – to start up a new business or to

Services on offer:

expand your business from France into the UK – has

• 'Journée implantation' (company set-up day): an all-in-one

its challenges.

day package of tailored meetings with Franco-British experts

The French Chamber's Company Set-up & Accountancy

• Accountancy: bookkeeping, management accounts, sales

Service – as well as our dedicated Recruitment Service – can

processing and credit control, purchase and payment

help to relieve the pressure by advising you and working on

processing, bank reconciliation and group reporting

your behalf during and after your move to the UK. Last year,

• Payroll: processing payslips, payment and HR support

more than 160 companies trusted the Chamber's with their

- Registered address and phone line

accountancy, payroll and company set-up needs.

- VAT management

For more information, and to discuss your company's needs, please get in touch with Julie Sanchez, Business Support Coordinator at or on 020 7092 6606. 34 - info - march / april 2017


Your first

EMPLOYEE It is one of the hardest decisions that an entrepreneur has to make: when is the right time to hire their first employee? Arnaud de Montille, Co-Founder of personalised gift company Merci Maman, shares his story


e are often asked about what were the key

part of your 'baby', letting someone else interact with your

moments in Merci Maman’s development, and

clients, suppliers and partners.

to what extent the fact that the Duchess of

Cambridge wore one of our necklaces was a game changer. But in truth, the most important milestone that we have ever

 Right person

faced was the decision to hire our first employee in 2009 – a

Hiring an employee can be paralysing as well: your business

whole five years before our ‘Kate boom’.

becomes reliant on someone else, who likely does things

Running a business on your own or with your co-founders

differently to you and who will not have the same attachment

has many advantages, but it will limit your ability to scale up. So

to the brand. Finding someone who shares your values and

when is the right time to hire Employee Number One?

has an entrepreneurial mindset is key to appeasing your fears.

It is a difficult question, because as an entrepreneur you are always running against the clock, always putting more items on your to-do list and always seeing opportunities

Luckily, we hired a great talent then and she still works with us, having developed and taken on more responsibilities. On the business side, one easy indicator as to whether

that you cannot take advantage of. Yet whether you are on

you need to hire someone is whether you are having to turn

your own or already running a team, the size of your to-do

down work or if you do not have enough capacity to serve your

list cannot be the only factor to determine if you should hire

customers satisfactorily. It goes without saying that you should

someone to join your business.

not hire until you have adequate work for another person to

The correct answer, when considering your first employee,

handle. Forecasting future growth is always challenging, but

will more likely be a combination of personal and business

this will also help to ascertain whether you can afford to pay

factors, based on your goals.

someone else. Creating your own job was probably very satisfying.

 Right reason The reason that I mention personal reasons is because you may well wish to keep your company small and run it as a

Creating someone else's job and developing his/her talent is even more rewarding and is often the path to new business growth – and can lead to even more staff. You must also be aware of your own limits. Hiring someone

lifestyle business, where you juggle your professional life

can help you to develop a new income stream or reduce your

around your personal life (and not the other way around).

reliance on external help. While you may have a great business

This is what happened to us, initially. My wife Béatrice, Co-Founder of Merci Maman, was pregnant with our third child

idea, you are not always the best person to execute it. So do not be afraid to take the plunge and hire your first

when we decided to take a moment and think about whether

person. Of course, avoid the obvious pitfalls of looking towards

we needed to pause the business or hire someone and work

friends and family who do not have the relevant experience,

on accelerating its growth. With the business having expanded

or hiring ‘cheap’ rather than the right person. You must find

organically and profitably for two years, our answer was a

someone who shares your vision and your values.

clear 'go'. But you do always wonder, ‘what if?’ Merci Maman was still relatively small at the time and it was

Above all, remember that your first hire will be critical. There is no doubt that you will make mistakes, possibly even

still being run from our home. Bringing an employee on our

hire the wrong person or hire them at the wrong time, but

entrepreneurial adventure gave us increased responsibilities,

this will become an essential part of your growth story.

and it is also an emotional process as you are giving away a

Be bold! I AdM


- march / april 2017 - 35

Power to the people Entrepreneurs running fast-growing start-ups must put people at the heart of their growth strategy, writes Jeanne Monchovet, Founder and CEO of management consultancy Olystix and Co-Chair of the Chamber’s Start-up and SME Club


n a start-up, too much growth, too quickly, can be as

1. Fast tracking people to management roles

devastating as growing too slowly.

When companies grow quickly, people who were part of the

Fast growing start-ups often need to double, triple,

original team often get promoted into management roles. This

or even quadruple their workforce every year, sometimes

allows the company to retain its DNA at middle management

hiring hundreds of new people. Building a team with the right

levels and to establish a company culture that nurtures talent.

mindset and scaling the workforce effectively can be one of the

However, a move to management requires team members

biggest growth challenges that an entrepreneur will face on his

to step up their soft skills, and in particular learn how to

or her journey.

properly delegate, motivate, handle difficult situations and

There are difficult decisions to be made and

communicate up, down and sideways.

each choice can have a huge impact on

For young, first-time managers, it can be

whether entrepreneurs make it through

very hard to establish their credibility

that stage of growth. When you are growing this fast,

and assertiveness and manage a team of people who used to be their co-

adding new people every week, you

workers, who themselves previously

must also add additional layers

had direct access to the founders. Increasingly,

with new roles, hierarchies and processes – this can be the most difficult part. Five years after launching, as



therefore investing in developing their people just before they are promoted into a management

Google grew to 400 people, the

role. They identify ‘rising stars’

company started adding a layer of

and prepare them to grow into

managers – and Co-Founder Larry Page hated it, deciding to remove all of them overnight. Instead he wanted to revert to the early days, when there were no management layers between the CEO, Page, and the engineers. What this

leadership roles by training them and offering mentoring and coaching programmes. This works wonders, as talented millennials are hungry for learning and advancement.

meant was that he suddenly was left with one executive that

2. Hiring the best talent through a committee

had 100 engineers reporting to him. Needless to say, Page’s

Nothing is more important to growth than hiring the right

reorganisation did not last very long.

people. Needing to hire 50 or 100 new staff in a short period

The take-away from this is that start-ups cannot simply maintain the same behaviours and models as they scale.

is incredibly difficult, so the temptation can be to hire fast and relieve the pressure on existing teams.

Entrepreneurs all share the same stories: typically, after

Hiring fast rarely rhymes with hiring smart. The only way to

passing the 100-mark employees, things begin to change,

address this challenge is to design a robust, systematic hiring

including the people dynamics. People are exhausted because

process that acts as a filtering system and saves precious time.

they have put so much time and energy to get the start-up off the ground; silos begin to appear as formal departments are created and the initial genuine motivation to launch something new is replaced by worry about where the growth will lead. When overcoming these people challenges, there are four critical elements that can help achieve success.

36 - info - march / april 2017

Of course, there is no one-fits-all approach, but there is a growing trend among start-ups to use a hiring committee. Hiring committees are usually made of three to four people, often made up of the hiring manager, a key internal stakeholder who will be working closely with the new hires, a member of the executive team and a talented, neutral third

Hiring fast rarely rhymes with hiring smart. The only way to address this challenge is to design a robust, systematic hiring process that acts as a filtering system and saves precious time

party, to help provide an outsider's perspective. The committee is then tasked with developing the desired attributes of the ideal candidate and a set of scripted questions to detect the presence or absence of those attributes. Many high-growth start-ups will also specifically analyse the trends in a candidate’s profile as well as identify if there is a cultural fit with the organisation, and then use a simple scorecard that rates candidates on a scale of 1-5 against these attributes. This enables the committee to reach consensus on the best hires and reduce personal bias.

3. Maintaining the culture Company culture is usually born from the founding team’s values and communication style. When the majority of people have been with a start-up for less than one year and suddenly the organisation changes so that it is no longer made up of a core group of people who known each other intimately, challenges arise. Your culture can be easily diluted and shift in an unexpected direction. To fight back against this, some start-ups make concerted efforts to formalise their culture, for example through running regular town hall meetings where they reinforce their core values, vision and implement best practises to ensure that everyone remains on the same page.

4. Transforming from founder to CEO At the very beginning of a start-up’s journey, the founding team

the transition from founder to CEO. It is important to spend

is always very hands-on and involved in everything. Everyone

more time stepping back and thinking more strategically. How

is both a CEO and an intern at the same time. If you need

will you form your senior leadership team? How are you going

something to be done, you do it yourself.

to scale the business?

Many entrepreneurs struggle with giving up their personal involvement in every single aspect of their company. This can

We often hear that entrepreneurs are born, not made. But can the same be said about CEOs? I JM

eventually lead to pressure to replace the founder with a more experienced CEO. The skills and abilities that help a start-up entrepreneur to launch an idea are not the same as those required to maintain rapid growth. As the business becomes more complex, founders need to up their game too. They must develop their soft skills and cease being in a ‘doing’ mode all the time, in order to make

As the business becomes more complex, founders need to up their game, too. They must develop their soft skills and cease being in a "doing" mode all the time


- march / april 2017 - 37



Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO, International SOS

First launched in Singapore by Arnaud Vaissié and Dr Pascal Rey-Hermé, International SOS has grown into a billion-pound business, providing medical and travel security across the globe. Arnaud Vaissié offers his insights about the challenges going from entrepreneur to corporate CEO You co-founded International SOS in 1985, starting from

different: each country has its own way of doing business.

scratch. Today, your company employs 11,000 people

We spend a lot of time and investment in developing our

across 90 countries and you are its Chairman and CEO.

understanding of this.

Was it a struggle to transition from being a start-up

The best way to respond to the challenge is through

entrepreneur to a corporate CEO?

technology, and we have invested massively in the digitalisation

It was maybe less of a struggle for me than for others, as I had

of our business, spending 6 per cent of our annual revenues

worked for a relatively large group before creating my own

on it. What this has done is greatly help us to bring unity to

company, so I was used to corporate systems and a complex

what we do around the world.

organisation. In addition, having a Co-Founder meant that, from the very beginning, I was not alone. When you work as

As a start-up grows into a scale-up and then a larger

a team, you need to accept constraints; you don’t always get

enterprise, having the right team on board is essential.

your way in everything. So it was relatively easy for me to adapt

How did you approach this?

to the ways of a larger organisation.

Other than our medical professionals, on the corporate side

Culturally, when you are the CEO of a start-up, the

we try to sell the company to young graduates by telling them

interesting thing is that you know every single piece of the

about our purpose and what we do. We are in the business of

company – your team, your clients, your products... you

saving people’s lives, and this is our focus.

live and breathe by them. As the company grows, internal

Today’s new generation – millennials – are keener than

constraints and legacy just become part of the day-to-day life.

ever to have a sense of purpose. So when they decide to work

Today, my role is focused on innovation, identifying the

at International SOS, we make it clear that they are not joining

trends and ensuring that the company is a leader and driver

just another multinational enterprise, but an enterprise with a

in the field. Many CEOs are actually delusionary in respect to

very specific and unique goal.

innovation, believing that entrepreneurship is firmly embedded at the heart of their organisation, when it is not. Unless you

A major criticism levered at European start-up

actively push your organisation to adapt and be agile, you run

entrepreneurs today is that they sell out too quickly,

the risk of declining very rapidly.

rather than focusing on building billion-pound companies. What has kept you focused on International SOS’s growth?

International expansion has been instrumental to the

Today’s start-up world is much more finance-oriented than it

company’s growth. How have you achieved this?

used to be. The opportunities to sell one’s company at every

Becoming so international has been hugely demanding – it

single stage of development are continuous and quite often

has been our number one challenge. We are a relatively

very rewarding. So it can be difficult to push back and keep

large company, but we are present in an extraordinarily large

on going.

number of countries; this is what defines us today. It is a huge operational challenge to understand the laws, regulations and culture of each country – and each one is

38 - info - march / april 2017

Businesses come with cycles and the competition is always intense. Changes to the business are continuous. So when you constantly have the opportunity to suddenly put all of your


problems behind you, it can be tough to resist. In our case, we also have continuously been offered the

Funding is a critical component of growth for all companies, and it is important to pay attention to it and be knowledgeable.

opportunity to sell the business, ever since we started it. But

But, at the end of the day, your focus needs to be on growth –

we were very determined to build a large company so as to

the finance is just there to support it.

create a new framework for the industry. Personally, this is what I enjoy: I like being a pioneer in our field, and this is why

If you could step back in time to 1985 to give yourself

both Co-Founders have been very set on staying put. I would

advice when starting International SOS, what would it be?

strongly recommend this to everyone who can do so.

The first thing I would tell myself is to start with more funding. We started the business with very little money, and this meant

What role has external funding played in International

that our growth was slower than it could have been otherwise.

SOS’s growth?

It took us more time to get the traction that we could have

We are backed by private equity and still have external funding.

achieved with more funding available.

This is not a bad thing – it gives you funding for growth and it

The second piece of advice I would give myself is to be

makes the business more disciplined. Financiers have a strict

extraordinarily agile. We started the business with a model

approach to reporting and results, and this gives you the

that did not work, and we had to change it within the first six

discipline that you need in order to maintain your growth and

months of operation. If we had not pivoted, we would have

stay focused.

just crashed. So adaptability is critical, both to clients’ requests

However, it is extremely important for entrepreneurs to understand finance and know what they are getting into.

as well as to the market. Do not start out with a concept completely set in stone – don’t be rigid about it. I JH

INTERNATIONAL SOS: A brief history


hile working at the French Embassy in Jakarta in the early 1980s, French doctor Pascal Rey-Hermé became aware of the need to deliver international standards of healthcare to the wider expatriate community and to international organisations in the region. Together with his childhood friend Arnaud Vaissié, who had been working in the US managing a subsidiary of a large financial group, they set up a business to provide international standards of medical care and emergency medical assistance. The company, AEA International, was founded in 1985 with 15 staff, growing rapidly from its base in Singapore and Indonesia into a pan-Asian corporation, creating operating companies in Hong Kong, Australia, Japan and mainland China. In 1998, AEA International acquired International SOS Assistance, and the business was renamed International SOS. Today, the business provides medical and travel security assistance to multinationals, governments and NGOs in more than 1,000 locations across 90 countries, including 34 clinics, and it employs 11,000 people, of which 5,200 are medical professionals.


- march / april 2017 - 39

Challenging VCs

As entrepreneurs' expectations change, the venture capital industry is having to transforming itself, writes Olivier Huez, Partner at C4 Ventures. Entrepreneurs now expect more


s Paul Graham, founder of seed accelerator Y Combinator,

business angels to invest. In addition, crowdfunding platforms,

mentioned a few years ago, a start-up accelerates like a

accelerators and public grants make it possible for great teams

car: it goes through rounds of financing, taking enough

with groundbreaking ideas to raise money fairly easily.

money to reach the speed where it can shift into the next gear and then keep accelerating.

After a Series A round – and even more so for scale-ups (i.e. series B, C, and others) – the risk profile changes only gradually.

And indeed, each stage is specific and has its own challenges

Scale-up companies are unlikely to change their positioning

and strategy. It is therefore important to get the right structure

significantly, they have a good structure in place, their metrics

and, more importantly, the right investor at each stage. Starting

show the path to profitability and execution becomes the key

in fifth gear is never an optimal way to reach 100 mph!

driver for success.

One step at a time

be known by investors. The number of funds has increased and

First, it is now easy to start a company in most countries – and

there are, by our count, more than 500 VC firms in Europe alone,

especially in the UK. For young people, creating or joining a start-

not to mention that many American VCs also invest in Europe

up is even the new ‘sexy’. In a 2016 survey, 60 per cent of young

from Series B onward. As a result, these days, entrepreneurs are

people aged 18-29 said they wanted to become entrepreneurs.

often in a situation where they can choose their investor, creating

The top universities have understood this really well, and as a

a demand/offer imbalance in favour of the entrepreneurs.

result there are more than 230 Masters in Entrepreneurship offered across Europe. Before fundraising for a Series A – i.e. raising funds before

In addition, at this stage, most talented entrepreneurs will

The best entrepreneurs choose their investors

revenues have reached €1m per year – a European start-up

Some of these entrepreneurs will be tempted to raise money

typically will raise up to €1m in funding. At this stage, it is

at a much higher valuation. This has happened in Europe to

important to lay the foundation for future rounds and begin to

some extent, but even moreso in the US. Doing this allows the

get into the discipline of following unit economics – that is, where

founding team to retain a larger share of their business.

revenues and costs associated with a particular business model

Rather than focusing just on the money, the smartest

are expressed on a per-unit basis (for example, where each user

entrepreneurs choose a VC firm that will make a difference to

is a unit).

their business and help them to accelerate on the path to deliver

This type of financing has become more available than a few

their vision. These entrepreneurs are after more than a just one-

years ago and there are a few factors to thank for this. In the UK,

to-one relationship with an experienced partner who has a vast

SEIS (Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme) and EIS (Enterprise

network of relationships – they want pragmatic support, rather

Investment Scheme) represent extraordinary incentives for

than simply introductions.

The market is progressively changing and new funds are emerging that have a clear focus, either in terms of sector or business model 40 - info - march / april 2017


Accelerating growth often means negotiating the best

(early-stage hardware) or Notion Capital (Software as a Service).

contract, rather than being introduced to a great lawyer. It

At C4 Ventures, we chose three themes: smart hardware, the

means coming up with an innovative pricing structure thanks

future of commerce and digital media.

to a lengthy brainstorm session with an executive who has

Having a focus allows funds to perform their due diligence

experience in the same sector. It can also mean being coached

more quickly and be much more relevant for the start-ups that

on how to recruit your next head of sales, rather than being put

they invest in. In addition, conveniently for these funds’ Limited

in touch with a top recruiting firm.

Partners, specialised funds return, on average, 6 percentage

The future of venture capital

points higher than generalist funds. An investment partner, whatever his or her experience

A few months ago, an article in Forbes listed the 10 European

and skills, cannot cover all subjects and all of the challenges

VCs that entrepreneurs most want to raise funding from. When

a company can face, and the people in their network usually

highlighting what makes these funds unique, it was never about

cannot dedicate the time to fully understand what is at stake.

what they can actually do for the entrepreneurs. Interestingly,

There is a need, therefore, for VC fund managers to give up

most VCs in Europe – who are constantly looking for disruption –

some of their management fees in order to recruit key operating

haven’t changed their ways of working much.

executives who, without substituting employees, can bring their

For a VC firm, there are two ways to address the

expertise, experience, preferred suppliers and own network.

entrepreneur's expectations and therefore be their chosen

In this way, the entrepreneur that the fund works with can benefit

partner: vertical focus and operational support.

from the best and most qualified support whenever they need it.

Investors will never be bigger ‘experts’ than an entrepreneur

In the US, the leading VC firm, Andreessen-Horowitz,

at what they do, but as the world gets more complex, it is crucial

fundamentally changed the VC scene by introducing a new

to have a deep knowledge and specific network. The best way to

model, run by a handful of partners supported by an extensive

get that is to be focused. Most VCs repeatedly tell entrepreneurs

and specialised team of operating partners.

to focus on a handful of things and do them really well... but do they do this themselves?

In Europe, after years of telling entrepreneurs how they should run their business, VC firms that are being challenged

The market is progressively changing and new funds are

by new fund managers must now evolve to also embrace

emerging that have a clear focus, either in terms of sector or

these differentiators. This is what will strengthen the European

business model. Examples include Piton Capital (which focuses

ecosystem, much to the benefit of talented entrepreneurs and,

on marketplaces), Data Ventures (big data), Hardware Club

therefore, the wider economy. I OH

TOP TIPS for entrepreneurs Consider angels For early-stage businesses, focus your fundraising efforts on strategic business angels rather than pitching top tier VCs – always aim for the right audience so you do not waste anyone’s time.

Stay in control The start-up journey is long, therefore avoid heavy dilution

Always be open

of your company’s shares at the ‘Friends and Family’ or

Fundraising is always on, so keep meeting investors even if

seed stage. The founders’ objective should be to retain at

you do not need the money. VCs invest in lines, not in dots, so

least 50 per cent of shares when you reach Series A.

get in touch early on so that you can establish a relationship.

Be open about funding sources

Establish a relationship

At the early stage, it is often worth raising non-dilutive

Taking money from an investor remains a primarily human

funding (such as public grants), but you should do this in

relationship: you must feel comfortable working with this

conjunction with strategic investors that can teach you how

investor for at least five years. It is like choosing your most

to report to investors, force yourself to be lean, and how to

important employee without a way to get rid of them if

think in terms of KPIs and focus.

things don’t work out! I OH


- march / april 2017 - 41

A global family


French bakery PAUL’s international growth is an exemplary tale of French entrepreneurial success. INFO meets Maxime Holder, President of PAUL International


stablished in 1889 in Croix, Northern France, as a small

case in the food business. While most consumers are open

local bakery, today PAUL is one of France’s largest exports,

to enjoying international products – no one would think twice

with stores found in 36 countries across the world.

about wearing an Italian suit or driving a German car – changing

Leading the international charge is Maxime Holder, the

their food habits is much tougher.

fifth-generation baker-entrepreneur at the business’s helm. The

‘There is a larger emotional attachment to food. So if you

secret of the company’s worldwide success? Thinking global,

want to succeed in local markets, you need to win over the local

acting local. Holder’s goal for the last two decades has been to

community and meet consumers’ demands,’ Holder explains.

build a global brand, rather than an international brand.

‘I’ve always said that if you go to a new country to sell French

‘There is an important distinction between being global and

products to French expats, you’re dead. Of course, we are very

being international,’ he explains. ‘Being international means that

happy to have French customers all around the world, but

you take the same products and sell them all over the world,

winning over the local market is the key to long-term success.’

replicating your model; while being global means that your products meet the local demand, based on the local market.’ This does not mean selling local products, though: no one would expect to find fish and chips in a British PAUL, Holder quips. ‘You will always find the same rich, butter croissants in all of our stores across the world, no matter where you go. But we then ask ourselves, “What can we bring to this country, how can we adapt to fit the local market?”’ For example, Holder explains, in the US, Americans do not have a croissant or pain au chocolat with a coffee in the morning;

Holder adds that this is a lesson that PAUL learned in the 1990s, when Francis Holder – Maxime’s father, who heads Groupe HOLDER, the owner of both PAUL and Ladurée – wanted to expand into Holland and Belgium. ‘It was a failure. We didn’t last for more than a year. My parents did not consider the local market,’ Holder explains. For example, while in France many of PAUL’s shops were often found next to supermarkets – French consumers liked to buy their groceries at supermarkets and buy their bread from separate bakeries – this is not how it worked in Belgium.

they expect cookies and muffins. Holder's reaction to this was to

‘You cannot just take French products and cross the border

meet that demand, but stay true to itself by baking the products

and expect to sell them like you do in your own country.

using traditional French recipes, to retain its identity.

Misunderstanding the local culture was, I believe, the main

Understanding the local market

reason why we failed in expanding the business outside of France.’

Having an appreciation for what the local market wants is

This is also why Holder decided to move to the UK himself,

incredibly important, Holder says. But this is especially the

17 years ago, when PAUL decided to re-start its international

You will always find the same rich, butter croissants in all of our stores across the world, no matter where you go. But we then ask ourselves: What can we bring to this country, how can we adapt to fit the local market? 42 - info - march / april 2017


our roots and PAUL’s image in France, and what PAUL can bring

‘To understand another country’s culture, you need to live there,’ he says. ‘I worked with the local authorities and investment bodies to understand how the UK market works and focused solely on building the UK business.’

to their country,’ explains Holder. ‘Then they can go and adapt the model locally, with our validation.’

PAUL’s global future

It is certainly a strategy that worked: today, PAUL has

The company intends to continue its expansion into new

36 stores across the UK, which brought in close to £30m in

territories. The latest country to welcome PAUL is South Africa,

turnover last year.

with the first franchised bakery opening at the end of February.

PAUL uses the same model with its franchises. While

Holder thinks this could be the start of a new large

Groupe HOLDER has directly invested in three countries outside

international push. ’Africa is a market that has huge potential

of France – the UK, US and Singapore – the rest of PAUL’s

for us,’ he explains. ‘It’s a continent where we do not yet have a

36-country international presence is through franchised stores.

major presence, so it is my next target.’ With his drive and ambition, there is little doubt that Holder

‘When someone wants to franchise PAUL in another country, we first bring them to France so that they understand

will achieve what he sets out to do. Watch this space. I JH

I've always said that if you go to a new country to sell French products to French expats, you're dead. Of course, we are very happy to have French customers all around the world but winning over the local market is the key to long-term success

Maxime Holder:




Very often, when leading a company, you can end up

You cannot delegate ‘the war’. When there is a problem,

surrounded by employees and people who cannot be

it is you – the CEO – that needs to be in the heart of the

objective or be 100 per cent honest with you.

battle. You cannot just delegate it to your Legal Director or

It is therefore important to find mentors and sponsors

Development Director; you need to be in charge and lead.

from outside of the company who are not your friends and

who can be totally free to speak. It is important to have


people that can tell you the truth about how you are acting

In the fast-moving internet world, being physically

and give you an unbiased opinion of your decisions and

connected to others is important. When you have a


problem, do not just email or message them; go and meet them in person.


Whenever I have an issue with one of our partners, I

Focus is vital to success: if you try to do too many things

always take the plane to go and meet them face to face in

at one time, you will lose yourself.

order to solve the problem. This reduces the risk of things

One of the mistakes that I made early in my career was

being lost in translation and allows you to re-establish the

to try and expand both in the US and in Singapore at


the same time – it left me stuck in between the two, in a challenging position. Even if you’re running a large company, you need to focus on one project at a time to get it right.


- march / april 2017 - 43

Money, money, money Fast growth requires fast money. Serge Harry from London Stock Exchange Group tells INFO why the European finance market needs to catch up with other continents


here is no question that

are prepared to invest for the long term,

US, which is much more accepting of

entrepreneurs run the engines that

allowing companies to focus on growth

entrepreneurial risk (and even failure),

will power Europe’s future growth.

and innovation, rather than on repaying

only 20 per cent of total financing of

Across the EU, high-growth SMEs provide

banking loans. Investors deliberately

corporates stems from debt. The rest,

almost 60 per cent of gross value added

take risk by investing in entrepreneurs’

80 per cent, is equity finance. In Europe,

(GVA) and 90 million jobs – that is around

fast growing business, with the

it is the opposite: 80 per cent of total

two-thirds of total employment across

expectation of high returns further

corporate finance comes from debt.

the 28 EU countries.

down the line,’ he explains.

‘These companies are already at

This is why LSEG has created its

‘Our role, as a stock exchange, is to

two-year ELITE Growth Programme,

the centre of job creation; and this

facilitate access to appropriate growth

where it works with 500 scale-ups in

must continue in the future,’ says Serge

funding for businesses.’

25 countries to help them prepare and

Harry, Chief of Staff to the Group CEO of

structure for their next stage of growth,

London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG),

Debt vs equity

Country Head for France, Benelux and

However, Europe must first improve

Germany and a member of LSEG’s

how companies are financed, Harry

Executive Committee.

warns. Currently, 95 per cent of the total

are creating and growing businesses

helping them to access long-term financing opportunities. At a time when entrepreneurs

amount of SME financing depends on

seemingly faster than ever before,

in Europe comes from ambitious fast-

debt, such as bank loans or bonds, which

the issue of finance is vital to support

growing companies, which is why it is so

creates a risk-averse environment.

their long-term success, on which the

‘A very large majority of job creation

important to focus on supporting not

‘When your company is at an early

European economy and its jobs depend.

only start-ups, but also scale-ups, the

stage, equity is the most appropriate

job creators of tomorrow.’

form of funding – not debt,’ explains

environment that depends on debt, to

Harry. ‘Equity finance, in its very

a world where more long-term patient

shows that a boost of just 1 per cent

nature, is risk capital, which allows

equity capital is available,’ explains

to the UK’s scale-up population would

entrepreneurs to grow faster than when

Harry. 'This applies to start-ups but also

drive an additional 238,000 jobs in the

they are financed by debt.’

to more mature businesses. When you

This is proven by research that

UK and add £38bn to GVA within three

Europe urgently needs to switch

‘We need to move from an

are confident your business can grow

years. LSEG has developed a strategy

from subsidising the deductibility of

steadily, accessing financing should be

to support scale-ups' innovation and to

interest to a situation where more long-

the main focus for CEOs,' says Harry.

finance their growth.

term patient equity capital is available.

What does is the key need for scaleups? Patient equity capital, says Harry. ‘These companies require equity capital that is “patient”, where investors



44 - info - march / april 2017

‘When you look at tomorrow’s

The tax regime on equity – taxed four

scale-ups, they depend on fast growth.

times – makes it 40 per cent more

We want to help them raise the finance

expensive than debt.

that they need in order to achieve

There is also a cultural divide. In the





their ambitions.’ I JH

These companies require equity capital that is "patient", where investors are prepared to invest for the long term, allowing companies to focus on growth and innovation, rather than on repaying banking loans



Scaling up is one of the trickiest growth phases that a start-up will face. But what does it mean for the founder-CEO, asks Warwick Hill, CEO-in-Residence and MD of Microsoft Accelerator London


ust consider this scenario: it is a

your company (whether you are at the

two key elements to the business: a

lovely sunny day and you wake up

head of it or not).

strong vision statement and a senior




There is therefore no shame in

the future, having survived the last

stepping sideways and bringing in

In essence, this is what we do at

year raising money and on-boarding

a seasoned executive to scale and

Microsoft Accelerator London. Alongside

customers. You feel great and you are

exit. Indeed, a smaller percentage of

our industry-leading mentors and in-

ready to take on the next stage of your

something tangible is greater than a

house technology experts, we provide a

journey, scaling up. Many entrepreneurs

larger percentage of nothing.

zero-equity, scale-up program to enable

have had this feeling – but many have

management team.

founders to achieve their business goals

ended up with mixed results. Scaling

Good CEOs learn to delegate

is hard to do, which is why many



their vision, attract investment and

companies fail.

significant mentality change for the

mature their technology solutions to

To scale, you need clients, but to

founder as they move from multi-tasking

support their global ambitions.

‘blitz-scale’ you need networks of clients.

and micromanaging to delegating roles

This is essential. The Founder must

Clients are the lifeblood of any scaling

and responsibilities to trusted members

present a clear vision statement that all

company and are the true validation

of their team.

staff understand and buy into. This same




safely. We help the founders articulate

of the founder’s idea. They provide the

One such unsung hero of any

vision statement helps to galvanise a

necessary stresses on both the founder

scaling company is the CEO’s mentor

senior leadership team, where members

and the business which starts the

or Chairman, who can help the founder

can act both individually, as industry

maturing process.

to navigate the growing complexities

specialists, and collectively as the senior

of customer interactions and team

management team, thus enabling the


founder to remove themselves as the

Surprisingly, many entrepreneurs never ask themselves, ‘What happens if my idea takes off?’ – they often dream

As the start-up matures into a scale-

about it, but few ever really question

up, it is vital for the Founder to build

bottleneck and making their company a success. I WH

themselves about how they would react to it. Yet this is paramount, as the effect on a company is huge. Just think about what the effect would be of adding 15 enterprise clients to the tech stack, to your customer service and support requirements, to team morale, data compliance, hiring... The list goes on and on; success affects the whole company.

Stay or leave? When





challenges emerge all the time which add complexity to the operational stability of the company. It is during this maturing phase that founders either step up as CEO or they reach their limit. There is no shame at reaching one’s limit; it is usually only one’s ego that screams and suffers. As the Founder and majority shareholder of your company, your ultimate goal should be to achieve growth and eventually successfully exit

When a company matures, new challenges emerge all the time which add complexity to the operational stability of the company. It is during this maturing phase that founders either step up as CEO or they reach their limit info

- march / april 2017 - 45

David and Goliath By working together – rather than against one another – small and large firms can enable each other to successfully grow and develop, writes Antoine Baschiera, CEO of Early Metrics, the first pan-European rating agency for start-ups



t is a truth universally acknowledged that a single corporate in

dematerialised technologies alongside the rise of the internet

possession of a good fortune must be in want of a start-up.’

and its wide broadcast of knowledge has had one primary

Granted, this innovative twist to Jane Austen’s most famous

impact: expertise and tech skill sets are not exclusive to large

opening might sound odd, but you get the point. The British and

and established organisations anymore; they are increasingly

French start-up ecosystems have grown in maturity in the last

moving to smaller entities.

few years: just a decade ago, start-ups and corporates saw each other as competitors.

Large corporations aware of this trend have reacted by launching a new model: open innovation, where interactions

Today, collaboration increasingly prevails, much to the

with other sources of innovation are promoted. If direct

benefit of both corporates and start-ups. What is the premise

collaboration with start-ups is an obvious part of it, we can also

of this new relationship – and what are the best practices to

mention crowdsourcing / engineering or intrapreneurship.

follow for a successful relationship between entrepreneurs and corporates.

An interesting consequence of open innovation is the multiplication of innovation drivers. Whereas R&D departments

The end of internal corporate innovation?

of tech-heavy sectors such as IT, automotive and defence used to be the leaders in innovation, nowadays, industries such as

Nokia, Motorola and Kodak are well known by 30+ year olds,

FMCG (Fast-Moving Consumer Goods), luxury or tourism also

but far less by millennials. Why? These corporations died (or

come up with disruptive innovation. This is because today’s

nearly died) because of extremely brutal technology shifts that

innovation does not depend only on internal tech skills, but

they did not foresee, integrate, lead, or even accept: for Kodak,

more on having an entrepreneurial mindset.

distrust in digital photo, for Motorola, non consideration of the 3G protocol, for Nokia, the rise of touch screens.

Complementary skills

For larger corporates, a unique technological change

In this context, let’s examine what corporates and start-ups

can have a dreadful impact, which is why they need to be as

each bring to the table when collaborating, and how these

perceptive as possible to market trends and consumers' needs

contributions can be balanced to make for a fair partnership.

if they are to survive innovation cataclysms. Entrepreneurialism

Very simply, start-ups bring skills, tech, consumer insights and a vision of what the world might be in the future. Corporates,

is vital. Trend changes are increasingly speedy, challenging internal

on the other hand, provide access to distribution channels and

corporate departments to keep up. Furthermore, while

global market understanding, investment capabilities, credibility

innovation was once limited to the R&D departments of large

and a vision of what the world is today.

corporations, individual inventors and institutional players such

It is clear from this list that corporates require start-ups to

as universities and their research centres, it is now much easier

stay relevant, but given how resource intensive some scale-up

for lean structures to access the resources needed to create

steps are (industrialisation, internationalisation, access to large


consumers markets, etc), it is also clear that many start-ups




46 - info - march / april 2017





could not grow without corporates.


Very simply, start-ups bring skills, tech, consumer insights and a vision of what the world might be in the future. Corporates, on the other hand, provide access to distribution channels and global market understanding, investment capabilities, credibility and a vision of what the world is today Additionally, until recently, receiving significant cash from investors such as venture capitalists was the only way to deploy. Strong partnerships with corporates are now an alternative route that a growing number of entrepreneurs are taking.

Rise of B2B2C

partnering with an automotive firm or a social media company partnering with a publisher to boost their growth. Market access is thus often what corporates bring to startups, rather than the other way around, but even this trend is changing quickly. If established corporations tend to have strong access to

Partnering with corporates as direct clients (the B2B model)

their traditional user base, it is not always the case in emerging

or to access clients (the B2B2C model) is becoming a strategic

segments or specific niches.

deployment route that more and more are adopting. For

Millennials or foreign workers are excellent examples

example, in the start-ups rated by Early Metrics:

of market segments that large corporations can reach

- 69 per cent directly target large corporates as clients

out to more easily by collaborating with a start-up. Recent

- Out of the 30 per cent targeting customers, nearly one-third

partnerships include: large banks partnering with early-stage

collaborate with corporates as distribution partners.

remittance start-ups to offer light banking services to foreign

For a start-up that is scaling, the logic is straightforward:

workers or FMCG brands working closely with young social

while raising a large amount of equity is not always possible,

media ventures to gain access to a specific audience – again,

relying on existing customer bases – thanks to B2B2C routes or

usually millennials.

distribution agreements – presents a unique, and sometimes more sustainable, option. It now makes sense to see an innovative health start-

These B2B2C or B2B2B strategies are at the heart of what makes the corporate/start-up relationship so central in today’s and tomorrow’s economy. I AB

up partnering with an insurance firm, a telematics start-up

FIVE TIPS for a successful corporate / start-up relationship Corporates and start-ups have different – if not

 Don’t think of corporates as investors

completely opposite – DNAs. How can you ensure that a

And corporates, don’t act like one – you are partners and

collaboration will be successful?

both sides can benefit from working with one another.

 Appoint a project manager

 Understand when to say ‘no’

You need to have someone who will take responsibility

Speak openly about the potential outcomes if the

for the progress of the partnership on both ends. Regular

partnership succeeds – or fails. What would be the next

communication and follow-ups will help to avoid surprises,

steps? A clear definition of the potential outcomes can help

as well as keep expectations closer to the operational

to avoid litigation further down the line.


 Agree on common, adequate KPIs

 Be empathetic A corporate/start-up partnership is similar to a new

To avoid disappointment, make sure that KPIs are relevant

business venture, where customer service and human

to both the start-up and the corporate partner’s strategies

interactions are important on both ends in order

and internal goals.

to establish a long-term relationship. Invest time in understanding your stakeholders. I AB


- march / april 2017 - 47


corporate culture Liz Anderton, Associate Director at KPMG Enterprise, looks at how corporates businesses can themselves embrace entrepreneurship


In a world where innovation influences nearly everything we

entrepreneurial mindset throughout the business, from the

do and gives us access to products and services at the click

board level down.

of a button, we are fast learning that it does not pay to sit still.

Times are changing and this is particularly evident in the world

Why do it?

of business.

In the words of the industrial pioneer Henry Ford, ‘Coming

No longer is it deemed idealistic to label oneself as an entrepreneur. In fact, it’s much the opposite – there is now recognition that no matter what size your business, everyone

together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.’ Opening the door to collaboration is not always easy.

can learn from thinking and behaving with the innovation and

However, many start-up businesses – particularly those

energy of an entrepreneur.

with disruptive technology – will no doubt become your

It is this moving of the needle that has resulted in many large corporates having to rethink their strategy. Becoming more innovative and being comfortable in adopting a more entrepreneurial mindset is now viewed as essential. So how is

competitors in the future. Far better to work with them than against them. At KPMG, we are involved in a number of programmes working with and supporting start-up businesses and believe

it done?

Entrepreneurial behaviours The first step for corporates in transforming their culture is to learn the behaviours of an entrepreneur. Successful entrepreneurs are agile, wired to seek new opportunities,

No matter what size your business, everyone can learn from thinking and behaving with the innovation and energy of an entrepreneur

willing to take risks, continuously pursue opportunities and have an understanding of their own strengths as well as

that these relationships are starting to ignite a cultural

their limitations.

shift within our own business. Staff who mentor fledgling

Many corporates will look to their own industry and consider what others have done already. Some businesses are starting accelerators or seeking complimentary alliances with organisations that work

businesses are inspired by the pace at which they can make decisions or change course, and are bringing similar ideas and plenty of energy back to their offices. Corporates that get this right can expect to see new skills,

with start-up businesses. Others are creating their own

such as flexible thinking and rapid response to changing

entrepreneurial teams or opening co-working office spaces

demands, manifesting in their own staff. It is these kinds of

to rub shoulders with innovative businesses. Another route

competencies that large corporates often find difficult to

is to hire proven specialists who can help improve the

develop through training programmes alone.

48 - info - march / april 2017


Having an entrepreneurial culture can also make a

and growing a business.

corporate firm’s position in the external job market more

Yet the benefits are clearly not one-sided, either. For the

attractive, particularly to the millennial generation. Now, more

typical small or fast-growing business, the opportunity to

than ever, employees are looking for that little bit extra from

learn and work with large companies can provide the support

their career. Having the ability to offer attractive opportunities

of more structured processes, often opening up broader

to curious, innovative, flexible thinkers graduating in 2017 and

networks and enabling a stronger route to market.

beyond is important in helping employers to recruit – and crucially, retain – the best talent available.

While this type of collaboration is still relatively new, we should expect to see an increase in these arrangements and

Working with entrepreneurs can also give corporate

alliances. When executed well, to the benefit of both parties,

employees a hands-on experience, leading to a much greater

working together can prove to be both hugely enlightening and

appreciation of the challenges and pitfalls of building, running

rewarding. I LA

Working with entrepreneurs can give corporate employees a hands-on experience, leading to a much greater appreciation of the challenges and pitfalls of building, running and growing a business

TOP TIPS for larger businesses 1

Open the door to collaboration – it can be hard for small companies to interact with

larger businesses. Sharing support and knowledge can result in a huge development leap for both sides.


Understand differences in culture and embrace them – being exposed to hugely

energetic entrepreneurs can challenge the corporate way of thinking. Make the most of this opportunity to learn and experience the freedom of thought!


Understand the needs of smaller businesses and entrepreneurs – work with them,

not against them. Consider practicalities such as reducing payment terms for them. While this may not be the norm for the large corporate, this could be a potential deal maker for a smaller business.


Prepare to be inspired – with entrepreneurship comes passion! Working with

individuals driven by the determination to succeed can be incredibly infectious and inspiring to others.


Embrace your millennials and those with a passion for entrepreneurship – by

finding enthusiastic and driven members of your business to push this initiative forward and build these relationships, you will soon find that their excitement for this work is contagious. I LA


- march / april 2017 - 49



Three steps to success Creating intrapreneurs – where employees are in-house entrepreneurs – can be difficult to do in large corporate firms. But, writes Tanuja Randery, Zone President UK and Ireland at Schneider Electric, it is well worth the effort


ntrepreneurship is no longer

intrapreneurship a challenge. Here are a

to take risks and try new things. When

reserved for those with dreams of

few tips on how to make it work.

something does not go to plan – as

running their own business. Today,

it inevitably will – I ask my employees

more than ever, big business needs

Disrupt the ranks and topple silos

more intrapreneurs.

Large organisations can quickly become

understand why. Celebrate wins,

homogenous with multiple silos and a

but still congratulate those who fail.

mistake, but a hybrid of the words

‘we’ve always done it this way’ approach.

Holding ‘lessons learned’ sessions can

‘internal’ and ‘entrepreneur’. An

Do not be afraid to shake things up.

be invaluable – learning from failure

intrapreneur is a forward-thinking

Hire new talent that think, act and look

is what drives innovation and creates

individual within a large corporation

different to the company norm. The

better leaders.

who turns ideas into profitable finished

introduction of these evangelists and

products through assertive risk-taking

change agents will inspire a fresh wave

and innovation.

of thinking and give innovation a boost.

No, ‘intrapreneur’ is not a spelling

We are seeing start-ups disrupt

Silos are a major barrier to

to take a step back and to try and

Create space to think but apply ruthless prioritisation In today’s fast-paced environment,

business across all industries with

innovation and create a huge amount of

finding the time or head-space to think

innovative ideas and new business

inefficiency within large organisations.

creatively can be a challenge. However,

models that simply did not exist 10

Set up project teams from across the

this time is required to develop

years ago. Take Uber or AirBnB as

business to stimulate collaboration

innovative ideas and products. When

examples, both have adopted entirely

(gamifying it is a way to bring a bit

planning team resource, be sure to allow

new approaches and created massive

of fun to the process). At Schneider,

some free time to allow teams the space

disruption within their respective

we regularly hold an event dubbed

to think, create and innovate.

To get the whole organisation innovating, it is important to create an environment in which risk taking is encouraged and failure is accepted, not scorned Thinking space is essential, but

industries. Large corporates can no

‘Schneider Is On Trophies’, where

longer afford to be complacent, they

teams are challenged to find new ideas

without clear focus, it can quickly

must continue to innovate – and at a

to solve existing problems. They are

become inefficient. Leaders should offer

pace that matches the hungry start-ups

given time to develop the ideas and an

a clear framework for teams to work

chomping at their heels.

area to focus on, these ideas are then

within. In large organisations, where

judged by a jury with the winners being

hundreds of projects are on the go at

intrapreneurship. Innovation at every

rewarded and celebrated internally and

any one time, the key is actually to do

level is our core mission and we want

the best turned into active projects for

less. Apply ruthless prioritisation to keep

our 185,000 employees to be invested

the business.

attention trained on those projects that

At Schneider Electric, we encourage

in the direction of the company and to

will deliver the best return.

be constantly thinking about how we

Encourage a culture of risk taking

can innovate. We invest £1.6bn in R&D

To get the whole organisation innovating,

about thinking differently, taking risks

each year and in 2016 this enabled us to

it is important to create an environment

and collaborating with the wider team

release 365 new products to the market.

in which risk taking is encouraged and

to drive the business forward. So, make

failure is accepted, not scorned.

sure that you add the word intrapreneur

However, in large, publicly-held organisations, the structure and quarterly profit focus can make fostering 50 - info - march / april 2017

Failure at any stage is inevitable, so foster a space where teams feel safe

Ultimately, being an intrapreneur is

to your vocabulary today – it will serve you in good stead. I TR


Building an entrepreneurdriven economy Many countries aspire to build their economy around entrepreneurs, whose fast-growing businesses create jobs and wealth for the nation. Philippe Chalon, Managing Director of French thinktank Cercle d’outreManche and Director of External Affairs at International SOS, looks at what France can learn from the UK


ob and wealth creation, especially in countries such as

enjoys factual advantages over London (for instance, the annual

France and the United Kingdom, are largely driven by SMEs

rental cost per square meter is twice as cheap in Paris), French

and scale-ups. These new jobs are mainly created by young

start-ups are undercapitalised as soon as they are created,

companies – typically less than four or five years of age.

having fewer business angels available to tap for funding, which

This is, in fact, true for most developed countries. Indeed, over the past 25 years, virtually all net job creation in the United States has been provided by companies that were created less than five years ago.

Seed funding

leads to smaller amounts being raised annually (over £3.4bn in the UK against £1.5bn in France).

Political drive Can political leaders better allocate national resources so as to foster scale-up creation? A recent study, jointly published by

The success of a start-up, however, is closely linked to its kick-

Deloitte and Nesta, shows that 1 per cent more scale-ups would

off speed: young companies with the most promising funding

represent no less than 150,000 new jobs by 2034 and a £225bn

are endowed with strong growth potential right from the start.

gain for the British economy.

Conversely, when a business starts off with a lack of capital,

In the UK, the government, political leaders, trade unions,

it never really catches up, remaining extremely vulnerable to

universities, think tanks... all work in the same direction, with

its competitors.

the same objective: to design, support and expand the finest

This is especially true for tech start-ups during their first year on the market. Better funded from the seed stage, in

entrepreneurial environment in order to boost job creation for today and tomorrow.

comparison with their French counterparts, British start-ups

There are therefore a number of cues that France

have a 95 per cent survival rate after two years of activity (75

could take from the United Kingdom in order to improve its

per cent for innovative French SMEs).

entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Overall, it would seem that the UK economic environment

For example, it could set up a fiscal package inspired by

makes things easier for entrepreneurs. From competitive

the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), which would stimulate

fiscal incentives to labour market flexibility and a pro-business

higher individual investments. It could also revise its corporate

administration, all of these make a significant contribution to

tax rate downwards – the actual tax rate paid by French

the British entrepreneurial effort.

companies is equal to 33 per cent in France versus 20 per cent

On the whole, start-ups grow more soundly and more quickly than in France, by a three-to-one ratio. While Paris

in the United Kingdom. Or it could even work to attract the best talent with a new, improved form of Entrepreneur Visa.


- march / april 2017 - 51

In the UK, the government, political leaders, trade unions, universities, think tanks... all work in the same direction, with the same objective: to design, support and expand the finest entrepreneurial ecosystem in order to boost job creation for today and tomorrow French election: A time for change? There is a lot that could be improved in France to create the

get smarter: we must allow our entrepreneurs and our

right environment, should the right political will be present.

universities to work together and promote tech innovation.

To a greater extent, the French presidential election in May

At the heart of an entrepreneurial economy is the ability to

could actually be the right time to remind our political leaders

foster innovative start-ups, which in turn boosts job creation

that today’s advanced economies live or die by their ability to

and then creates economic growth. I PC

Start-ups, scale-ups, scalers and unicorns

France (2015)

UK (2015)

Start-ups 20,000


Scale-ups 205


Scalers 6


Unicorns 1


Source: Cercle d'outre-Manche

Start-up funding in France and in the UK (2015) 700


600 3

500 400


300 200


100 0

0 Number of start-ups funded by VCs

Amount raised (ÂŁbn) France Source: OCDE (2014), The Dynamics of Employment Growth: New Evidence from 18 Countries

52 - info - march / april 2017


When it comes to starting or growing a business, time is extremely precious. Your focus is entirely on turning your idea into action. But sometimes you need a little bit of inspiration or advice. Knowing which books, podcasts or videos that are truly worth your time can be a challenge. With this in mind, INFO's Noorie Haroon presents the most-respected and popular media that get to the heart of entrepreneurship



Eric Ries: The Lean Startup (2009) The Lean Startup offers a new approach to business that is being adopted globally. It is changing the way that companies are built and how new products are launched. Rather than extolling the need for a grand vision, this book discusses the nuts and bolts and busywork that are a big part of starting a business.

How I built this from NPR How does one seek inspiration? For some, a book might be the answer, but it’s not for everyone. The next time you go for a run or on a long commute, download a handful of episodes of How I built this from NPR, a podcast about the bestknown innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists, and the stories behind the empires they constructed. Listen here:

Stephen Covey: 7 Habits of a Highly Effective People (1989) This 1989 classic may seem little outdated given the technological changes we have seen since then, particularly with the introduction of the internet, mobile phones, social media. However, with penetrating insights and anecdotes, Covey reveals a timeless pathway for living with principles that give us the security to adapt in a rapidly-changing world. Guy Kawasaki: The Art of the Start 2.0 (2011) Whether you're an aspiring entrepreneur, small-business owner, or just plain curious, winnowing through the mound of information and advice on disruptive innovation can seem like a daunting task. In his book, Kawasaki solves that problem by distilling decades of experience into a fundamental guide on the key steps any entrepreneur would need to succeed.

CONTEMPORARY BESTSELLERS Ben Horowitz: The Hard Things about Hard Things (2014) If you’re a budding entrepreneur, and want to read an unequivocal account of what it takes to build a successful start-up, then look no further. Based on writing borrowed from his popular blog, Horowitz offers essential advice on the logistics of starting a business—practical wisdom for managing the trickiest problems that business school doesn’t teach. Ashlee Vance: Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future (2015) A reading list would not be complete without mention of Elon Musk, widely accepted to be one of the most important entrepreneurs of our generation. In her book, Vance chronicles the life and times of Musk, tracing his life from childhood up to the time he spent at Zip2 and PayPal, and now with SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity. Along the way, she tells a compelling story of an extraordinary man driven by his unrelenting passion for humanity. A must-read.

TED TALKS ‘How great leaders inspire action’ by Simon Sinek An uplifting and inspiring talk by Sinek who, using his codified concept of the ‘Golden Circle’, brilliantly explains why some organisations and leaders are able to inspire action. An absolute mustwatch for entrepreneurs; it is guaranteed to change the way that you look at what you do. Watch here:

‘The single biggest reason why startups succeed’ by Bill Gross Bill Gross attempts to quantify all the reasons why one start-up might be more successful than another. As a serial entrepreneur and a mentor for other start-ups, Gross offers unique advice on unlocking human potential. Watch here:


- march / april 2017 - 53


ROYA L O PER A H O USE, LO N D O N Madama Butterfly


Giacomo Puccini was entranced by David Belasco’s play Madame Butterfly (based on a popular short story by John Luther Long) when he saw it in London in 1900. He harnessed the talents of librettists Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa (with whom Puccini had created La bohème and Tosca) to adapt Cio-Cio-San’s tragic tale for the operatic stage. Although the premiere at La Scala, Milan, in 1904 was poorly received, that same year Puccini revised and restaged the opera for performances in Brescia, to great acclaim. Madama Butterfly quickly became a hugely popular opera with performers and audiences alike, and remains one of Puccini’s most performed works. Now at the Royal Opera House, in co-production with Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona, Royal Opera Music Director Antonio Pappano and Conductor Renato Balsadonna conduct two great casts led by Ermonela Jaho and Ana María Martínez. This is the fifth revival of Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier's 2003 production. On 30 March, the performance will be relayed live to all good cinemas for those not lucky enough to find tickets for the run at the Royal Opera House. I 23 March at 12 noon; 27 and 30 March at 7.30pm; 4, 7, 10, 13, 17, 22, 25 April at 7.30pm, 20 April at 12.30pm / Tickets available from £92

N AT U R A L H I S TO RY M USEU M , LO N D O N Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award From intimate portraits to dramatic landscapes, the 52nd Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is open at the Natural History Museum, showcasing photographers’ passion for the natural world. This year’s competition was the most competitive to date, © Audun Rikardsen / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

attracting almost 50,000 entries from professionals and amateurs across 95 countries. Judged by a panel of international experts. Winning images are selected for their creativity, originality and technical excellence. The exhibition premieres in London each year before touring more than 60 cities in the UK and across the world. The exhibition features the collection of 100 exceptional images that showcase the world’s best nature photography. I Until September 2017 / Open daily from 10am to 6pm / £10.50 54 - info - march / april 2017

Audun Rikardsen


Compiled by Noorie Haroon


The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945 is the first major UK exhibition to focus on Japanese domestic architecture from the end of the Second World War to now, a field which has consistently produced some of the most influential and extraordinary examples of modern and contemporary design. In the wake of the war, the widespread devastation of Tokyo and other cities in Japan brought an urgent need for new housing, and the single family house quickly became the foremost site for architectural experimentation and debate. In the years following, Japanese architects have consistently used their designs to propose radical critiques of society and innovative solutions to changing lifestyles. Considering developments in residential architecture in the light of important shifts in the Japanese economy, urban landscape, and family structure, The Japanese House presents

© Photo by Iwan Baan

The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945

Sou fujimoto architects, House NA, Tokyo, Japan 2011

some of the most exciting architectural projects of the last 70 years, many of which have never before been exhibited in the UK. I 23 March to 25 June 2017 / Open daily from 10am to 6pm, until 9pm on Thursday and Friday / £14.50


This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see one of the world’s greatest private collections of photography drawn from the classic modernist period of the 1920s–50s. An incredible group of Man Ray portraits are exhibited together for the first time, having been brought together by Sir Elton John over the past 25 years, including portraits of Matisse, Picasso, and Breton. With over 70 artists and nearly 150 rare vintage prints on show, from seminal figures including Brassai, Imogen Cunningham, André Kertész, Dorothea Lange, Tina Modotti, and Aleksandr Rodchenko, this is a chance to take a peek inside Elton John’s home and delight in seeing such masterpieces of photography. Our top tip is to make sure you make the most of your visit by using the audio guide, which features Sir Elton John on the works that inspire him, plus insights into the techniques and innovations of the period from Curator Shoair Glass Tears by Man Ray 1923. Photograph, Mavlian. I Until 21 May 2017. Open daily from 10am to 6pm, until 10pm on gelatin silver print on paper Friday and Saturday / £16.50

© Man Ray Trust/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2016 The Sir Elton John Photography Collection

The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection

B RI T I SH A NT I Q U E D E A L ERS’ AS SO C I AT I O N, LO N D O N BADA Antiques Fine Art Fair 2017

15-21 March 2017 / Open daily from 11am to 6pm / £20

© John Adams Fine Art

The BADA Antiques Fine Art Fair is the country’s leading national art and antiques Fair. For over 20 years, the fair has been the spring highlight for the fine art, design and antiques community, showcasing beautiful objects of outstanding quality from 100 of the UK’s finest dealers who are part of the British Antique Dealers’ Association (BADA). The week-long event offers collectors, curators, art professionals and interior designers from across the world the chance to meet BADA dealers, benefit from their extensive expertise and purchase exceptional pieces of traditional, modern and contemporary art and antiques. Set in elegant and spacious, purpose-built pavilions on Duke of York Square, off of King's Road in Chelsea, the fair offers the perfect place to spend a day seeing – and possibly purchasing – wonderful antiques and works of art. I Le Miel et Le Lait by André Masson


- march / april 2017 - 55




oming to the Charing Cross Theatre for a three-month run starting on 10 April, The Braille Legacy tells the thrilling, inspirational and epic story of Louis Braille, a young blind boy who wanted the same chances in life as those who see, and who ended up improving the lives of millions

of blind people around the world. By inventing the Braille alphabet, Louis Braille liberated the 'People of the Night' and introduced literacy, knowledge and culture to a people who were otherwise trapped. The Braille Legacy has an original French book, lyrics and music by Sébastien Lancrenon and Jean-Baptiste Saudray, and an English translation by Ranjit Bolt. Directed by Thom Southerland (Ragtime, Titanic, Grey Gardens), the cast is headed by Olivier Award-nominated West End star Jérôme Pradon (Les Misérables, Miss Saigon). INFO sits down with Sébastien Lancrenon to discover more.

What is The Braille Legacy?

The Braille Legacy is a beautiful story of determination, courage and generosity. It tells the story of a fight for liberty, equality and fraternity; of the values of France.

How did you decide to write this musical?

I knew the history of Louis Braille, but I wanted to tell a good story that would entertain people. With Louis Braille’s story, I knew I had all of the ingredients that I needed. Music has been my life for many years [until recently, Lancrenon was the Director of Radio Classique in France]. In life, we all need to dare to follow our passions, and that’s what I’m doing.

Why are you staging this in London, rather than Paris?

London is the world capital of musical theatre, both for audiences and for professional talent. There is nowhere else in the world like it. If you’re a skier, you live in the Alps; if you work in musical theatre, you live in London. Creating a


musical is an epic undertaking; we’ve assembled an incredible team who believe in the show and its story and I am confident that it will be told with the highest quality.

What are your aspirations for The Braille Legacy?

We have three goals: we want to introduce our work to the West End; create word of mouth and get audience feedback; and to attract investors for our subsequent transfer to the West End.

What is the investment opportunity?

All of the development and the Charing Cross production has already been financed. Musical theatre is a strong business opportunity as it is a growing market. We would like to share The Braille Legacy with investors – both British and French. Producing a musical in London is expensive, but the potential for profits is very high and can last a lifetime. What is fantastic about London is that when a show works, it keeps on working. I The Braille Legacy will run at the Charing Cross Theatre from Monday 10 April to Saturday 24 June 2017.

Be part of The Braille Legacy Ten performances of the The Braille Legacy are being held for corporate evenings. By becoming a corporate sponsor, you will have: the 265-seat theatre for yourself, a ‘welcome’ speech on stage and your company name on the ‘support wall’ in the theatre. This opportunity will provide your clients and staff with a priceless experience, including meeting the cast and hearing from the director and producers. Please contact Martin Cloix for more information:

56 - info - march / april 2017




by Bernard

by Antoine

Laurain Books Translated by Emily Boyce and Jane Aitkin Original title: Rhapsodie française

Minier Published by Hodder & Stoughton Translated by Alison Anderson Original title: N’éteins pas la lumière

Published by Gallic



When a woman finds a suicide note in her mailbox, she cannot imagine that it has anything to do with her. And yet, it signals the

The arrival of a letter, delayed by 33 years, sparks off a quest

end of her own life... But who is her enemy? Only Commandant

that leads both on a nostalgic journey back to the 1980s and

Martin Servaz can find out.

right to the heart of France today.

This novel is part of the Servaz series by Bernard Minier.

Middle-aged doctor Alain Massoulier has received a life-

All three novels in the Servaz series, The Frozen Dead, A Song

changing letter 33 years too late. Lost in the Paris postal system

For Drowned Souls and Don’t Turn Out The Lights, have been

for decades, the letter from Polydor, dated 1983, offers a

bestsellers in France, and Minier’s writing has been translated

recording contract to The Holograms, in which Alain played lead

into German, Italian, Polish, Spanish, Russian and Hungarian as

guitar. Overcome by nostalgia, Alain is tempted to track down

well as English. He has twice won the prestigious Prix Polar at

the members of the group. But in a world where everything

the Cognac Crime Festival. I

and everyone has changed, where could his quest possibly take him? Both a modern fairytale and a skillfully woven state-of-thenation novel, French Rhapsody combines Antoine Laurain’s signature charm and whimsy with a searing critique of the state of contemporary France. I



Published by MacLeHose

Press Taylor Original title: Trois mille chevaux vapeur Translated by Sam (2015)



Published by Salammbo Original title: La

Press légende des fils (2011)

Burma, 1852. Arthur Bowman, a sergeant in the East India Company, is sent on a secret mission during the Second AngloBurmese War. But the expedition is foiled – his men are captured and tortured. Some years later in London, battling his ghosts through

Phoenix, Arizona. Fall 1962. JFK has been elected and the Cuban

a haze of alcohol and opium, Bowman discovers a mutilated

Missile Crisis shakes the United States. Fond of vast spaces,

corpse in a sewer. The victim appears to have been subjected to

Scott Hatford is a young dreamer who treasures short moments

the same torments as Bowman endured in the Burmese jungle.

of grace with a loving mother, and tries to escape the violence

Persuaded that the culprit is one of the men who shared his

of a broken father returned from the war. One October night,

captivity, Bowman resolves to hunt him down.

exacerbated by jealousy, the father's fury transforms into wild

From the Burmese jungle to the slums of London to the conquest of the Wild West, Antonin Varenne takes us on a

intoxication. Mother and son decide to flee to New Mexico. Their fates are sealed on Route 66.

thrilling journey full of sound and unabated fury, reviving the

With his previous book The Last Days of Stefan Zweig, Laurent

lapsed tradition of the great writers of boundless adventure.

Seksik traced the tragedy of a wounded man. Far From Phoenix

Sergeant Bowman belongs to that breed of heroes who inhabit

is the odyssey of a teenager in the American West in the 1960s. A

the imaginations of Conrad, Kipling, or Stevenson. I

story about hope, redemption and the power of dreams. I


- march / april 2017 - 57


London's new

three-star chef

Superstar Chef Anne-Sophie Pic has opened her first UK restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square. This new culinary landmark marks the French chef's first foray into Britain


t should be said that Anne-Sophie Pic, is not truly a threestar chef but, rather, a six-star chef – which is the combined number of Michelin stars that her restaurants currently hold. Of course, strictly speaking, Anne-Sophie Pic is indeed a

three-star chef. In fact, she is the only three Michelin-starred French female chef today. And now, she has landed in the UK. Her latest project, La Dame de Pic London, is her first UK restaurant, based at the Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square. Described as ‘casually elegant’, La Dame De Pic showcases Anne-Sophie Pic’s unique culinary identity through dishes that are rich in powerful and unexpected flavour combinations. The restaurant itself is located in the historic headquarters of the Port of London Authority. French architect Bruno Moinard, of Paris-based architecture studio 4BI, has used mirrors, lights and shapes to create a historical Parisian brasserie in a classically English dining room – although with less classical fivemetre high ceilings. ‘Here at La Dame de Pic London, I will be combining my French culinary identity – based on sauce, for example – with English produce,’ said the Chef, announcing her restaurant's

Here at La Dame de Pic London, I will be combining my French culinary identity – based on sauce, for example – with English produce. There is so much to discover, from grouse to Stilton and oustanding seafood, to name just a few of my favourite products

opening. ‘There is so much to discover, from grouse to Stilton and outstanding seafood, to name just a few of my

La Dame de Pic near the Louvre in Paris, which received its first

favourite products.’

Michelin star in 2013.

Star-studded pedigree

London calling

Anne-Sophie Pic is a third-generation chef: both her father, chef Jacques Pic, and her grandfather, chef André Pic, were

Her newest restaurant, also called La Dame de Pic, opened in London on 26 January – to rave reviews.

the previous owners of France’s top five-star hotel and three

La Dame de Pic London features a menu that is purposefully

Michelin star restaurant, Maison Pic, located in Valence, in the

based around native British ingredients, although with a

south-east of France.

twist: Hereford beef is roasted with Monts Amaro coffee and

Yet, Anne-Sophie initially was not keen to join the family

cinnamon leaves, Cornish crab is steamed with sobacha and dill

business, instead initially embarking on a career in management

panna cotta and the chicken is marinated in sake. These are

consultancy. It was only in 1992, aged 23, that she put on the

whipped into fine dishes by Italian Head Chef Luca Piscazzi, who

family toque and returned to Maison Pic to begin her training.

previously worked at the two-Michelin starred Amber in Hong

Three months later, following her father’s unexpected death –

Kong, and trained for six months at Maison Pic before moving

and despite her relative lack of experience running a Michelin-

to London.

starred kitchen – she took over the family’s three-star restaurant.

With its sophisticated and complex dishes, there is little

True to her entrepreneurial roots, Anne-Sophie later went

doubt that La Dame de Pic London will become a staple of

on to open two additional restaurants, Restaurant Anne-Sophie

the London fine dining scene. Curious to try it? La Dame de

PIC at the Beau-Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne (Switzerland),

Pic offers an eight-course tasting menu (£95 per person) or a

which was awarded two Michelin stars in 2009, and restaurant

democratically-priced lunch menu (£39). I JH

58 - info - march / april 2017


Hyatt: building



INFO meets Arnaud de Saint-Exupéry, General Manager of the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill and Area Vice President for Hyatt UK & Ireland, to hear the latest trends in hospitality


he Hyatt Regency London – The

local market and environment, to the

Churchill is the perfect place to

local community.’

meet Arnaud de Saint-Exupéry,

This connection can be emphasised

who has returned to the UK following a

through hotels' food and beverage

three-year stint in Japan, to become the

offer, he notes: ‘You try to create

hotel's General Manager, as well as Area

concepts that are consistent with the

Vice President for Hyatt UK & Ireland.

brand and location and that engage

Set up as a family business in

with the local community. By attracting

1957, the Hyatt brand is now a global

local people to your restaurants, it

600-property business. However, Saint-

makes your hotel feel like it is a real

Exupéry says it continues to retain an

part of the area, which guests can see

entrepreneurial mindset. 'What this

and feel.'

means is that you are encouraged to manage the business as you would

Hyatt does this very well: across the UK, the clientele of the hotel

your own home, caring for your team

restaurants is roughly 80 per cent

and guests.’

local, 20 per cent hotel guests,

Each Hyatt brand has its own

says Saint-Exupéry. ‘This helps to

identity, which must be retained. Yet,

create the connection between your

ultimately, how General Managers

guests and the outside world.’

then run their business is up to them.

Turning to room occupancy, Saint-

Looking at the year ahead, SaintExupéry expects that occupancy rates will remain at around 75-80 per cent.

‘So long as you maintain the brand

Exupéry says that Brexit has had a

consistency, the way that you make your

suprisingly positive effect, driven by the

attractive destination, it’s a stable

own hotel evolve is very much up to

lower pound, which helped to attract

market,’ he says. ‘These are exciting

you,’ he says.

global visitors to London. In addition,

times: we’re in an environment that is

terrorism in France and Belgium has

constantly evolving. But success still

experiences or design,' Saint-Exupéry

further driven visitors towards the

comes down to one thing: the human

continues. 'They want authenticity and

UK, which is perceived as a safer

experiences that connect them to the


touch and being passionate about connecting with people.’ I JH

‘Guests do not want formatted

‘London continues to be an

Bulgari Hotel brings a taste of the Mediterranean

InterContinental Park Lane showcases Best of British



the way down to Calabria. Conceived by Robert Gaggl, Bar and

insider experience that explores the centre of British

Lounge Director, and created by his expert team, flavours and

craftsmanship. Guests will enjoy a behind-the-scene tour

fragrances collected during travels have been translated into

and visits to the Queen’s perfumer Floris, London’s oldest

creations playing with textures and enticing combinations. I

bespoke shoemaker Foster & Son and others. I

l Bar at Bulgari Hotel, London, has launched a new collection of cocktails inspired by a journey along the curves of the

coastline between France and Italy, from the Côte d’Azur all

nterContinental Park Lane has teamed up with the London Luxury Quarter, keepers of the 52 streets of Mayfair,

Piccadilly and St James, to offer a bespoke ‘Made in Mayfair’


- march / april 2017 - 59


Jeremy Page: A true Franco-British chef Born in Britain, raised in France. Jeremy Page, Executive Chef of L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, is as Franco-British as a chef can be. INFO meets Jeremy Page to discover his journey – and L'Atelier's future


s the Executive Chef of the Michelin-starred L’Atelier de

The public’s relationship with food is also markedly different,

Joel Robuchon, in London’s Covent Garden, Jeremy Page

he adds. ‘Food is a religion in France. When you sit down for a

knows how to run a tight ship.

meal, it can last several hours, which is much better. It’s a time

Page, who previously ran the two-starred L’Atelier de Joël

Robuchon in Paris, is a close associate of the eponymous French chef, having worked with him for over a decade. From an early age, Page knew he wanted to work with food. Aged just 15, he took the professional route, becoming an

when you are all together; it’s a gathering of people. Britons do not have the same approach, sadly.’ Change is afoot, however, and Londoners are increasingly demanding about food. Page says that Londoners now want diversity and freshness in their dishes.

apprentice in pastry – but quickly realised that pastry ‘wasn’t

The result of this is positive: the availability of seasonal,

his thing’. He worked his way out of it, joining the kitchen in

fine products is improving, much to Page’s delight. ‘I love the

the Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz and learning to cook under the

seasonality around food – getting the best fruit and vegetables

esteemed chef Jean-Marie Gauthier.

in the summer, buying truffles in the autumn, the lobster

Page had a critical audience. ‘Chef Gauthier brought me out of the pastry kitchen, but he made me cook lunch for him

season... it’s all very exciting, working with seasonal products makes me very happy.’

every single day,’ Page remembers. ‘His office was directly in the

While around one-third of dishes are Robuchon classics, the

kitchen, so there was a lot of pressure, as he saw everything –

rest are Page’s own recipes. ‘The way we cook is not the same

and then tasted everything.’

as ten years ago. The focus is on lightness and freshness, using

After spending ten years in Paris, the mentality and culture of London was a big change. The French are more passionate about cooking – it is much harder to find the same level of passion in the staff in the UK After a stint back in the Périgord Noir, where Page grew up,

great products,’ he says.

he joined L’Atelier in Paris. Page spent ten years in Paris, the last

This is reflected in the menu at L’Atelier, which changes on

four as Head Chef, before being offered the opportunity to run

a seasonal basis. The restaurant’s menu reflects classic French

Robuchon’s Atelier in London.

cuisine, but also showcases modern trends in cooking: dishes

Food in London

are lighter, playful and, above all, fresh. The future for L’Atelier is therefore bright. Under Page’s

The move was a shock for Page. Although he was born in Bath,

leadership and with his modern twist on classic French cuisine,

England, his dentist father and physiotherapist mother moved

the restaurant is already attracting more patrons – and who

to the Périgord Noir region when Page was just five years old.

knows, could well be on the path to regaining its second star

He might sound British, but at heart he is a Frenchman.

once again.

‘After spending ten years in Paris, the mentality and culture of London was a big change,’ says Page. ‘The French are more passionate about cooking – it is much harder to find the same level of passion in the staff in the UK.’ 60 - info - march / april 2017

The three-course lunch menu starts at £29, while the eightcourse Menu Découverte is priced at £189. I JH



The epicentre of

red wine

Found on the Rive Gauche of the Garonne River, the Médoc is home to some of France’s most prestigious wines, explains Carole Vidal, Director of the Conseil des Vins du Médoc – a valued partner of the French Chamber




China is the biggest importer of Médoc

Saint-Julien – but also Médoc, Haut-


wines – a trend that is rumoured to have

‘While no one has invented a

Médoc, Listrac, Moulis... the Médoc

started in 2007, after then-President

new way to make wine – the basic

region is home to the world’s best-known

Hu Jintao was said to have decreed that

winemaking process hasn’t changed for

and most successful wines. Home to 60

red wine must be consumed in greater

centuries – the technology around it has

châteaux that are part of eight controlled

quantities, due to its health benefits –

enabled winemakers to make much finer

appellations, the Médoc stretches north-

an argument that had a big impact on

wines, which last longer and have more

west from the city of Bordeaux and up

demand from China.

developed flavours.’

the Garonne River for 50 miles.

technology,’ Vidal explains.

‘It was an off-the-cuff remark, but

As a result of this, the producers are

‘Our wines have been commercially

the President had a direct impact on

able to make wines that are not only


wine exports from France,’ says Vidal.

of a very high quality, but that are also

explains Carole Vidal, Director of the

‘Demand has exploded. From one day

relatively affordable.

Conseil des Vins du Médoc. ‘English

to another, the rate of sales grew from

merchants took advantage of the region

single, to double, to triple figures.’





being so close to the coast to buy wines to sell back in their own markets.’

The complexity of the Médoc wines is what makes them appealing, adds Vidal. While most successful new world wines

Investing in the future

are varietal wines – that is, they are made


Growth in international sales has been

using a single named grape variety – the

requested a classification of the Left

a boon for the chateaux owners, who

Médoc produces blended wine.

Bank Châteaux for the Paris Exposition

continue to be – for the large part –

‘This attracts a more sophisticated

in 1855 that the Médoc wines became

family-owned businesses, passed from

drinker,’ she explains. ‘Younger people,

more successful domestically. Since

one generation to the next.

with a less developed palate, tend to






then, of course, the Médoc has become






enjoy varietal wines.

known as the world’s epicentre for fine

chateaux owners to increase their

wine – indeed, there are 60 ‘Grands Crus

investment in innovation. In the last


Classés’ in the Médoc region.

decade, most chateaux have completely

towards blended wines – and this is

England and Holland are no longer

renovated their chais – their storehouses

the biggest markets, though. Today,

– to introduce new materials and

when they tend to become enthusiasts of Médoc wines, often for a lifetime.’ I JH

'As their wine-drinking experience they





- march / april 2017 - 61


GAPERON by La Cave à Fromage One of my great pleasures, when researching cheese, is to immerse myself into French history, its traditions and the stories of rural life. Many French regions have a tremendouslyrich culture, which passes through generations and becomes legends that are transmitted with love, just as they also do in Britain. Auvergne, in central France, has always been perceived as a poor region, with neither cash-rich industries nor glamorous activities. Instead, it has a solid reputation of being down-toearth, with savvy locals – but it also has its own great traditions, such as the local cheese, Gaperon. The Gaperon cheese, produced for more than 1,200 years,

shaping the cheese by hand and placing it in a cloth to drain it.

is unique in many respects. It is one of the very few cheeses

Usually, this ball shape was left hanging on a beam by the

which are made using whey, the poorest dairy product that a

fire, to dry it more quickly and be edible sooner (the wealth of

farmer can use. Whey is the leftover residue from the butter-

Bougnats was also judged by the number of Gaperons hanging

making process. It is poor in calcium and fat and, therefore,

by the fire, which helped to evaluate a daughter’s dowry!). When

poor in taste. However, the autochthon people of Auvergne –

matured, usually over four weeks, the Gaperon develops a soft

known as Bougnats – had the genius idea of adding milk, salt,

and buttery texture and an intense garlic and pepper flavour. I

cracked pepper and loads of garlic to the whey cheese, and then

by Eric Charriaux

E: T: +44 (0)845 108 8222 W:

TO BUY YOUR CHEESE, VISIT LA CAVE A FROMAGE SHOPS 24-25 Cromwell Place, 229a Chiswick High Street, Kensington, London SW7 2LD Chiswick, London W4 2DW

34-35 Western Road, Hove, Brighton BN3 1AF

TH E I D E AL WI N E TO PAI R WITH GAPERON by Wine Story Auvergne is well known for its cheeses,

Norman poet Henri d’Andeli, which tells the

volcano and water, but in the north of the

story of a tasting organised by the Capetian

region you can find Saint-Pourçain, a wine

King, Philippe-Augustus, who sent his

that has existed since the Phoenician era.

messengers on a mission to bring back the

The reds and whites from this area, which

best wines of France and beyond. The wines

was designated as an Appellation d’Origine

of Saint-Pourçain were ranked only behind

Contrôlée in 2009, would be ideal to pair

Beaune and Saint-Emilion. Demand for the

with a Gaperon, thanks to the freshness of

wines continued thanks to the patronage of

the whites and the light body of the reds.

Saint-Pourçain by Bourbon kings in Paris.

Although it is technically attached to the

Yet, as with many French appellations, the

Loire Valley region for its appellation, Saint-

Revolution and the Phylloxera crisis put an

Pourçain’s history, landscape, architecture

end to the glory of these local wines.

and close geographical location make its

We have had to wait until the 1950s

wines more akin to a Burgundy. Indeed,

for a new generation of winegrowers to

the region’s wines are primarily derived from the three classic

jumpstart a new beginning for the region. Most recently, young

Burgundian varieties: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Gamay.

and talented producers, such as Jean Teissedre at the Domaine

From the start of the Middle Ages through to the French

des Berioles in Cesset with his cuvées of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay

Revolution, the wines of Saint-Pourçain enjoyed both royal and

and Tressaillier (a forgotten local grape), has brought the Saint

religious patronage. In fact, in 1224, the wines were cited in La

Pourçain appellation back to its royal era. I

Bataille des Vins, or ‘The Battle of the Wines’, a poem written by

by Thibault Lavergne

TO ORDER MICHELIN-STYLE WINES TO DRINK AT HOME, CONTACT: E: T: +44 (0)7921 770 691 W: 62 - info - march / april 2017



 How

to get there:

• The quickest way is by train. Bath is easy to reach, just 90 minutes from London

bacon butties. Plus it has just the right

give you a taste of the city in every sense. Its basement restaurant is also

vibe to start your day right.

highly recommended for its beautifully-

Paddington station. Prices start as low as

… spend the day:

£30 return.

• A trip to Bath would not be complete

presented, precisely-cooked dishes.

without visiting The Roman Baths. See

… eat a memorable dinner:

the remarkably preserved remains of

• For the finest dining, Michelin-starred

• Jane Austen’s Persuasion. A scintillating

one of the greatest religious spas of the

Menu Gordon Jones, Grand Pump

tale of two separated lovers, Austen’s last

ancient world. The city’s unique thermal

Room and Casanis are all among the

ever novel is set against the backdrop of

springs still flow with natural hot water.

most delectable options in the city.

the beautiful Georgian City.

• The Royal Crescent should be next on

• For a cosier, more 'local' flavour, head

• Death of a Colonial. Bruce Alexander

your list. The 30 terraced houses laid out

to the King William. This pub serves

doesn’t disappoint in his ingenious

in a sweeping crescent are a stunning

great, seasonal British food, using the

mystery novel following an investigator

example of neoclassical architecture. The

local butcher and grocer as suppliers.

looking into the reappearance of a long

breathtaking view of the city from Victoria

Dine downstairs for more atmosphere,

missing nobleman through the cobbled

park makes it an ideal picnic spot.

upstairs for more space.

streets of Bath.

• The Jane Austen Museum chronicles

 What

to read on your trip:

Where to: … have breakfast:

the life and times of the famous writer,

... bed down for the night:

Jane Austen and is worth a visit too.

• The first five-star hotel in Bath in 30 years, the Gainsborough Bath Spa is also

• Start your day right at Blue Quails Deli.

… go for an evening drink:

Nestled in the heart of the city centre, this

• For a classy venue with excellent

natural thermal waters.

little place offers a full English breakfast

cocktails, the Canary Gin Bar has it all.

• Nestled within four acres of mature

with a gourmet twist.

This is a place where the ambience is as

award-wining gardens and spacious

• For those who need to kick-start their

delicious as its cocktails.

terraces, the Bath Priory Hotel sets itself

mornings with a high-quality coffee,

• Tucked away in a Georgian snicket,

apart as a peaceful haven in a bustling

Colonna and Small’s is the perfect



choice. This rustic place understands the

unassuming. Upon going inside, however,

• Finally, tucked in between Bath's

seasonality of coffee growing, and in turn

you will find a boutique watering hole


offers speciality coffees alongside various

with pan-historical decor offering an

Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa is a trendier


extensive beer and cocktail menu.

alternative, boasting a stunning view of

• Alternatively if you like comfort food,

• For wine lovers, The Olive Tree

Victoria Park and a range of spa options.

then Wild Café is for you. This bohemian

officially has the UK’s Best Wine List.


gem has all the best staples; from maple

Tucked in the bustling city centre, the

syrup blueberry pancakes to fresh cheesy

cosy but elegant venue is guaranteed to






the only one in Britain to have access to





- march / april 2017 - 63



> The largest foreign Chamber

> The strength of a network

of Commerce in the UK

> The ideal platform to exchange

> 132 years of experience

with decision makers

> 600 members ranging from SMEs

> A wealth of information and experience

to Blue Chip companies in all sectors > Half of our members are non French

> Bespoke solutions to develop your business > Access to the right people For more information, please contact the Membership Department t: +44 (0) 207 092 6636



espite the challenging economic climate of 2016, the

on 22 March. We are grateful to Ardian, HSBC, Veolia as well

Chamber achieved very good financial results last

as AccorHotels, Bouygues Construction, Devialet, EDF Energy,

year. This was driven by an increased demand for our

Groupe Renault and Irwin Mitchell for sponsoring this flagship

business support services as well as currency exchange


gains, as we invoice some of our clients in euros. Looking to the next couple of months, there are a number Demand for our Company Set-Up, Accountancy and

of events in the Chamber’s calendar at which I hope to welcome

Recruitment Services still remains strong. More and more

you, such as our Breakfast with Tanuja Randery, Zone President

member companies turn to us to fill senior positions (discover

UK & Ireland at Schneider Electric on 5 May and our Rendez-

more about the Recruitment Service in our interview with

vous chez La Maison Maille on 11 May, to name but a few.

Emmanuelle Thomas, Head of Recruitment, on page 67). Also indicative of the continued strong French interest in

A final notable date for the Chamber is 29 March, when we will

Britain is that our Business Centre – a flexible 18-desk rental

launch a Brexit Forum, to help members shed light on the topic.

service for companies developing in the UK – is oversubscribed.

Read our interview with the Brexit Forum’s Co-Chairs, Angela

Yet for all of these positive developments, sponsorship

Hepworth, Corporate Policy and Regulation Director at EDF

of events and advertising (including in INFO) remains more

Energy, and Neil Sherlock, Head of Reputational Strategy at PwC

challenging, as companies batten down the hatches by reducing

on page 71, to discover more and for information about joining.

their marketing spend.

May I also take this opportunity to announce Pia Dekkers, HR Director at Chanel, as the new Chair of our HR Forum,

Sponsorship offers companies unique visibility at our

succeeding Michael Whitlow, who has successfully steered the

events, which continue to welcome high-calibre speakers, such

forum since September 2015 – thank you, Michael, for your

as Sadiq Khan, who will be speaking at our Annual Gala Dinner

dedication, and welcome to Pia! I FG


- march / april 2017 - 65

HATS OFF TO... FLORENCE GOMEZ, Managing Director of the French Chamber of Great Britain, has been made a knight of the Légion d’honneur. She was inducted into France’s highest order at a ceremony hosted by the French Ambassador, HE Ms Sylvie Bermann, at the French Residence on 6 January. Awarding the Legion, Ambassador Bermann highlighted Florence's prominence in the Franco-British community. ‘On the London scene, you are yourself an institution,’ she said. ‘Yet your influence has not altered your profound originality. It is this singularity – which is so endearing – that I would like to convey to your guests tonight.’ Describing Florence's professional

culture, and the capacity to bring together energy, talent and ideas.

‘But your civic engagement goes above and beyond your job

‘In the space of ten years, you

alone. You successfully build bridges

and later as the MD of the French Chamber of

have made the Chamber stronger

between cultures, not just with your

Commerce in China, before moving to the UK

and increased its audience, making

outstanding linguistic abilities, of

to join the French Chamber of Great Britain in

it the number one foreign chamber

course, but always with a refreshing

2007 – Ambassador Bermann noted Florence's

in Britain. You have been the right

sense of humour too – and an

three distinguishing features: her strategic

person in the right place at the right

incredible strength of conviction.’

vision, the ability to create a results-oriented

time,’ she said.

Congratulations Florence!

life – which started in China, first as a student

CATHERINE PALMER, General Counsel and Director at fashion retailer Joseph, who was made a Knight in the ordre national du Mérite by Elisabeth Pelsez, Magistrat de Liaison. Pelsez cited Palmer’s years of service to the French LIONEL BARBER, editor of the Financial Times newspaper,

community: teaching French

who has been awarded the Légion d’honneur, in the grade

in inner London schools,

of Knight. The French Ambassador, HE Ms Sylvie Bermann

working as a bilingual

presented the award in recognition for his ‘contribution to

lexicographer, acting as a

high-quality journalism and the Financial Times’ positive role

solicitor in private practice

in the European debate’.

for the French luxury goods sector and with Joseph.

Refer and be rewarded


ou love the Chamber – and the Chamber loves you. Help the Chamber to grow in size and influence by introducing new members and reap the rewards. With the newly-launched Incentive Scheme, existing members that introduce* new members to the Chamber will now be

rewarded with vouchers that give free access to events. These vouchers are worth between £20 and £190 + VAT, depending on the level of membership (Active, Corporate or Patron) chosen by the introduced company. So keep your eyes and ears open to help us find new members and reap the rewards! *Rewards will be given for introductions that result in signed new members. 66 - info - march / april 2017

DISCOVER YOUR CHAMBER RECRUITMENT SERVICE The French Chamber’s Recruitment Service is a personalised, tailored service that helps member and non-members find the ideal talent to meet their recruitment needs. Composed of a team of three HR professionals, the Recruitment Service is specialised in high-profile and bilingual professionals across a wide range of sectors. INFO sits down with Emmanuelle Thomas, Head of the Recruitment Service, to hear more about what her department has to offer. What is the Recruitment Service’s role? We recruit candidates for French Chamber members or French companies setting up in the UK. Our key focus is on recruiting the right person for them – we work closely with our clients to discover their specificities and what their ideal profile would be. At any given moment, we have a database of around 3,500 pre-vetted candidates, of which 60 per cent are French and 40 per cent are British. Before sending any candidate to a client, we interview them ourselves first, to ensure they are the right fit and have the right skills and language level. Through our partnership with 12 leading French business schools, we also have access to the most qualified bilingual alumni in London. Which types of companies use this service? The majority of our clients are small and medium-sized French companies that are looking to hire middle managers, generally in the £20-60,000 salary range. However, more recently, we have seen a marked increase in companies engaging us to find senior positions; this is a fast-growing segment for us.

Emmanuelle Thomas, Head of Recruitment, and her team

We truly care about our clients. If we put forward a candidate, it's because we really think that he or she is the right person for the role

Around half of the companies that we work with are French companies still entirely based in France, who are looking to recruit someone – or, indeed, a team – to lead their international expansion into the UK market.

We are also often asked whether to hire a British or French person. Of course, this depends on the company and what it

Companies that we work with include fast-growing high-

is trying to achieve, so we work closely with them to determine

tech audio start-up Devialet; Momentum Services, which is the

the ideal candidate profile and what the requirements are. We

customer services and catering provider for Eurostar; travel

help them to see the bigger picture.

retail firm Lagardère Travel Retail, luxury skincare brand Nuxe; and luxury crystal glassmaker Lalique, to list but a few.

What is your own background? I have a Bachelor’s degree in law and a Master’s degree in HR,

What is the biggest challenge for companies recruiting in

and have worked in various HR functions for the last 15 years,

the UK?

across five different countries: France, Australia, the US, Hong

There are two topics that we help our clients with all the time.

Kong and now the UK.

The first is helping them to understand the UK employment

The team itself is composed of three HR professionals. We

market: what is the reality of hiring someone in the UK, what is

truly care about our clients. If we put forward a candidate, it’s

the type of person that they can afford with their budget, and

because we really think that he or she is the right person for

what is the cost of living. The Chamber's HR Guide, a practical

the role. We spend a lot of time listening and getting to know

bilingual booklet collectively written by HR Forum members,

our clients, so that we understand what their exact needs are.

also helps to guide employers.

This allows us to then find the best match. I

To find out more about the French Chamber’s Recruitment Service, or to discuss your own recruitment needs, do not hesitate to contact Emmanuelle Thomas directly at: or 0207 092 6624.


- march / april 2017 - 67


THE CHAMBER'S BUSINESS CENTRE: A SPRINGBOARD INTO THE UK Aimed at French start-ups, entrepreneurs and SMEs that are developing their businesses in the UK, the French Chamber's 18-desk Business Centre is currently home to 10 companies. Meet two of these companies: Eudonet, a CRM publisher and integrator (the company that the international network of French Chambers uses for its own systems), and Jurisglobal, a firm with expertise in business law. Both have established themselves in London, using the Chamber as a base for their international growth.

Arthur d’Achon, Business Developer EUDONET -

Gaétan Di Martino, Founding Partner JURISGLOBAL -

What does your company do?

What does your company do?

Eudonet is a CRM [customer

Jurisglobal provides services in all areas

relationship management] publisher

of business law and assists company

and integrator of its own solution, dedicated to

executives and entrepreneurs in creating, building and

membership-based organisations such as NGOs,

developing their firms in France, through our head office

associations, foundations, educational and cultural

Selarl Di Martino Avocats, and internationally, through our

institutions. At Eudonet, we strongly believe that a CRM

law firm network.

provider should deliver the best match of market leading features, experience, support and commitment.

Why did your company decide to come to the UK? London was the stepping stone into the launch of

Why did your company decide to come to the UK?

Jurisglobal Network, an alliance of international and

With its headquarters in Paris and a long-established

disruptive business lawyers with a French focus.

branch in Canada, Eudonet is a company with a strong international orientation. We recently had the opportunity to work with several

We had a large pre-existing French clientele with interests in the UK, and a British clientele with interests in France, but we also felt like it was the perfect city to crash-

organisations based in the UK and were surprised to

test our innovative business model, as it has one of the

identify a gap in the market – there is an urgent need for a

largest French expat communities worldwide.

CRM solution that tackles the specific challenges that are

London is a very dynamic, fast-paced economic hub,

experienced by membership-based organisations.

gathering a unique blend of talent, entrepreneurs

We therefore decided to open our UK branch in

and investors. The legal setting is also very favorable

September 2016.

for companies as well as to investors. It offers a great environment for new businesses to prosper.

What would be your top tip for French companies entering the UK market?

What would be your top tip for French companies

Whatever the sector, the UK market is fiercely competitive

entering the UK market?

and fast moving, but it is also a rite of passage and the

As a prerequisite, entrepreneurs and companies need to

ideal test for any French company willing to expand on

be aware of the cost of settling in London and to come

the international scene.

well prepared, as it is an extremely competitive market.

Being well prepared is the key! Taking the step is no

Once they make the move, networking is key,

trivial matter, so make sure to immerse yourself within

especially in the early stages. I would encourage them to

the British culture and forget your preconceptions. Being

create their own opportunities by going out there and

flexible and ready to adapt to the specificities and the

pitching their ideas and products. An incredible number

complexity of the market will give you the edge over

of professional networking events are organised weekly.

your competitors. Last but not least, whatever the difficulties you meet, don’t give up: the destination is well worth the journey!

68 - info - march / april 2017

Coworking spaces also offer a fantastic opportunity to grow and receive feedback. With a solid business plan and a determined mindset, one is bound to succeed in the UK!

NEW MEMBERS 4 NEW CORPORATE MEMBERS L’OCCITANE International retailer Represented by Alain Harfouche, General Manager UK & Ireland L'Occitane produces and retails high quality beauty products and fragrances developed following the principles of phytotherapy and aromatherapy MCD M&A London-based holding Represented by Jacques Kalifa, CEO MCD M&A Consulting is a holding which invests in European companies. Their last acquisition is Burov, a French high-end furniture manufacturing company. NOVELTY GROUP UK Expert and specialist for the events industry Represented by Marc Wegscheider, Director of Sales Novelty Group UK is a subsidiary of Novelty Group, one of the foremost specialists in sound/lightning/stage construction/electricity distribution/video and technical venue management, as well as a specialist in technical audiovisual solutions for the fashion, luxury, live performance, event, exhibition and TV industries. Working on more than 6,000 projects each year, the Novelty team's commitment to quality, and its customer-focused service and culture, are unparalleled in Europe. REGION HAUTS DE FRANCE International Business Development Represented by Virginie Blida , Director Region Hauts de France supports British and international companies to set up and grow their business in northern France and to get access to the European Union

6 NEW ACTIVE MEMBERS Augusta Ventures – Third-party commercial litigation funding - Represented by Yves Le Goff, Managing Director Alice à Paris – Kids fashion (online, design and manufacturing) - Represented by Agathe Blanquart, CEO Dr Eric Smadja Practice – Psychoanalyst (adults and couples) Represented by Eric Smadja, Member of the Société Psychanalytique de Paris Moving Home Company – International movers - Represented by Choudry Fiaz, Director The Disruptive Group (TDG) – Business builder and advisory firm in innovation and finance - Represented by Huy Nguyen Trieu, CEO TLS Contact – Visa application centre - Represented by Christophe Georges, Director


- march / april 2017 - 69

FORTHCOMING FORUMS & CLUBS By application only



Co-Chairs: Angela Hepworth, Corporate Policy and

Co-Chairs: John Peachey, Chief Financial Officer, Global

Regulation Director, EDF Energy and Neil Sherlock,

Markets, HSBC Bank Plc and Rob Guyler, CFO at EDF Energy

Partner, Head of Reputational Strategy, PwC

19 April, 8.30am - 10.00am

29 March, 8.30am – 10.30 am

Successful integrations: Mergers and acquisitions

Launch session, Brainstorming


HR FORUM Chair: Pia Dekkers, Regional HR Divisional Director, Chanel

Chair: Richard Brown CBE, Former CEO & Chairman and

Deputy chair: Jean-Baptiste Aloy, Executive Director,

Deputy chair: Jean-Philippe Verdier, Founding Partner,

Employee Research, Ipsos MORI

Verdier & Co

26 April, 8.30am - 10.00am

14 March, 10.00am - 12.00 noon

Managing a multicultural team

From Kyoto to Paris: Reflections on 20 years of climate policy and the looming risk to business Guest speaker: Dr Charles Donovan, Director, Centre for Climate Finance and Investment, Imperial College Business School 27 April, 10.00am - 12.00 noon Agriculture and climate change: post COP23


Guest speaker: Eric Giry, Agricultural Counsellor for

Co-Chairs: Arnaud de Montille, Founder, Merci Maman

the United Kingdom and Ireland, French Embassy

Personalised Gifts and Jeanne Monchovet, Founder, Olystix 25 April, 8.30am - 10.00am How to find the best board Members and Advisors for Start-up Success

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION AND INNOVATION FORUM Co-Chairs: Christophe Chazot, Group Head of Innovation, HSBC and Lucien Boyer, Chief Marketing Officer, Vivendi


23 March, 9.00am - 11.00am

Chair: Estelle Brachlianoff, Senior Executive Vice-President

Creating Value in our 'Big Brother' data world

UK & Ireland, Veolia and President of the French Chamber

Guest speakers: Richard Hepworth, Director of Digital

of Great Britain

Transformation, PwC and Alexandre Covello, CEO, AngelsCube

27 April, 12.30pm - 2.30pm - Lunch

26 April, 9.00am - 11.00am The new customers, or how the Internet has changed the way we do business and consume

All sessions, excluding the Women's Business Club, take place at the French Chamber. For more information, please contact Ophélie Martinel at or 0207 092 6634 70 - info - march / april 2017


Angela Hepworth, Corporate Policy and Regulation Director, EDF Energy

Meet the BREXIT FORUM Chairs

Many are grappling with the issues that Brexit presents. This is a chance to bring people together to pool our understanding

Neil Sherlock, Partner and Head of Reputational Strategy, PwC

Analysing the situation, and how the negotiations develop, can help firms identify the direction of travel and how it will impact them


he French Chamber is launching a Brexit Forum in March. INFO interviews the Forum’s Chairs to discover what role the Forum will play. Co-chaired by Angela Hepworth, Corporate Policy and Regulation Director at EDF Energy, and Neil Sherlock, Partner

and Head of Reputational Strategy at PwC, the Brexit Forum will help to gather legal, financial and HR inputs, trends and strategies around the topic. Why is it important for businesses to keep track of

NS: I am delighted to be Co-Chairing this with Angela. Brexit

developments around Brexit?

is not just a big issue for Britain, but also for businesses right

AH: It is absolutely vital to do, as Brexit will have far-reaching

across Europe and, indeed, globally. Given this big change,

consequences on everything that businesses do. This ranges

having a Forum to debate, discuss and share ideas and views

from issues surrounding the available workforce – and

will play an important role in facing the future.

employers’ ability to get skilled workers from overseas – to our ability to import goods without tariffs, through to implications

Ahead of its launch on 29 March, what are you aspirations

on policy and regulation. It is far reaching.

for the Brexit Forum? AH: Many of the French Chamber member companies are

NS: Inevitably, Brexit will impact businesses in different ways,

already looking at the topic in detail, so there is real value

based on their business model or size, and which sector they

in pooling our expertise into this Forum. I was particularly

operate in. But there is a whole range of potential impacts that

attracted to the fact that the Chamber has a diverse group

will affect all businesses – I’m thinking of the mobility of labour,

of companies participating – there will be a diverse mix of

supply chain management, trade and attracting investment.

perspectives around the table. I hope members will share

This is a negotiation that will impact all of these areas – and

ideas and discuss the implications and actions that are

many others. Analysing the situation, and how the negotiations

available to take – whether that is influencing government

develop, can help firms identify the direction of travel and how

or managing outcomes.

it will impact them. NS: I hope that we can help businesses consider what the Why did you agree to Chair the Brexit Forum?

likely outcome will be from the negotiations between the

AH: The Brexit Forum is a valuable opportunity to share

UK and the EU27. The timing of the Forum is just right, as

insights and perspectives on the potential implications

the meetings are set to get going as the those negotiations

of Brexit. Many are grappling with the issues that Brexit

start. The French Chamber provides an ideal setting to get

presents. This is a chance to bring people together to pool our

businesses to think about where things are going and where

understanding, discuss the key issues at stake and share our

they should focus their energy – both for themselves, but

ideas about how best to address some of the challenges.

also for the wider economy. I

This Forum is aimed at Heads of Brexit Task Forces, Heads of Strategy, Heads of Corporate Affairs in charge of Brexit, MDs and CEOs of large groups. To find out more information about joining, please contact Ophélie Martinel on 0207 092 6634 or


- march / april 2017 - 71



Four mistakes to avoid

Learning from other entrepreneurs is the best way to ensure that you do not repeat their mistakes. Discover four key lessons shared at the Start-up & SME Club’s latest session held on 10 January


ntrepreneurs have limited resources; time, cash and energy are scarce. Making the most of these is vital to ensure your

business can thrive. What are some of the common misconceptions and mistakes entrepreneurs make – and how can you avoid them? Nicholas Taborisky, CEO of Theodo UK, and Flavia de Pfyffer, Founder of Pashion, shared their lessons at the most recent Start-up & SME Club.

1. Keep your idea a secret Entrepreneurs are often told not to disclose too many details of their business idea to others, in order to avoid their ideas being ‘stolen’. This is the wrong approach, said Taborisky. ‘An idea is nothing. It’s the ability to execute it that is unique to you,’ he explains. ‘Just look at the biggest digital companies, such as Uber or Airbnb. These aren’t companies with brilliant ideas, but with brilliant execution.’ Instead, Taborisky advises sharing your ideas early on, in order to gather valuable feedback – and not just from friends and family, whose opinions will be biased. ‘When you launch a company, you only have about two years to get it right, so do

If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late – Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn

not waste your time on the wrong ideas. Talk about your key idea, share it and get feedback. And importantly, don’t be too tied to your idea either, it will need to evolve.’

2. Hire a co-founder immediately When Pfyffer launched her business Pashion, which digitalises the communication between fashion brands and the press,

up that offered people season tickets for cultural events: ‘We invested the majority of our start-up funding into developing our website, to ensure that it had all of the functions we thought we needed from the beginning.’ The result? Six months of waiting for the first version

everyone told her she needed to find a co-founder as quickly

of his website to be ready and a bank account low in cash.

as possible. But rushing into this can be a costly mistake, as

‘Just focus on the main problem you want to solve for your

she soon discovered.

customers and build your website as quickly as you can

‘Friends, family, investors, advisers – they all told me to find

so you can test your ideas. Use tools to do it yourself and

a co-founder immediately,’ she explained. So she hired her

then improve on it iteratively, based on feedback from real

cousin, as they were close. Yet six months later, they had to

customers,’ Taborisky said.

part ways. ‘I realised that I’d wasted months of valuable energy trying to make someone as passionate as I am for my idea.’ It was only after Pfyffer hired her first employee, the

4. Wait until it is perfect ‘Don’t wait... jump!’ said Pfyffer. ‘It doesn’t matter if your

company’s Head of Product, that she found the right co-

product does not look amazing. If you have an idea, throw it to

founder: ‘Even though I didn’t know him as well as I knew

the market and see how it reacts. Users know what they want

my cousin, it was clear that he was the perfect fit after a few

and they will help you to get where you want to get.’

months working together.’

There is no benefit to waiting until your business is perfect

Take your time when hiring a co-founder. ‘Let it happen

– it will never be. It is more valuable to gather feedback early

organically,’ she explained.

on, to allow you to improve and refine your product.

3. Invest in web development early on

they are stepping stones to success,’ concluded Pfyffer. ‘Think

Taborisky thought he needed the perfect website before he

of mistakes as a blessing, as they help to put you on the right

could launch his first business venture, CultureFirst, a start-

path. Accept your mistakes, grow and learn from them.’ I JH

72 - info - march / april 2017

‘Mistakes and failures are not the opposite of success –


The millennial conundrum As digital natives, millennials are transforming the way that companies work. What does this mean for businesses?


he latest Digital Transformation & Innovation Forum, held on 25 January, brought together three experts to

discuss how to attract and retain talent in a digital world: Jean-Rémi Gratadour, Executive Director of HEC Paris Digital Center, Nicolas Taborisky, UK CEO of Theodo, and Peter

Companies need the skills that the digital native generation can provide. Business models are changing quickly because of digital, and business leaders must not ignore this

Wheeldon, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Universal Music Group. Millennials – defined as the generation born between 1984

‘Inside of this same cohort of people, there is a lot of

and 1996 – are fundamentally changing the way of work, and

diversity,’ Gratadour said. ‘The key to developing millennials is

businesses must adapt.

offering them challenging and innovative work, where they can

‘Millennials grew up in a world where digital is everywhere, where media and electronics are a natural part of their everyday life,’ said Gratadour. ‘It defines their habits.’ There is a gap, however, between companies and

learn new things every day. Yet this is not the type of work that traditional organisations usually propose in their very first jobs.’ What are the implications of this on businesses? It transforms both talent acquisition and the management

millennials with regard to satisfying their needs and creating

strategy deeply, said Gratadour. ‘Companies need to listen to

motivation. ‘Companies don’t really understand who they

what this generation wants from them,’ he explained. ‘These

are dealing with and why it is necessary to focus on this

are companies that face digital transformation, and millennials

generation’s talents,’ explained Gratadour.

are ready to bring many things to the table – but businesses

Millennial characteristics

must first create a new way of work.’ This is exactly what Universal Music Group is trying to

A study by employer experts Universum defined the main

achieve. ‘Millennials are key employees in a digitally-driven

characteristics of millennials as being more pessimistic about

workplace,’ Wheeldon explained to Forum attendees. ‘We need

the future while, at the same time, having an idealistic vision of

to be increasingly savvy about how and where we position

the future. They are workers – and are ready to go outside of

ourselves in the talent market.’

their comfort zones – but they require more motivation. And

Strategies that Universal Music Group have embraced

finally, they place more value on a healthy work-life balance

include: leveraging the company’s ‘cool’ factor, embracing

than on money.

market competition, ensuring a positive perception in the


digital world, and responding to the specific expectations of the millennial demographic. Ensuring that employees are engaged in the business has also been key to Theodo’s growth, Taborisky also explained. The French start-up – which is largely staffed by millennial employees – has, through its fast growth, put digital talent at the heart of its HR policy. ‘Companies must adapt a new approach that is appropriate to the business climate of tomorrow,’ Gratadour concluded. ‘Companies absolutely need to leverage the skills that the digital native generation can provide. Business models are changing quickly because of digital, and business leaders must not ignore this.’ I JH

Source: Universal Music Group info

- march / april 2017 - 73


PAY GAP: Time to report From the beginning of April 2017, companies that employ more than 250 employees must report on the gender pay gap. The latest HR Forum considered what this means


ender pay gap reporting rules will come into effect on 6 April this year,

reported Melanie Stancliffe, Employment Partner at Irwin Mitchell, who was the

guest speaker at the latest HR Forum, alongside Bircham Dyson Bell Partner Caroline Yarrow. Together, they looked at what the impact is for employers in the UK.

 Why The gender pay gap has been measured in the UK since 1997, and the latest Office for National Statistics data shows that there is a 19.2 per cent difference for all employees, while the pay gap for

The gender pay gap has been measured in the UK since 1997. The latest data shows that there is a 19.2% difference for all employees, while the pay gap for full-time employees is 9.4%

full-time employees is 9.4 per cent. This

 What

government, through league tables, but

means that there is 9.4 per cent higher

Employers must publish four sets of

the government is now trying to dispel

pay for men than for women already.

data: the difference between the mean

this in order to encourage employers to

‘There is an established difference

and median pay of men and women;

publish their data,’ said Stancliffe. ‘But

already,’ said Stancliffe.

the numbers of men and women

there are concerns that the unions or

While a voluntary scheme for

working across four equal pay bands;

the press will identify the pay gaps and

reporting on the gender pay gap has

the difference between the mean and

use the data.’

existed since 2010, only 300 employers

median bonus gap for men and women;

have signed up – and only seven

and the proportion of men and women

do not need to panic. ‘If there is a

companies have gone on to publish the

who earn a bonus.

disparity between men and women,

data. ‘As a result,’ she explained, ‘we now

‘The regulations set out in very

However, she added that companies

look into it – there are plenty of lawful

precise detail what is included, how

reasons why this could be the case:

to calculate all of the figures and

there could be a disparity in career

what steps you must go through, in

progression, in people’s desire to

An estimated 8,000 UK employers will

chronological order,’ explained Stancliffe.

progress, or there are requirements for

be affected by the regulation, which

‘The main calculation is around the

part-time working, which often fall on

covers private sector, voluntary sector

quartiles, where you must set out the

women.’ She confirmed that companies

and public sector employers. Companies

pay from lowest to highest and divide

can also add their explanation to the

that employ a workforce of 250 or more

it into four equal groups, and then

data they publish.

people are required to publish the data.

calculate the percentage of men and

have regulations that compel us to do it.’

 Who

Yarrow explained that while there

women for each one.’

is a grey area around who qualifies as

Employers will not have to give any

an employee for the purposes of this

data on individuals – only the four bands.

reporting, the government has provided

While the concept of gender pay gap reporting is worthy – the aim is ultimately to remove the gender pay gap – Stancliffe said she was sceptical due to the nature of the information that will be reported.

guidance to companies – and if in doubt,

 Where

employers are encouraged to include

The data will be required to be

rather than exclude people.

published on a searchable UK website

a material difference in year one,’ she

that is accessible to the public, as well as

said. ‘But it is part of a larger agenda

uploaded to a government website.

which I am entirely behind – equal pay

The guidance adds that the reporting must include those under a contract of employment or apprenticeship and those providing personal services. 74 - info - march / april 2017

‘There was concern that there would be naming and shaming by the

However, over time, trends will emerge. ‘I don’t think the reporting will make

for equal work for people of equal merit, regardless of gender.’ I JH




The latest Finance Forum, held at the French Chamber on 8 February, focused on why companies must improve investor relations to adapt to the fast-changing environment


Target the right audience

uest speaker Nick Turner, Global

Second, simplifying the investment

Head of Investor Relations at

case. ‘Investors are time poor and

Turner’s final point was around

HSBC, offered an expert view

resource constrained – they are being

the rise in passive investing – that is,

into how Investor Relations (IR) are

asked to do more with less, and more


changing – and how companies can

quickly,’ he said. ‘So helping them to

securities are picked because of their

adapt – at the latest Finance Forum.

more readily understand where your

characteristics rather than fundamental

stocks benefit their portfolio is a benefit






changing,’ he said. 'Protectionism is threatening






Investors have been moving their

both to them and to your company.’

money from high-cost actively-managed


Third, understanding your company’s

is replacing history and heightened

defining characteristics and matching


uncertainty is leading to less confidence

this to the fund manager’s investment

Research by Goldman Sachs shows that

among investors.’





style. ‘This means that if you’re a growth

40 per cent of total US equity assets are

The result of this is that profitability is

company, do not pitch your stock to an

now managed passively – this is double

falling. UK companies’ dividend coverage

investor that is dividend-oriented – it just

the level of 2005.

ratios – that is, the number of times a

doesn’t make sense,’ he said.

company is capable of paying dividends to shareholders from the profits earned

‘In short, this means that 40 per cent of your shareholders are not worth

Widen the scope This


visiting or spending time on – you cannot and

manage them. IR must instead rigorously

fallen from 2.5x to 2x last year and is

effectiveness then leads to the second

identify and target the active investors,

expected to go to 1.5x by 2018.

aspect of investor relations, which is to

which you can,’ Turner explained.

during an accountancy period – have


This is compelling companies’ IR

widen the scope. To be truly effective,

In order for companies to better

function to become more effective and

said Turner, IR needs to be as internally

engage with these active investment

efficient, either by delivering better

focused as externally focused.

managers, companies must simplify and

outcomes with the same spend, or the same outcome but at a lower cost. Turner identified three elements to achieve this challenge.

‘Investors want to buy your securities

sharpen up their communications, he

with a future view, they want to know

added. ‘Active managers are under a lot

what a company will do,’ he said. ‘This

of pressure at the moment. Therefore,

means IR needs to be closer to the

you need to make your investment case readily understandable.’


business to understand its strategy

shareholders. ‘This means identifying

and the environment it operates in – to

Turner said that he was hopeful about

either existing shareholders or investors

understand what the numbers are going

the future of IR, however. ‘Investors can

that should hold your stock, but don’t,

to be and use examples and stories to

and will be successfully managed in this

and targeting them at the expense of

show investors the company’s direction

new environment, but IR must become

more marginal investors,’ he explained.

of travel.’

more ambitious in scope.’ I JH






- march / april 2017 - 75




he Chamber kicked 2017 off in style thanks to PAUL, which hosted a Rendez-vous Chez to celebrate the Galette des Rois for the second year. Held at Le Restaurant de PAUL at Tower 42, more than 60 French Chamber members and guests attended to celebrate the New Year and spend the evening networking with each other over drinks, canapés and, of course, several freshly-baked Galettes des Rois. The puff-pastry pie, filled with frangipane, is customarily served on Epiphany, 12 days after Christmas, to commemorate the three kings who visited the Christ child. Those who come across a token (fève) in their slice are crowned King or Queen of the day. The occasion, which was the first Chamber event of the year, gave members a chance to meet up and network after the holidays, and Le Restaurant de PAUL was filled with festive cheer. I

A soirée to remember



ome House played host to the Chamber’s first cocktail

by Petrossian. Entertainment, meanwhile, was provided by

party organised specifically for Corporate and Luxury Club

Devialet, who played music through its groundbreaking sound

Members on 11 January.

systems. Thank you also to Ladurée for the delicious macarons.

Held in the private members’ club’s sumptuous neo-classical

The mood was upbeat and conversational, and the 120

Parlour and Eating Rooms, guests were treated to canapés by

guests that attended were delighted to spend an evening

Home House, Monkey47 gin cocktails and Green Spot Château

catching up and getting to know each other better, before

Léoville Barton whisky by Pernod Ricard UK and caviar tasting

leaving with goodie bags provided by La Mer and Aveda. I

Les jeux sont faits



he CEO and Chairman of The Hippodrome Casino, Simon Thomas, and his team welcomed members of the Chamber to the Leicester Square-based casino for a popular

Rendez-vous Chez event in February. The Hippodrome Casino is Britain’s largest and most popular casino and entertainment venue, and guests were not left disappointed, starting the evening with a full tour of the casino, followed by cocktails, canapés and mini-burgers – and lots of fun. Beyond gambling and games, the casino’s theatre is one of London’s top landmarks, welcoming – of course – burlesque and cabaret acts, but also top international artists such as musical legend Michael Ball, French singer Vianney, French comic Kyan Khojandi (creator of Bref) and many more. Guests were also delighted by The Hippodrome Casino’s goodie bags, which included decks of cards and dice... perfect for practicing before their next visit! I 76 - info - march / april 2017



AN INSIDER’S VIEW OF BREXIT At the first Ambassador’s Brief of the year, HE Ms Sylvie Bermann, the French Ambassador, gave an informative, clear and insightful review of Brexit


he event, which was held at the French Residence on 16 January, gathered close to 70 Patron and

Corporate members who were eager to hear Ambassador Bermann’s views on Brexit, and how future developments might impact Franco-British relations. With British Prime Minister Theresa May expected to trigger Article 50, the process that begins negotiations for the UK’s departure from the EU, by the end of March this year, the Ambassador’s Brief was a unique opportunity for French Chamber members to hear an insider’s view to the run-up to the negotiations and to ask questions. Peter




President of the Chamber, moderated the briefing, which was held under strict Chatham House rules in order

upcoming negotiations in exiting the EU.

relations will revert to WTO rules. The

to encourage open and frank opinions

Alfandary then proceeded to ask

impact of the UK leaving the EU does

from both the Ambassador and, later,

Ambassador Bermann about the latest

not affect Britain alone – the economic

the audience, during the question-and-

developments, ranging from the French

impact will certainly be felt right across

answer session.

Government’s position on Brexit to what

Europe and beyond, highlighting the

‘Thank you to HE Ms Sylvie Bermann

her views are of the likely – and the

importance that the negotiations result

for hosting us tonight and for doing this

unlikely – scenarios for the forthcoming

in positive outcomes for all parties.

briefing. It is an interesting day to hear






from you, on the eve of a speech that

As has been widely discussed in

Ambassador took questions from the

I know you will be attending,’ he said,

Parliament and in the media, the UK

audience, before inviting guests to

referring to Prime Minister Theresa May’s

Government will face challenges once

network and keep the discussion going

speech at Lancaster House the next

Article 50 is triggered. It is still unknown

more informally. The French Chamber

day. Indeed, on 17 January, Theresa May

whether the Government will reach


proceeded to lay out the Government’s

a transition agreement with the EU

Bermann for her time, insight and for

12 priorities and objectives for the

member states, or whether trading

hosting the event. I





Above: HE Ms Sylvie Bermann, French Ambassador to the UK, in conversation with Peter Alfandary, Senior Vice President of the Chamber Left: Jean-François Cécillon from Waddington Custot Galleries speaks with Eurostar's Nicolas Petrovic Right: Peter Stevens from TWM Solicitors asks a question from the audience


- march / april 2017 - 77


French contract law has been overhauled for the first time since Napoleonic times. The French Chamber organised a seminar with international law firm Bryan Cave, to discuss whether French law will therefore become the governing law of choice




is to be interpreted according to the

business internationally, they


common intention of the parties, rather

must decide what the governing

than stopping at the literal meaning of

contract law should be. Historically, most

its terms. Where this intention cannot be

have turned to English law, but France has

discerned, a contract is to be interpreted

recently reformed its contract law to make

in the sense that a reasonable person,

it more business-friendly.

placed in the same situation, would give

The French Chamber organised a seminar on 26 January with international

Which business people would not agree that honesty, integrity and transparency are fundamental in business relations?

to it.”,’ he quoted. ‘Isn’t that beautifully ‘Good faith is an incentive for parties


to play fair and encourage a collaborative

law firm Bryan Cave to debate the issue:

Rebutting Rea was Jeremy Aron,

will French contract law soon govern

Group Legal Director at DS Smith, who


international business transactions?

said that the issues around interpretation

accountable for their conduct,’ she said.






are exactly what make French law less

‘Which business people would not agree

at Bryan Cave’s offices to hear from a


that honesty, integrity and transparency

panel of four legal experts, who debated


Close to 50 business leaders gathered





are fundamental in business relations?’

the motion. The debate was chaired by



The final person to speak was Rémy

Peter Rees QC, a Barrister at 39 Essex

generally looking for a law that is

Blain, Managing Partner at Bryan Cave

Chambers who specialises in international

comparatively certain, predictable and

Paris, who debated against the motion. For

commercial arbitration, who highlighted

commercially oriented,’ he explained.

him, the concept of good faith is tricky, as it

the opportunity of the reformed French

‘English law is attractive because of

is not a concept that has been traditionally

contract law and asked the audience to

this certainty. It offers certainty in its

part of contract law negotiations.

consider the motion.

application, its interpretation and also in

‘Companies need predictability in

terms of the consequences of breaching

contracts in order to rely on them,’ he

the terms of contract.’

said. ‘The concept of good faith creates

Interpretation Arguing for the French side, Matthew Rea, Bryan Cave’s Co-Head of the Global



headaches for English-trained lawyers.’

Good faith Pedamon,



was put to the audience: will French




contract law soon govern international

Westminster Law School, then argued

business transactions? Despite the best

A defining feature of the new French

that a key strength of French law was the

efforts of the lawyers debating in favour

contract law, he explained, was around

concept of good faith, which is enshrined

of this, the motion was defeated – English

interpretation. ‘The law says: “A contract

in contract law.

law will continue to reign supreme. I JH

International Arbitration Team, opened


At the end of the debate, the motion

the discussion by praising the overhauled


law for its conciseness.

78 - info - march / april 2017


March 18.00 - 20.00

RENDEZ VOUS CHEZ PIERRE MARCOLINI Pierre Marcolini, 37 Marylebone High Street, W1U 4EQ Open to all members £20+VAT per person Maison Pierre Marcolini was founded in Brussels in 1995 by Pierre Marcolini, a chocolatier renowned for his expert skill and his passion for creating the world’s best chocolates. Participants will discover Pierre Marcolini’s ‘Kawai Easter’ collection as well as taste their delicious financiers, mini-eclairs and Pierre Marcolini’s ‘Signature’ chocolate, as well as their fondant coeur framboise chocolate! For further information please contact Anne-Claire Lo Bianco at: or 0207 092 6643

22 March

ANNUAL GALA DINNER WITH SADIQ KHAN, MAYOR OF LONDON At The Landmark Hotel London, 222 Marylebone Road, London NW1 6JQ Open to all members

19.00 - 23.00

The French Chamber of Great Britain will host 400 participants at its most prestigious event of the year, the Annual Gala, featuring a Champagne reception, a gastronomic dinner with fine wines, live entertainment and a silent auction. To be included in the waiting list, please contact Sonia Olsen at: or 02090726641 G OLD SPO NSORS


25 April

18.00- 20.00

RENDEZ-VOUS CHEZ DEVIALET At Devialet UK, 19 Tileyard Road, Tileyard Studios, London, N7 9AH Open to all members £20+VAT Experience the impressive sound of Phantom from Devialet, the high tech French company and international leader in high end audio. Gain an insight into the brand and their premises while networking with up to 30 fellow members. With the Phantom implosive sound system emitting frequencies above and below the audible frequency spectrum for an ultra dense sound with physical impact, Devialet is revolutionising the music industry. For further information, please contact Anne-Claire Lo Bianco at:


- march / april 2017 - 79

26 April

LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA At the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, Lambeth, London SE1 8XX For Patron’s main representatives and their spouses (by invitation only)

18.30- 21.45

Join us at the London Philharmonic Orchestra to enjoy an evening of Masterpieces: Wagner and Bruckner, with Egils Silins, bass-baritone, conducted by Marek Janowski. For more information, contact Sonia Olsen at on 020 7092 6641

05 May

08.00 - 10.00

BREAKFAST WITH TANUJA RANDERY, ZONE PRESIDENT UK & IRELAND, SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC At The Berkeley Hotel, Wilton Place, Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7RL £40+VAT per person; £60+VAT - Special price for 2 - Open to all members Tanuja Randery is Zone President UK & Ireland at Schneider Electric, a position she has held since 2015, after a number of years at BT Global Services. Prior to that, she was CEO of MarketPrizm, a global trading infrastructure and market data company specialising in low latency technology services to capital market firms. Randery also spent ten years with Colt Technology Services, in both strategy and operational roles, including Managing Director of Benelux and the UK and Ireland. She started her career in the US with McKinsey, the global strategy consulting firm, where she spent seven years as a consultant. In 2014, Institutional Investor ranked Randery in the 2014 Top 50 Technology Professionals. Do not miss your chance to hear about Schneider Electric’s strategy, and meet with more than 70 high representatives from within the Franco-British community. For more information, contact Sonia Olsen at on 020 7092 6641

11 May

18.00 - 20.00

RENDEZ-VOUS CHEZ LA MAISON MAILLE At La Maison Maille, 2 Piccadilly Arcade, London SW1Y 6NH Open to all members £20+VAT per person

After the success of their two networking events in 2015 (Rendez-vous chez… and PA Club), La Maison Maille is back on 11 May to introduce their new products and activities during another sparkling and tasty networking event where you will have the opportunity to meet with 30 new business contacts. For more information, contact Anne-Claire Lo Bianco at or 0207 092 6643

80 - info - march / april 2017


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Patron Members of the French Chamber in Great Britain Patron Members of the French Chamber in Great Britain




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