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

april / may 2012

also in this issue

5 minutes with

Carolyn McCall, CEO of easyJet

the success story of The Art Newspaper

Human Resources: The elusive hunt for talent

Ludovic de Montille, BNP PARIBAS, takes Hockney to the RAA

new @ the Chamber: a recruitment service a Finance Forum

Leather Forever E










6 BU R L I NgtoN ga R DENS L o N D o N w1 S 3E t

8th to 27th may 2012

10a m to 6Pm Da ILy / 10a m to 10Pm FR IDay / a DmISSIoN FR EE By a R R a NgEm EN t w I t h t h E Roya L aca DEm y oF a RtS

Arnaud Vaissié


President, French Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain, and Chairman & CEO, International SOS

A time for looking forward


uman beings are the very core of our businesses. The critical factor in the survival, in the thriving, or in the expansion of a business is not finance or scale, but the individual’s capacity to contribute to and inspire a firm. Human resources are the topic of this issue’s Focus and we thank our HR Forum, under its chairperson Rose Gledhill, for its very valuable input and contribution. Young firms owe their lives to an individual or a group having a vision and acting on it. They achieve longevity and they expand when they are able to put in place systems that harness their creativity and energy. The matrixes of a large company work best when they harness the energies of individual employees most effectively. Talented individuals challenge preconceptions and make changes. Their thoughts may be uncomfortable but the best companies need to respond to a vision and embrace change. Change is the challenge to companies in pursuit of restless growth. One thought is repeated in the course of this Focus, this is the shortage of talent. The price of recession can be counted in the number of jobs lost, and this has been very painful. A massive pool of people is seeking work. Yet talent remains scarce. Companies have to sift recruits better to find the able or inspirational person to make the difference. When other resources are most scarce, the human resource is particularly precious. Now may be the best time to see that your firm is allowing each of its individual members to contribute to their utmost. As the economic upturn comes – and we see some recent evidence that stability is returning to the global economy – individuals with energy will drive the firm forward. The individual will achieve most when they work within a team, harnessing the knowledge and talents of others. The Chamber facilitates this by introducing members to others who can assist their endeavours. The wider we can expand the pool of new contacts, the more valuable. Members come in ever increasing numbers to the Chamber’s clubs and forums, hoping to draw on colleagues for ideas and information. Indeed, we are pleased to announce that we are launching a Recruitment service dedicated to our members. We plan to match the requirements of member companies with the needs of bilingual people looking for a job in the UK who instinctively turn to the Chamber. The omens for success are already most promising. This is an opportune time to launch a new product as we see ahead a more hopeful economic landscape. I The recent Budget undoubtedly gives a fillip to the business community. Its reduction in corporation tax is particularly welcome: from 26% to 24% next month and to 22% in 2014, that will make the UK corporation tax one of the lowest of the G20 countries. As we show in our Breaking News section, this Budget gives a strong and positive message about Britain. As the country takes stock of its economic prospects, such a message makes a lot of good commonsense.

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issue 200 / March - April 2012


The Fabergé Big Egg Hunt


Olympic shorts

Breaking News

10 Budget 2012: The very good, the good & the ugly

5 Minutes With...

12 Carolyn McCall, CEO of easyJet

News in the City

15 Don’t bet your silk shirt on a lasting recovery! 17 What future in forecasts? 18 Weird and Wonderful world of the Forecaster

Olympic section

21 Olympic shorts 23 Belem sets sail 24 Getting ready for the Games: The State of Play


27 28 29 30 31

AXA business insurance HSBC launches a fund to support SMEs "Mumpreneurs" encouraged to do business Veolia Wins HR Distinction Award BBMV awarded contract worth £110 million Sopra Group makes 2 acquisitions in the UK PSA & GM global alliance France 24 on Freeview Veni Partners launches a Not-For-Profit practice Eurotunnel is getting ready for the Olympics Eurostar: WIFI onboard Ligne Roset goes online Managing Director: Florence Gomez Editor-in-chief: Nicolas Kochan Assistant Editors: Agnieszka Karch & Lawrence Joffe Head of Communications: Hannah Medioni Graphic Designer: Prima Hevawitharane Advertising: David Lislet - Tel: (020) 7092 6651 Subscription: INFO is published every 2 months. Printed by: Headley Brothers Ltd Cover picture: © Andresr


New Hermès exhibition in London: Leather Forever!


An unrecognised resource: women in the boardroom


Britain’s brand builders gain strength from tradition


Citroën: A brand on the move with the launch of the new DS5

Fabergé unveils Diamond Jubilee egg 32 Leather Forever: brought to London by Hermès 33 sketch redesigned by Martin Creed Hello/Goodbye 34 UK Regional Review

58 Getting the numbers right: workers with disabilities 59 Key steps towards diversity in the workplace



Success Story

36 The fine art of magazine publishing

63 book reviews 64 How BNP Paribas brought Hockney to Royal Academy of Arts


Wine Press


38 The paradox of HR management 39 HR key dates 40 France and the UK: the pain of unemployment is mutual 42 Bridging the gap between knowledge and work 44 Employment laws in England: an easier ride? 46 Winning the war for talent 47 HR hot topics 48 High-tech companies go for flexibility 51 Managing in hard times 52 Using technology to crack the job market 53 Employment law changes: Fair or unfair? 54 Cherishing difference helps boosting growth: the example of AXA 55 A war for talent – staff retention 56 An unrecognised resource: women in the boardroom

Editorial Committee: Fiona Colgan, Kady Doumbia, Madeleine Field, Patrick Gougeon, Morgan Lobb, Sharokh Koussari, Salèha Pinhorn, Emmanuelle Ries, Jerome Varesano & Caroline Yarrow. Contributors: Sue Beddow, Eric Charriaux, Régis Charpentier, Jon Dawson, James Douglas, Freya El Baz, Darain Faraz, Valérie Ferrand, Madeleine Field, Patrick Gougeon, Laurent Grossi, Kate Headley, Sharokh Koussari, Katherine Lampen, Thibault Lavergne, Graeme Leach, Morgan Lobb, Karine Mangion, Jack Mathers, Rebecca Poole, Salèha Pinhorn, Annabelle Pritchard,

News @ the Chamber

69 New Members @ the Chamber Chamber’s unique recruitment service Citroën: A brand on the move with the launch of the new DS5 75 CEO Breakfast with Jean-Dominique Mallet 76 Exclusive Film Preview of Bel Ami, courtesy of Cinemoi 77 UK Economy: The long haul back 78 Britain’s brand builders gain strength from tradition 79 New Chair brings informal touch to HR Forum 80 Chamber opens new Finance Forum 81 Seeking your opinion on Climate Change Forthcoming events 70 72 73 74

Emmanuelle Ries, Anne Roques, Caroline Stabb, Melanie Stancliffe, Caroline Yarrow Distribution: CCFGB members, Franco-British decision makers, Business Class lounges of Eurostar, Eurotunnel & Air France in London, Paris and Manchester. Editorial and Publishing Offices: French Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain Lincoln House, 300 High Holborn London WC1V 7JH Tel: (020) 7092 6600; Fax: (020) 7092 6601

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Patron Members of the French Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain

LOGO Nยบ dossier : 20110049E Date : 31/05/11 Validation DA/DC : Validation Client

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Š photo credits: VINCI and subsidiaries photo libraries, BAA photo library.

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breakin g n e w s

Graeme Leach

Budget 2012: The very good, the good & the ugly This article was first published by Graeme Leach, Director of Policy at the Institute of Directors, March 2012

© flickr/HM Treasury

BUDGET MEASURES grounds that it would more The 2012 Budget was a mix of the closely link pay and performance very good, the good and the ugly and also because national public for business. sector pay scales often undermine The very good news was that private sector competitiveness. the Chancellor listened to the We’re really pleased to see the IoD’s call for an acceleration in Chancellor pushing ahead in this the reduction of Corporation area. If schools and hospitals are Tax, which now falls to 22 per given the freedom to set pay at cent by 2014-15. This means the local level, it could transform that the Chancellor will have the public sector. We also spotted presided over a 6 percentage The world famous Gladstone Budget box another very significant aside point reduction in Corporation from the Chancellor when he Tax – pretty good going in a tough fiscal environment referred to the extension of choice and competition in when deficit reduction is the number one priority. Of schools, stating that in the long-term this could do more course, this shouldn’t be the end of the road, as the IoD to transform the economy than any Budget. Bang on. wants to see the rate down to 15 per cent by 2020. But The Budget was also good for what it didn’t include, thankfully this is now very doable and would send a namely any removal of higher rate tax relief on pensions powerful signal to the world that the UK wants a highly – something which had been mooted in the press over competitive tax system. So let’s not be churlish, 22 per recent weeks. In a 2012 Policy Voice survey two-thirds of cent represents real progress. IoD members opposed the removal of higher rate relief The Coalition ‘big deal’ in the Budget was the trade– a statistic we passed on to the Chancellor. Radical off of a reduction in the top rate of Income Tax for a reform of the pension system is required, but the Budget sharp hike in the personal allowance to £9,205 – within is not the place for it. spitting distance of the £10,000 target in this Parliament. A whole swathe of microeconomic initiatives Unfortunately the Chancellor clawed back most of this were announced, covering transport infrastructure, gain from higher rate taxpayers by lowering the higher enterprise zones, planning reform, North Sea rate threshold from 2013 (total income of £41,450). allowances and super-fast broadband, as the Chancellor Consequently higher rate taxpayers (up to £100,000, sort to demonstrate the Government really does have because the personal allowance is progressively a supply-side growth strategy. Most of the initiatives withdrawn at this income level) receive only a quarter seem sensible, but the proof of the pudding will be in the of the gain received by basic rate taxpayers. eating. What is clear is that radical reform of planning, Over recent years the IoD has consistently argued infrastructure provision, regulation and employment for the decentralisation of public sector pay, on the law is required and yet these initiatives merely nibble at

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the edge of the problem. Where we have a bigger problem with the Budget is the half-hearted reduction of the top rate of Income Tax to 45 per cent. A 45 per cent rate will mean that two thirds of OECD countries still have more attractive top rates than the UK. The Chancellor should have cut the top rate back to 40 percent. HMRC calculate that the reduction to 45 per cent will cost a mere £100 million – the fiscal term for this is peanuts. At the Despatch Box the Chancellor made a very deliberate point to emphasise that other proposed tax hikes will take ‘5 times as much money off the rich’. The Chancellor made a clear case against the 50 per cent tax rate. He knows it damages wealth creation and means that you get less money from high-income individuals. But he left in place the effective 62 per cent tax rate that people suffer as their income rises from £100,000 to £116,000, because of the withdrawal of the personal allowance. This is crazy. He should have killed this ugly feature of the tax system.

MACROECONOMIC OUTLOOK From a macroeconomic perspective the Budget was a case of no change. The OBR forecast for UK growth and inflation is broadly unchanged from its November 2011 forecast. GDP growth is forecast at 0.8 per cent in 2012, 2 per cent in 2013 and 2.7 per cent in 2014. These are credible numbers, providing the euro-crisis doesn’t intensify – the elephant in the room. The IoD has stated that the UK economic outlook in 2012 is bi-polar. By this we mean that the eventual outturn for growth is likely to be significantly better or worse than the consensus view. In other words there is significant downside and upside forecast risk. The downside risk from the euro-crisis is obvious. What is less obvious is the upside forecast risk. Recent IoD surveys have shown that companies are relatively optimistic about the outlook for revenue and profits, but they are also very cautious about implementing investment and recruitment plans. These plans remain on the shelf, but they could be dusted down and implemented in the second half of this year, if consumer and business confidence continue to improve. The key factor blocking implementation of these plans is not cash, but confidence. UK companies are sitting on a mountain of cash – although there is a bias towards large companies, able to access capital markets and take advantage of low bond yields – but they lack confidence, shown by the fact that 1 in 2 IoD members believe a break-up of the euro is likely. So GDP growth in the second half of 2012 could be faster than the OBR

© flickr/HM Treasury

breaking news

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne alongside Treasury ministers (L to R: Mark Hoban, Danny Alexander, David Gauke, Justine Greening, Lord Sassoon)

expect, driven by improved confidence and the impact of the second wave of quantitative easing on the monetary policy transmission mechanism. The fall back in CPI inflation – slightly hindered by higher oil prices – should also mean that the squeeze in real earnings will be much reduced and possibly over by the end of the year – thereby reducing the negative drag on consumer spending. Unfortunately the problem with this scenario is potential developments in the euro-zone. The ECB’s 1 trillion euro loan to euro-zone banks has certainly helped ease the liquidity crisis, but most of this money is not being used to purchase sovereign debt, but simply left on deposit at the ECB. In other words the sovereign insolvency problem remains and in our view Greece will exit the euro at some stage. What is less clear is whether or not UK corporate and consumer confidence will have recovered sufficiently to accelerate business investment and employment, before any potential intensification of the crisis occurs. Much uncertainty remains regarding economic prospects in 2012. Consequently we strongly support the Chancellor’s decision to continue with the deficit reduction strategy, with public sector net borrowing falling to 1.1 per cent of GDP by 2016-17. Our concern is that if the GDP outlook were to undershoot OBR projections, the outlook for net borrowing and debt could look very different. The deficit reduction package remains highly sensitive to GDP growth and economic history teaches the fiscal situation can turn dramatically so projections 2-3 let alone 4-5 years ahead, can be very inaccurate. I

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5 m i n u te s w ith ...

EasyJet looks for business lift-off Carolyn McCall, the CEO of easyJet, is leading a revolution in low-cost flying. The airline, once perceived as budget and basic, is now seeking upmarket travellers. Here she describes her plans and achievements

Could you describe changes in your market?

The whole world of business travelling has changed. If you are going long-haul, company policies allow you to go business class. It makes good sense because you arrive fresh and you are doing a day’s work. But a lot of companies are being cost-conscious about shorthaul. You are only on a plane for a short time, and it is difficult to justify huge amounts of money. That is where we come in. You are pitching for more business customers. How are you seeking to reach them?

© wikipedia/Biggerben

When we started to look at developing our position among the business community, we already had around 16 percent of the market. We have said that we can increase that by doing three or four key things. We hadn’t talked to travel management companies. We had a philosophy where the customer either booked direct on the web or didn’t travel with us. We

have shifted that and created a product for business travellers called Flexi fare. It allows you to change your ticket anytime within a month and up to two hours before you are due to fly with no additional charge. You also get Speedy Boarding and luggage in the hold included. It is much cheaper than the equivalent in a legacy carrier such as BA. We have also spoken to the Global Distribution System, and at the end of 2012, we signed a contract with Amadeus. There has been more branding to build awareness among the business passenger. We have also set up a sales team, talking to travel management companies and to corporates themselves. What are the problems with going for the business travel market?

There is a perception that low cost equals low service. We are determined to reverse that. We have made a lot of progress in dealing with the perception issue in the UK and we have some way to go in other markets in mainland Europe. We have only really scratched the surface in France and Germany, but we have done better in Switzerland. We are aware of constantly ensuring we have a highly differentiated position, which is value and service. How well is the new marketing programme succeeding?

The 200th easyJet Airbus

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It has been good so far. We have an 18 percent share of the market. When I joined the company two years ago, passenger numbers were in the 40-plus million range. They are now at 55 million. We have about 10 million business passengers.

5 m i n u t es with CArolyn McCall

How far does your route network support the new business push?

We haven’t needed to change the network strategy because we already fly to major airports. Indeed, 85 percent of our airports are primary airports. All we had to do was increase our frequencies rather than change the schedule. Two years ago we were doing four returns between London and Amsterdam a day, we are now doing 12 or 13. We do Paris-Toulouse seven times a day. That is what passengers are looking for. We are cutting some less profitable business routes, such as destinations in Scandinavia. We are careful about where we put our capacity. We have just opened two new bases in Toulouse and Carolyn McCall, CEO of easyJet Nice. We already fly to them, but we will now have aircraft and crew based there tight, there is a more disciplined market. That makes and we can do more early morning departures for the business community and leisure. That brings our it better for us as prices go up a bit. total number of bases in France to five thus making A number of airlines have left the market, so there is less competition, but also less flying, so those that France our second largest after the UK. fly those routes can put prices gently up, because What are marketing challenges for the low-cost airline consumers will pay as they don’t have an alternative to flying. We are hedged already at a high level for in France? We have issues of perception to address in France. If the next financial year. We smooth that bump so that we can communicate effectively, we will get a lot of we know what we are in for, we expect the fuel price to remain high for the next two to three years. This is saliency in France. They view low-cost airlines as a bit on the cheap side and not to be taken too seriously. where a strong balance sheet really comes into play. We have very quickly become the number two carrier in France. But the low-fare market there is only 24 How profitable is easyJet? percent against nearly 50 percent in the UK and a 44 We make £4 profit per seat. We have to work very percent average in the EU, so there is still a long way hard to make £248m profit a year. Nothing is easy, but to grow and a real opportunity for us in France. I would say that capacity discipline helps pricing. What is the impact on easyJet of the Eurozone crisis and economic uncertainty?

Recession is better for us because it puts greater pressure on other airlines than it does on us. The high price of oil is also better for us, although it is gruellingly difficult, because it represents 30 percent of our cost base. We are hedged. It makes the whole capacity issue, that is the amount of flying airlines do, critical. Pricing goes up when airlines restrain how much flying they do. If there is too much capacity in the market, prices go down. If the capacity is very

How do environmental issues play for easyJet?

We are doing a thorough review of the fleet, we have the next generation of engines coming up that manufacturers say can save 15 percent of fuel. We are in the process of doing a lot of technical evaluation, followed by economic evaluation. Once we have reached our decision, we plan how we transition to the new engines. The economics will largely be about the fuel efficiency. Things that seemed ridiculous three years ago with a lower fuel price seem much less ridiculous now. I Interview by Nicolas Kochan

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Societe Generale is a credit institution and an investment services provider (entitled to perform any banking activity and/or to provide any investment service under MiFID except the operation of Multilateral Trading Facilities) authorised and regulated by the French Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel («ACP») (the French Prudential Control Authority) and the Autorité des Marchés Financiers («AMF»). Societe Generale is subject to limited regulation by the Financial Services Authority («FSA») for the conduct of its business in the UK. Details of the extent of its regulation by the Financial Services Authority are available from us on request. Societe Generale benefits from the EC passport authorizing the provision of investment services within the EEA. This material has been prepared solely for information purposes and does not constitute an offer from Societe Generale to buy or sell any security or financial instrument, or participate in any trading strategy. Not all financial instruments offered by Societe Generale are available in all jurisdictions. Please contact your local office for any further information. 2012 Societe Generale Group and its affiliates. © GettyImages - FRED & FARID

CIB_INFO MAG_197X279_BU_GB.indd 1

29/02/12 14:17

news in the city

Don’t bet your silk shirt on a lasting recovery! Today’s recovery is not exactly built on straw, but the Greek bail-out should not fuel too much optimism. There are plenty of worrying straws in the wind left for the City to dwell on

t the darkest point in the economic cycle, the slightest ray of light of recovery seems out of reach. But when the light becomes brighter, you wonder why you never saw it quicker. So it is in today’s economy. The recasting of the Greek deficit through the €130bn bail-out facility arranged by the European Central Bank, the IMF and members of the Eurozone, coupled with the acceptance by the private bank bond holders to write off over half their loans, puts the crisis of the last year in perspective. The doom-mongers have for the time being, at least, been silenced. The talk of Eurozone meltdown has retreated and the pessimists that spoke of further bank collapses under a mountain of debt displacement have quietened down. Filling the gap left by the bears has been a roaring of bulls, who today command the European stock markets with a vengeance. The turnaround in sentiment has indeed been dramatic. For that reason alone, many wonder if it is sustainable over any period. These sceptics are not doomsters with an irrational belief in the impossibility of recovery. Rather, they point to some concerning straws in the wind that will delay the achievement of growth and ultimately economic recovery. One line of thought coming from sceptics is the view that the Greek default has not been averted, just postponed. For them, the best outcome is that the major European countries have gained a breathing space to manage the ejection of Greece from the Eurozone in a way that will not damage its entire economic structure. So that is one hurdle over the next six months. Another is the economic policies likely to be adopted by the US, in the wake of its November elections. Whoever becomes President, the country faces some daunting economic issues, in particular an unsustainable deficit, a bubble in US Treasuries (the sovereign bonds which

© wikipedia/ ΠΑΣΟΚ


The Greek parliament

fund the deficit) and a still unresolved level of bank debt. The best bet, say forecasters of the US over the next two years, is a retrenchment by the governmental sector and a weaker investing climate. The final medium-term worry concerns the ability of banks to manage the downsizing that seems inevitable as regulators require the setting aside of additional capital (in particular under Basle III) and governments seek to move away from the responsibility as lenders of last resort. Further to this is the structural rebalancing, as banks separate commercial and investment arms. Each of these activities carries costs and risks with very little prospect of anything better at the end of the tunnel than survival. One lesson of recent years is a scepticism of bubbles, and this should not lead commentators to excessive gloom. Another lesson is to examine the fundamentals of a business, of an economy, or of a country. These at least have some substance in today’s fast-moving, not to say volatile economic conditions. Using the criterion of fundamentals, well, investors in the City are not betting their silk shirts on a lasting recovery any time soon. I NK

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With diesel prices at an all-time high, isn’t it time you switched? The 100% electric Renault Kangoo Van Z.E. is now eligible for the new Plug-in-Van government grant, meaning prices start from just £13,592 excluding VAT and On The Road charges. And with lower running costs, zero road tax and exemption from the Congestion Charge, it’s up to 35% more affordable to own than an equivalent diesel van (10% if you operate outside London). Oh, did we mention it’s also International Van of the Year and What Van? Van of the Year 2012? To find out more, visit or visit your local dealer.

DRIVE THE CHANGE Business users only *Saving is based on 4 years and 10,000 miles per year. For full details of saving calculation please refer to Battery hire cost for 4 years and 10,000 miles per annum at £67 per month (excluding VAT). Official range of 106 miles according to the NEDC combined cycle. From price, after 20% Plug in Van grant deduction, starts from £13,592 plus VAT, delivery (£595) and first registration fee (£55). Vehicles are covered by a warranty package for up to 48 months. The first 2 years are unlimited mileage, followed by a further 2 years up to 100,000 miles. Please see the warranty terms and conditions ( for further details. Servicing offer covers cars for 4 years or 48,000 miles and vans (excluding the Debut range) for 4 years or 80,000 miles, whichever comes first. Services must be carried out in line with the manufacturer’s minimum maintenance programme requirements and servicing intervals, and can only be carried out at a Renault Approved outlet. Renault Assistance Roadside Cover is provided in association with the AA. Cover from month 0 to 36 includes assistance at the roadside and home, national recovery, onward travel and European cover. Cover from month 37 to 48 includes Roadside and Homestart (including a local tow to an authorised Renault dealer). The provider of this cover is the Automobile Association Limited. For Finance, guarantees and indemnities may required. You must be at least 18 and a UK resident (excluding the Isle of Man and Channel Islands) to apply. Finance provided by RCI Financial Services Limited, PO Box 149, Watford WD17 1FJ. Available at participating dealers only. 16 -beinfo - april / may 2012 Not available in conjunction with any other schemes or finance offers, please check with your local dealer for information. Offers are available to retail and business customers (but exclude fleet customers with own terms), and are valid on new vehicles, at point of new vehicle registration, when ordered from 1st February 2012 until further notice. Visit

news in the cit y

What future in forecasts? There is a hunger for knowledge about the future of economic markets. But, in the light of


hoever can read the future can pick their markets, their consumers and their prices. It is no wonder that there are many people who are paid to do just that. But what do you get for your money when these forecasters (for most part) failed to predict the crash, the biggest value loser of them all? The answer is a lot of knowledge and information, landing on your desk, from which you can make your own deductions as to how to act. Knowledge in finance is power, and banks are hiring more analysts and forecasters to ensure they make the best calls on a highly uncertain market. The performance of their forecasters in predicting the last crash was nothing less than dismal, said the chief economist at a leading French bank. ‘General forecasters didn’t do a tremendous job in predicting the crash, and although there could be a perception that models used by forecasters are less good than people previously thought, there is the perception that people still need to do forecasting.’ Another key source of information for companies are rating agencies. But it is now well understood that their performance before and during the crash was as lamentable as that of the forecasters. Yet the banker referred to above is still enthusiastic about building links with the agencies and reading their advice. ‘We look at Moody’s’ and Standard and Poor’s ratings and we talk to them. They give us ideas and a benchmark with which you can compare your own view. The key question is not whether rating agencies are doing a bad job. The fact is that ratings will always be arbitrary, in the same way that forecasts are arbitrary. What matters for us is how we use the rating, how it assists us to solve our problems. People have given too much importance to the views of rating agencies. The important thing is for the investors to do their own assessment.’ The failure to forecast the crash might have been expected to cause disillusionment and mistrust in the financial community, the biggest buyers of

© flickr/odetothebigsea (Paul Sturgess)

the crash, how helpful it is for banks and others, is a quite different matter

forecasts. But forecasting organisations contend that the sheer unpredictability of the crisis, far from causing purchasers to walk away, has actually made their services appear more essential. Charles Burton, a forecaster at Oxford Economics, says, ‘Uncertainty creates demand for analysis and forecasts. The sophisticated user understands the limitations of models but still finds them useful. If you’re not an economist, it is very hard to make sense of the future, it is an awful fog you can’t see through. It is compounded by a great mass of current data which is hard to interpret and may be pointing in different directions.’ Indeed, the two leading forecasting companies, Oxford and IHS Global Insight, both claim that their business has grown throughout the crisis reportedly showing average top-line growth of 20 percent over the last five years. An IHS Global Insight spokesman said: ‘If the clients are unhappy, we haven’t seen it in our business. In uncertain environments people turn to people that they trust in relative terms, because they need as much information as they can get. Companies may be diversifying a bit, trying to maximise the intelligence and insight they can buy in. They are getting more information rather than less.’ I NK

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news in the cit y


Weird and Wonderful world of the Forecaster The components that go into forecasts are much more numerous, unpredictable and incalculable in a globalised world, says Dr Angela Wilkinson. But the biggest problem is that the thing that appears smallest can have disproportionately large impacts. Needless to say, the reverse is also true


r Angela Wilkinson is one of the world’s leading forecasters. As head of the Futures Directorate at the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment at the University of Oxford, she advises Shell and many other conglomerates about how the world is changing, and what it will look like decades down the line. She says the world is changing fast and dramatically. ‘In the past large things had big effects and small things had small effects; now small things have big effects. Dr Angela Wilkinson It is no longer linear. Markets today are like open networks, with interactions. There are no longer the neatly bounded space and the known set of agents so valued by forecasting. When you try to forecast growth in interconnected economies, forecasting becomes extremely difficult. In this world, supply chains have got longer and longer, they are no longer like motorways, they are more like spaghetti junctions. They are value webs or constellations that are constantly positioning and repositioning themselves and adjusting.’ In today’s world, there are sudden changes that come out of nowhere and disrupt the ability to predict anything. ‘Forecasts are useful when you have all the data and the system works incrementally. Now, you can’t have all the data, and change doesn’t happen in a straight line. The forecasting method points to things being high, medium, or low. Forecasting relies on things from the past continuing into the future. They haven’t recognised that things from the past are going to catch up with them. There can be inconvenient signals that don’t fit a model or a forecast. Forecasters look for

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comfortable forecasts.’ The alternative to forecasting, for Dr Wilkinson, is the scenario. Here again, Oxford’s Smith School has been visionary. She says, ‘Scenarios look at the various possible futures, they ask “what if” questions; so what if climate change happens at the same time as an economic recession? Does the result look like a death spiral, a double-dip recession, or a slow and gentle glide? What signals are we looking for to determine which of these is most likely? Different scenarios are not incompatible, so some say a double dip, and some a death spiral. Alternative theories can coexist, they can be wrong, but also useful.’ Scenarios and forecasting differ in their degree of exactitude, she says. ‘Forecasting focuses on precision. Scenarios focus on the quality of judgement. This is to do with the depth and quality of strategic conversations. A model is a story of how the world works. Scenarios don’t test the sensitivity of models. In the scenario, we like to see if the black box works and under what conditions it works best. In forecasting, you look at a cone of uncertainty. With scenarios, you see if you are about to fall off the end of the cliff. Scenarios look at the non-specific and non-measurable things that are still imaginatively conceivable.’ The world of markets according to Angela Wilkinson is not merely far more complex, it is also far less measurable and precise. She points to the impact of globalisation, of the plethora of markets whose behaviours differ amongst each other. This adds to the surfeit of information that makes crystal balls that much less reliable. I NK

news in the cit y

The shrinking City

It’s OK to be stressed!

||| Life in the City of London has never felt more precarious. Every banker you speak to either fears for his job or is in the process of firing others in his bank. Indeed, some are in both positions. One banker has been asked to prepare a list of redundancies where he heads the list. One very large global bank has already announced a cut of 30,000 staff by next year. Others have announced smaller numbers. The City as a whole lost 27,000 jobs last year, or 8.5 percent of the total. The one positive space in jobs are those in compliance and risk management. New climate, new skills in demand. I

||| How quickly the City has forgiven Antonio HortaOsorio for his collapse from exhaustion in November last year. At the time, many said he had shown himself incapable of handling a job of this magnitude. We heard how he had not slept for five consecutive nights before going to the doctor. Now we see him, very logically, delegating his executive powers to his colleagues and reducing the number that report to him. This is more evidence that stress is no longer the unspoken state of business life. People are talking about it, some are even trying to reduce their own levels. I

Stanford’s MBA crown ||| Congratulations to Stanford Graduate School of Business, which has won top spot in the Financial Times’ Global MBA Rankings for the first time. Stanford has displaced Wharton and LBS, joint winners last year. The Stanford MBA has been particularly successful in gaining large salaries for its alumni three years after graduation. The average salary earned by a Stanford graduate is a very considerable $191,647, ahead of near rival Harvard. This qualification is paying its way handsomely. I

Stanford University

UK feeds the world

UK taught the French the FTT!

||| Britain is no longer famous for its food companies. But some still remain and are now proving innovative. Take, for example, Burton’s Biscuits which is seeking to interest the new rich in Russia with its Wagon Wheels brand. United Biscuits (part owned by PAI Partners (Paribas Affaires Industrielles) is pushing its products in India, and Warburtons, the British makers of quality bread, finds a market in Eastern Europe. Britain may not rule the world but it at least intends to feed it! I

||| All eyes are on the French implementation of its Financial Transactions Tax, the so-called FTT or Tobin Tax. Finance Minister François Baroin says the tax has been modelled on the UK stamp duty (indeed, it is a smaller impost than stamp, which levies 0.5 percent on a transaction, as opposed to the FTT’s 0.1 percent). So he expects the flight of banks from Paris to London to be minimal. For the moment, the City is holding its breath, as France seeks to persuade other Eurozone partners to follow suit. I

Moody’s’ turn to get tough on ratings ||| The warning signs were highlighted in the last issue of INFO. And in the middle of February, they moved one step closer to implementation. The ominous reality is that Britain is joining France and other Eurozone countries in losing their AAA rating. Moody’s, it seems,

is planning to follow its more aggressive fellow rating agency, Standard & Poor’s in downgrading the UK. S&P has already downgraded France and most other Eurozone economies. One wonders how long it will be before the AAA category is so exclusive that no one inhabits it. I

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It’s not just our power stations that are evolving news

Exceptional careers for women in engineering To build the next generation of nuclear power stations, we need teams who are at the top of their game. And because the highest performing teams are also the most diverse, we’re looking for exceptional engineers from all backgrounds. People who want to take advantage of everything from our nuclear new build programme to our links with France. Those who aspire to excel within a truly inclusive culture and who have the talent to realise a sustainable energy future. Find out more at

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Olympic Section

Olympic shorts INFO is proud to launch its first Olympic Games round-up. This section will appear in the next six issues of the magazine and provide a news commentary on the London Olympic Games as well as the legacy. We hope that members who are involved with the Games will contribute

Games will benefit London

Focus on one Olympic sport: JUDO

||| According to a February 2012 study by sponsorship experts Havas Sports & Entertainment, 54% of respondents felt that hosting the Games would be ‘a great thing for the country’. 48% versus 18% predicted that the sports spectacular would generate income for Britain said Havas director of sponsorships, Alastair Macdonald I

||| 386 judo players in seven categories will compete in a direct-elimination tournament during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Each fight will last five minutes and the players will be awarded points for their technical skills. The winners of each fight will qualify to the next rounds, and further fights will take place until only two finalists remain. The losing contenders of the quarterfinals will meet again for two second-chance rounds. The winners of the latter will then compete for two bronze medals against the two players defeated in the semi-finals in each category. Fights will take place between 28 July and 3 August 2012 at the ExCel site, which will also host other Olympic and Paralympic events. Each day of the competition will be devoted to one weight category – men’s and women’s. I

Village springs to life… ||| London’s Olympics Village passed a crucial milestone in February with a fitting out ceremony. Work also started on bringing wi-fi services, café, village plaza, a welcoming centre, bank, general stores, exercise equipment and even a beauty salon. It is all part of a project that began in June 2008 and will bequeath 2,818 new apartments across 11 individually designed plots as a legacy to London. I

Opportunities aplenty for SMEs? ||| For the first time in Olympic history, organisers have created a sponsorship programme specifically for small and medium sized enterprises. Called simply Team 2012, it allows private firms to fund some 1,200 British athletes, and in the process raise their own profile. 22 companies had signed up by the end of last year. Joining, however, costs £15,000, which can be testing for firms struggling during these hard times. I For more information please visit

France’s Teddy Riner, 5 time World Judo Champion in the +100kg category, is favourite to take gold in London

Get set for the Olympics with the Club Ambition Sport! ||| The club was launched by the French National Olympic Committee (CNOSF) to build support amongst companies for the French team performance at the Olympics. Companies will have the opportunity to become privileged supporters of the French Team by becoming a member of the Club. All your employees will have access to a Smartphone application with: Push notifications on all latest Games results, athletes/trainers’ interviews, discounts on partners products and services (Adidas...) I Annual fee of 1000€ to join the club. For more information contact Hannah Medioni on

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Olympic Section

London 2012 confirms Torchbearers and street route for Olympic Flame ||| LOCOG confirmed places for over 7,300 inspiring people who will be carrying the Olympic Flame as Torchbearers. An average of 115 Torchbearers a day will carry the Flame during its 8,000 mile journey around the UK before it arrives at the Olympic Stadium on 27 July 2012 for the lighting of the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony, signifying the official start of the London Olympic Games. The streets along which the Torchbearers will carry the Olympic Flame were also revealed at www.london2012. com/olympictorchrelay to help communities plan for lining the route and business continuity. The online map gives street-by-street details and the approximate start times for how and when the Flame will travel through over 1,000 villages, towns and cities in the UK that were announced at the end of last year. I

Partners & Sponsors corner EDF Energy helps British Paralympic Association set new standard for sustainability

Deloitte-supported athletes confirmed for London 2012 Paralympics

||| EDF, the official electricity supplier of London 2012, has helped the British Paralympic Association (BPA) achieve a world first - with the Paralympics GB 2011 Simulation Camp becoming the first event of its kind to receive a global accreditation for sustainability. The Camp, held at the University of Bath, is the first multi-day sporting event to achieve a silver accreditation for sustainability from the Council for Responsible Sport (CRS). EDF Energy has been working in partnership with the BPA since 2010, helping them become a greener team. EDF Energy worked with a number of organisations involved with the 2011 camp including the BPA, the University of Bath and waste management specialist M.J. Church to improve the environmental impact of the athletes’ stay in a number of ways - from promoting recycling facilities and low carbon transport to helping make sure local, organic and fair-trade food was available to the athletes. The Camp was assessed in sustainability areas such as waste management, energy efficiency, water consumption, transport, sustainability education, and health promotion. The focal point for EDF’s activities at the Camp was the Low Carbon Arcade, where visitors could use touch screen games and pedal and hand-powered stationary bikes to learn more about sustainability. I

||| With less than 200 days to go until the start of the Paralympic Games, London 2012 sponsor Deloitte, has announced funding for a further 86 disability athletes through the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS). TASS is a national programme managed by SportsAid, which helps top British sportsmen and women who are in higher or further education. Since becoming the scheme’s disability sports partner in 2007, Deloitte has made over 500 TASS awards to more than 300 disabled athletes throughout the UK. Many have been hugely successful in their chosen sports, with Paralympic gold medal winners Eleanor Simmonds and Matt Skelhon among the scheme’s alumni. Catherine Bayley, disability sport manager at Deloitte, said: “Everyone in the UK is excited and preparing for this year’s Games, and that excitement will remain until the closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games on 9 September. It is vital to invest in young talent and sustain that investment to ensure an impact is made”. Tim Lawler, chief executive at SportsAid, said: “The longevity of Deloitte’s commitment to disability sport in Britain has been a real game changer. Not only for the athletes concerned but increasingly for the sector as a whole”. I

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Belem sets sail

In 2012, France’s flagship, the Belem, the oldest three-masted ship navigating in Europe, will sail to London following an invitation from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to share in the celebration of her Diamond Jubilee from 30 May to 3 June. The Belem will also be in the British capital throughout the Summer Olympic Games from 27 July to 13 August ||| Built in Nantes in 1896, the Belem was originally a merchant ship that crossed the ocean to bring back spices, chocolate and rum from Brazil and the West Indies. She was bought in 1914 by the Duke of Westminster and started a new life as a luxury sailing yacht. In 1921, she became the property of the Irish brewer Ernest Guinness and cruised the seas under the name of Fantôme II. After the Second World War, she cast off for Venice where her new owner, the Cini Foundation, turned her into a training ship. By chance, Doctor Luc-Olivier Gosse, an aficionado of old sailing ships, happened upon her in Venice and learned that she was for sale. The Caisse d’Epargne bought this last French tall ship in 1979 in order to bring her back to her home country. It assigned her conservation and operation to the Belem Foundation, a registered charity. In 1984 the ship was classified as a historic monument and became the historic emblem of French sailing ships and France’s prize. Thanks to the support of the Caisse d’Epargne, a faithful sponsor for over 30 years, the Belem continues to sail and thus to pass on the traditions of the French merchant navy. As part of the Jubilee festivities, she will participate in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, a nautical parade on the Thames, gathering together the largest

flotilla to ever navigate this river. With the support of many partners, and especially the French Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain, numerous cultural events will be organised on board during the Jubilee making it possible for dignitaries and guests to visit this jewel of French maritime heritage. During the Olympic Games, the ship will play its part celebrating the world’s foremost sporting event by hosting many dignitaries from the Olympic movement.Our aim is to include the French living in England and hence many exclusive events will be offered during this period. While the Belem is in London for the Jubilee and the Summer Games, we will make it possible for you to participate in these two international events and to book the ship for private events onboard. A fabulous venue to host your partners or clients, the Belem will be docked close to the Tower Bridge, at Bermondsey during the Jubilee and at the Tower Stairs Pier opposite the famous HMS Belfast during the Olympics. For information concerning the detailed program of the Belem during her stay in London and the possibilities of organising private events onboard, please contact Emmanuel Delahaye ( or Régis Charpentier ( I

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Olympic Section

Getting ready for the Games: The State of Play Deloitte recently published The State of Play, a report assessing London’s preparations for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Annabel Pritchard, London 2012 Sponsorship Director at Deloitte, tells INFO more Could you explain Deloitte’s involvement with the Olympics. How well do you assess the relationship with LOCOG and other Olympic Games organising bodies has moved forward?

Deloitte has backed London 2012 from the very beginning. Neil Wood, a partner at the firm, was seconded as CFO to the bid team back in 2003. After London won the right to host the Games, we knew immediately that we wanted to continue this support and became the official professional services provider to LOCOG in 2007. This support has been delivered through the time and expertise of our people. Since becoming sponsors, we have delivered over 170 advisory projects and have to date provided over 550,000 hours of support across the Games Family. How far is London prepared for the Games in terms of logistics, infrastructure and so on. Do bottlenecks remain, and if so, where are they?

The development of the infrastructure, particularly the Olympic Park, has been extremely successful and should be a source of pride for British business. At an

operational level, the level of planning and testing that is taking place at LOCOG and other Olympic bodies is also exceptional. You would be foolish to predict that the Games will pass off without any disruption whatsoever, but London is as prepared as could possibly be the case with four months still remaining before the Opening Ceremony. More widely, businesses in London are becoming increasingly aware of the role they will play in ensuring the Games are a success. Deloitte has conducted three waves of research into the preparedness of businesses in London and across the UK. In our first survey in Autumn 2010, two thirds of companies expected no impact on their business as a result of the Games. Today, just 2 percent feel this way, which demonstrates a major turnaround in awareness. Concerns remain, of course, particularly around staff unavailability, transport disruption and security, but our research suggests that businesses are reviewing policies including flexible and home working, security arrangements and employee travel plans. Businesses in previous host cities have typically underestimated the impact of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It appears that businesses in London and around the UK are determined not to make the same mistakes. A well-prepared “UK plc” is a vital part of the success of this summer, and whilst there remains work to do, it is encouraging to see so many companies taking the Games seriously. What benefits in terms of image and reputation building do you expect to achieve from your support for the Games? What are the values that you identify with the Games, that assist the commercial sponsors?

Annabel Pritchard, London 2012 Sponsorship Director

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Our sponsorship has helped us to further develop relationships with clients by giving us an opportunity

© ODA / picture taken by Anthony Charlton

Olympic Section

Olympic Park. Aerial view of the Olympic Stadium

to demonstrate our expertise through a large scale event of such universal appeal. We are not just sponsoring the event, but supporting the delivery of the Games making this the ultimate “super credential” for our firm. This gives us something different, and in highly competitive and challenging markets, that is valuable to us. We have also seen a significant impact on recruitment and retention. Our sponsorship has given over 550 of our people the opportunity to work on the Games and we currently have around 70 people seconded into a variety of roles with the organising committee. This has been a big attraction for existing staff, but is also appealing for people looking to join the firm. I’ve heard so many examples of our sponsorship being cited as a reason to join the firm in job interviews. Are you confident that the Legacy of the Games is being well cared for?

London 2012 has accelerated the regeneration of East London by a generation or more. There is a danger of overlooking this fact as the focus shifts to legacy, yet this regeneration will benefit the capital for decades to come and is one of the most significant legacy benefits of the Games. Closer to home, Deloitte is very proud of the contribution we are making towards delivering a Games legacy. In particular, we have been working with the British Paralympic Association since 2007 and

have developed a number of initiatives that will result in a lasting legacy for disability sport in the UK. Deloitte Disability Sport has three elements designed to support disability athletes from grassroots to gold medals. Deloitte Parasport is a website with information on over 2,000 disability sport clubs and it acts as a signpost for people looking to get active. The site receives over 30,000 visitors a month and around half of these use the ‘Find a Club’ function which provides information on suitable sports for the individual’s disability and local clubs where that sport can be played. We have also provided financial support to over 300 elite disability athletes through the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme. This successful partnership has already seen 33 Deloitte TASS athletes compete at Paralympic level in Beijing, whilst we anticipate around 100 members of the ParalympicsGB team in London will have received funding from Deloitte. Just last month we announced funding for further 86 disability athletes and with these latest awards we are paving the way for future success with the majority of our current athletes aiming to compete in Sochi in 2014 or Rio in 2016. Finally, in 2010 we announced a new corporate challenge – Deloitte Ride Across Britain, a cycle ride from John O’Groats to Land’s End which aims to raise £1m for the British Paralympic Association by 2013. We are already well on the way to meeting this target with fundraising having topped £750,000 already. I

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Get closer to France. news French courses in London.

Bilateralservice” News “First-class Frances Daley (European Commission) “I enjoy the topicality of the teaching” Tony Ahearne (Anthony Bryant) “The tutors give you the motivation and confidence to improve” Oliver March (KBL Lacoste)

Corporate Training Department:

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The Official French Government Centre of Language and Culture.

news Compiled by Hannah Medioni

Start-up businesses power UK growth, but must protect against business failure, warns AXA ||| AXA is in total agreement with the Government that small business start-ups are crucial to the future growth of the UK. However, it is concerned that without the proper protection in place new businesses may have the opposite effect. AXA is issuing a warning that it is important for businesses to protect their accumulated assets before they look for growth opportunities. Over the last few years Britain has seen a wave of entrepreneurs fulfill their aspirations of running their own business, with nearly 450,000 small businesses registering during 2011 vs. 380,000 in 2010. However, new research from AXA has found that many are starting up with little awareness of the risks they face, nor the knowledge of how to protect themselves. One in four said they did not know what sort of insurance they needed when they launched,

with the main reasons cited as being new to running a business and not knowing where to go to for advice. The research also found that despite the risks they face, few small businesses plan for every eventuality: 19 percent of UK SMEs surveyed could not identify the risks facing their business. Almost half do not have a business continuity plan in place, and 91 percent have not reviewed their policies to see if they are covered for public disturbances such as riots. AXA Business Insurance is seen as being particularly useful for start-up businesses and small family firms as a cost-effective means of protecting themselves against the downturn. The company launches a new direct business insurance service for small businesses ensuring they can get not only the bespoke protection they need, but also the support. I

HSBC launches £4 bn fund to support UK SMEs trading with new markets ||| UK businesses will see international trade growth accelerate from 2014 as the global economy ends a period of growth contraction, according to new research from HSBC. SMEs make a substantial contribution to the total value of exports and HSBC is in a unique position to support businesses who are, or who are about to, trade internationally. With international trade being the key to future UK growth, HSBC is launching a new multi-billion fund

specifically for SMEs that trade with other businesses across the globe. The ‘HSBC International SME Fund’ will provide at least £4bn of lending to SMEs with a turnover of up to £25mn and will be available in the coming weeks. HSBC’s net lending to UK SMEs grew by 4% year on year, despite the UK market shrinking over the same period by 6 percent. The bank has also committed to lend more to UK businesses in 2012 than it did in 2011. I

Tax break to encourage “mumpreneurs” to start their own businesses ||| Under plans for this year’s Budget, parents who set up their own business would be eligible for a tax break of up to £900. The proposal involves extending childcare vouchers, now available to 700,000 working parents. With the aim of encouraging the creation of startups, childcare vouchers will now be provided to selfemployed mothers and fathers as well. The supporters of the scheme believe that the cost of the changes – around £52m – is relatively small and would rapidly reap benefits by making use of a vast untapped reservoir of skills and talent to boost the economy.

At the same time, George Osborne is expected to confirm in the Budget the withdrawal of the child benefit for all higher-rate taxpayers from 2013 to save £1bn a year. The move to extend childcare vouchers to self-employed parents can therefore be interpreted as the Government’s attempt to win back female voters disillusioned by the cuts and other austerity measures affecting them. There are nearly 1.4mn self-employed people in the UK with a child under the age of 15. Women account for 46 percent of Britain’s economically active population, but make up only 26 percent of the self-employed workforce. I

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Veolia Wins HR Distinction Award ||| Veolia Environmental Services UK has won the HR Distinction Award for Change Management through an initiative when integrating two organisations following a successful three year plan. The award was presented at the annual HR Distinction Awards Gala Dinner on 26 January in Birmingham to celebrate excellence in HR projects. When Veolia acquired

Cleanaway in 2006 the company doubled in size in both head count and turnover. To ensure the best possible transition between the two organisations the HR team designed a three year roadmap for a streamlined merger including restructuring and realigning business divisions or bringing together the cultural differences of the two organisations. I

Balfour Beatty, Morgan Sindall and VINCI Construction, awarded the Whitechapel Main Station Works Crossrail contract worth £110 million ||| The project has started in January and will be completed in 2018. It is split in three parts including construction of the new Whitechapel Station in the existing Hammersmith & City and District Line cutting, a new station and bridge concourse in and over the East London Line cutting and a new ticket hall behind the retained building fronting on Whitechapel Road. The works will also include the shafts and platforms for the Crossrail tunnels plus related architecture and mechanical and electrical (M&E) infrastructure. Neil Barnes, BBMV Board director, said: “The joint venture is delighted to be awarded the Whitechapel Main Station Works Crossrail contract, following our award of the Whitechapel and Liverpool Street Station Tunnels in January. BBMV combines the expertise of three leading civil engineering companies and offers our customers unparalleled expertise and experience”. I

Whitechapel Station, 20 years after it opened in 1876

Sopra Group reinforces positioning in the UK with two acquisitions ||| On 13 February, the Sopra Group announced two proposed acquisitions which will significantly boost its presence in the United Kingdom. These transactions are expected to close during the first quarter 2012, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. Under the proposed deals, Tieto Corporation’s UK financial services product business and the UK subsidiary of Business & Decision would join Sopra Group. Both companies would be integrated as soon as possible within Sopra Group’s UK subsidiary, which generated revenue of approximately €58m for financial year 2011. On completion of the transactions, the new entity will offer its UK clients a wide array of know-how,

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services and solutions, ranging from innovative service delivery in targeted vertical segments to the distribution of solutions for the financial services sector. These transactions will also enhance the Group’s capacity to provide services on an international scale. These transactions are perfectly in line with the Group’s announced strategy of reinforcing positioning in Europe and better aligning its European subsidiaries’ business models with the operational business model in place in France (consulting, IT services, software development) in order to capitalise on synergies and Group know-how. Moreover, for employees of all three companies, it will create exciting career opportunities during a transformative period in the information technology sector. I


||| The two companies announced on 29 February, the creation of a longterm and broad-scale global strategic alliance that will leverage their combined strengths and capabilities and contribute to the profitability of both partners as well as strongly improve their competitiveness in Europe. The alliance is structured around two main pillars: the sharing of vehicle platforms, components and modules; and the creation of a global purchasing joint venture for the sourcing of commodities, components and other goods and services from suppliers, with combined annual purchasing volumes of approximately $125bn. Each company will continue to market and sell its vehicles independently and on a competitive basis. In connection with the alliance, PSA Peugeot Citroën is expected to raise approximately €1bn through a capital increase with preferential subscription rights for shareholders of PSA Peugeot Citroën, underwritten by a syndicate of banks and including an investment from the Peugeot Family Group, as a sign of their confidence in the success of the alliance.

© wikipedia/KiwiDeaPi

PSA Peugeot Citroën and General Motors Create Global Alliance

GM Headquarters, Detroit

As part of the agreement, which includes no specific provision regarding the governance of PSA Peugeot Citroën, GM plans to acquire a 7 percent equity stake in PSA Peugeot Citroën, making it the second largest shareholder behind the Peugeot Family Group. I

FRANCE 24 available in the UK on Freeview ||| FRANCE 24 signed a new distribution agreement in the UK and launched on freeview, channel 110, on 10 February. The French-language version of the channel will be accessible for free on the new VISION IPTV offer available through all new compliant freeview HD set-top boxes. Some 5.2 million boxes have already been sold across the UK.

Thanks to this new agreement, FRANCE 24 will reach 5.2 million additional households in the country with an estimated 12 million viewers by the end of the year. Available in 235 million households throughout the world, FRANCE 24 is also available in the UK on the SKY platform (English version, channel 513) and on freesat (English version, channel 205). I

Veni Partners LLP announces launch of Not-For-Profit practice ||| As part of their continued expansion, Veni Partners announced the launch of Veni NFP, a new practice dedicated to supporting international and domestic notfor-profit organisations to recruit their Trustees, Chairs and senior management talent. In the current challenging environment, this sector carries even greater responsibility as public sector services are increasingly delegated to these centres of excellence and knowledge. The increasing benefit of combining private

and third sector talent within organisations in domains such as education, health and culture is the catalyst for the launch of Veni NFP, a practice which leverages access to senior international financial and business talent with an interest in pursuing careers in the third sector. Veni NFP will distribute a significant percentage of the practice’s profits to support not-for-profit organisations, in line with the partnership’s own Corporate Social Responsibility policy. I

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Eurotunnel installs telephone system in the Channel Tunnel for the Olympic Games in 2012 ||| In line with its ambition to innovate and to improve customer service, Eurotunnel, in partnership with the French mobile operators, will install a 2G and 3G GSM-P telephone system which will allow Le Shuttle and high speed passenger train customers to use their mobile telephones inside the Channel Tunnel, in time for the Olympic Games. Offering a wi-fi service 100 metres below sea level, to the almost 20 million customers who travel through the 53km of the Channel Tunnel every year is a world first. The installation, which will cost €14mn, has been made possible by the signature of an agreement, on 6 March 2012, at the French Ministry for the Economy, Finance and Industry by Eurotunnel and the telecoms operators in France, Bouygues Telecom, Orange SFR and Free. I

Eurostar: WIFI onboard ||| Eurostar has awarded NOMAD Digital Ltd (‘NOMAD’) the contracts to supply onboard wifi connectivity and state-of-the-art infotainment for its existing fleet of high speed trains. Over the next three years, Eurostar is making a £700 million investment in its fleet. This includes the complete overhaul and refurbishment of the existing


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fleet as well as the purchase of 10 new e320 trainsets from Siemens. This programme of investment will ensure that Eurostar will be able to expand its operations and provide its passengers with the best possible travel experience and service in a competitive environment across its entire fleet. When the Eurostar refurbished trains and the new e320 trains come into operation in 2013 and 2014 respectively, customers will have access to high speed broadband internet on board. Passengers will also be able to download and/or view pre-loaded entertainment/infotainment to their own devices via a Secure Wireless LAN. The quality of the NOMAD technology is such that passengers will enjoy a high speed connection to the internet on board at all times throughout their journey, a seamless switchover at international borders and connectivity wherever the customer is seated. In addition to providing connectivity solutions and infotainment the contracts will also cover the provision of spares and maintenance (for five years) as well as monitoring and multilingual service support to customers. I


Ligne Roset’s iconic design now available online ||| This winter, Ligne Roset becomes the first high end interiors brand to launch a dedicated online shopping experience. Iconic designs such as the Pumpkin by Pierre Paulin, the Togo by Michel Ducaroy, as well as the latest icons including the Ruché upholstery range by Inga Sempé and the Ploum Sofa by Bouroullec Brothers, are now available online. The online shop offers a convenient way to shop its contemporary collections for the living, dining and working areas of the home. ‘Express Delivery’ section offers unrivalled service to customers. There will also be the chance to pick up limited edition item. Informative and user friendly, the online shop is easy to navigate and offer a new shopping experience for those who prefer to shop online. I

High end furniture by Ligne Roset is now available online

Fabergé unveils Diamond Jubilee egg ||| Fabergé is delighted to unveil the Diamond Jubilee Egg, specially created as a commemorative prize for the Fabergé Big Egg Hunt and in celebration of Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Crafted with precisely 500 grams of rose gold, the design of this one-of-a-kind prize is based on Fabergé’s much loved Matelassé jewellery collection. It features 60 gemstones - one for each year of Her Majesty The Queen’s reign - set in the pleats

of its quilted rose gold surface and comprising diamonds, emeralds, rubies and sapphires. The Diamond Jubilee Egg, valued at £100,000, is the supreme prize in the world’s most prestigious Easter egg hunt – The Fabergé Big Egg Hunt. The Diamond Jubilee Egg will be on display at Fabergé’s London boutique at 14A Grafton Street, W1S 4ET from 21 February until 1 April, and then at Harrods in Knightsbridge from 2–8 April. I

The Fabergé Big Egg Hunt ||| The Fabergé Big Egg Hunt seeks to raise one million pounds for each of two deeply deserving charities: Action for Children (www. and The Elephant Family ( For 40 days and 40 nights, started on Tuesday 21 February 2012, the streets of central London are hosting the largest and most interactive egg hunt the city has ever seen. More than 200 eggs, each around 2½ foot in height and designed and decorated by designers and artists, are ‘hidden’ around central London. Each egg holds a unique code which, when texted to the number provided via SMS, provides

one entry to win the Diamond Jubilee Egg. Each additional code submitted provides a further entry, increasing the chances of winning the Diamond Jubilee Egg. Charges apply to each text message, with the proceeds going to the two charities. The hunt celebrates and explores the exhilarating creative talent of a myriad of artistic disciplines ranging from architects to product designers, fashion houses to jewellery designers and artists to artisans. These eggs will be sold by auction to raise funds for the charities. See for more information. I

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© Quentin Bertoux

New Hermès exhibition in London: Leather Forever!

The Audace Saddle created in 2001: A decorative saddle, resembling a fighting

||| Sometimes I picture my ancestor Thierry Hermès back in 1837, his eyes lighting up as he breathes in and feels the leathers of the saddle and harness workshop he has just set up in Paris…the same olfactory joy thrills me today’. So explains Pierre-Alexis Dumas, Artistic Director and 6th generation family member of Hermès, explaining his love of leather;the first material tamed by the house and the subject of a major new Hermès exhibition opening in London on the 8th May. Hermès was founded 175 years ago by Thierry Hermès in Paris, as a house of master harness-making and later saddle-making. It wasn’t long however, before the ateliers began to expand production to include leather accessories and with the arrival of the automobile at the turn of the 20th century came the opportunity to travel. So Hermès began its voyage into hand crafted luggage and travel accessories. Leather Forever will take visitors on a journey that explores Hermès’ love of this fine material with

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craftspeople from the workshops in Paris on site demonstrating the art of leather working; creating its iconic bags for all to see. The first client of Hermès was the horse so naturally the exhibition will explore this founding friendship in a room dedicated to equestrianism. Also on display will be many leather items from Hermès’ extensive archives, such as those commissioned by the Duke of Windsor for his Duchess, as well as extraordinary leather pieces that have been commissioned by clients with truly unbridled imaginations. To celebrate this exhibition, Hermès has created four very unique handbags as a tribute to England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales that will be auctioned with all proceeds being donated to the Royal Academy of Arts. I For further information please visit Leather Forever: 8th May – 27th May 6 Burling Gardens, London W1S 3ET 10am – 6pm Daily / 10am – 10pm Friday Admission Free


Martin Creed unveils restaurant at sketch “For the whole world to be in” ||| Turner prize winning artist Martin Creed has transformed the Gallery restaurant at London’s iconic sketch, in the first of a new, long-term programme of artist-conceived restaurants at 9 Conduit Street. Seeking to blend the boundaries between the venue’s awardwinning combination of art, food, design and functionality, Martin Creed at sketch has been launched on 1st March 2012. sketch’s co-founder and three Michelin-starred chef, Pierre Gagnaire has designed the menu in collaboration with the artist and his unique vision, experimenting and creating Turner Prize winning artist Martin Creed’s transformation of the Gallery restaurant at sketch dishes directly influenced by Creed’s art. Gagnaire’s concept for the new menu includes food that is both “honest and elegant”, whilst sketch founder and restaurateur, Mourad Mazouz, promises “a curious twist on classic dishes”. Reflecting Creed’s playful approach to art and particularly his logical methodology for the Gallery’s artworks, while echoing his artistic statement that “The whole world should be in it”, Gagnaire sources ingredients from around the world to create interesting juxtapositions of the unusual and rare, along with the everyday in each dish. Gagnaire and Mazouz are collaborating with Creed to build on their success, maintaining the spirit of sketch and reiterating its place as a key London establishment in the way it creates and presents its dishes. Bringing in one of the decade’s most prominent artists will further consolidate sketch’s place in both the restaurant and art worlds, with its unique and seamless presentation of art, design and cooking coming together as one. I

hello, goodbye...


he French Chamber of Commerce would like to welcome the new representative of EDF Energy.

Eve Mathieu took up the position of Resourcing, Talent and Development Director at EDF Energy in October 2011 ||| She succeeded Ann Henshaw. Ms Mathieu graduated with a Masters degree in Law from University of Paris I. Having worked in various legal roles at the start of her career, she moved into the field of Human Resources in 2003. Since then, her jobs included Director of Espace Mobilité Cadres for EDF and Gaz de France, and Manager of Recruitment & Career Paths Unit at EDF Employment Direction. In 2007, she took a new role within Eve Mathieu EDF and became Director of Employee Brand at Group level. Since her move from Paris to London late last year, Eve Mathieu has already built strong relationships with many external clients and restructured her team. I

info - april / may 2012 - 33

news UK Regional Review

|||| French Alstom and the leading Scottish marine developer SSE Renewables have teamed up to develop the world’s largest wave farm of up to 200 megawatts located five kilometres off the coast of Orkney. The Costa Head Wave Project will use up to 80 AWS III devices produced by AWS Ocean Energy of Inverness, in which Alstom has a 40 percent stake. AWS are hoping to begin the testing of a full-size prototype in 2014. The process is likely to provide an economic boost for other businesses located in the Highlands. The farm is expected to start generating electricity in 2020. In the same sector, EDF Energy has just acquired

© flickr/Colinscamera

Energy is in the wind

Standing Stones at Stenness, Orkney

the 144-megawatt Fallago Rig wind farm project. The 48-turbine project is situated in the Lammermuir Hills near Lauder and forms part of the company’s growth plans in Scotland. I

Fracking gas potential in Fermanagh ||| Tamboran Resources – a Canadianbased shale gas exploration company – have discovered gas fields in County Fermanagh. There could be enough natural gas trapped within shale rock to supply all the gas Northern Ireland needs for over fifty years. Whilst all natural gas in Northern Ireland is currently imported, this new discovery might even allow the country to become an exporter.

The process of extracting shale gas, known as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”, remains a controversial procedure from the environmental perspective. Some experts from the industry have claimed that it can cause minor earthquakes and water pollution, and threaten tourism and agriculture. Yet, if Tamboran Resources carry on with shale gas extraction, some 1200 jobs could be created and the project could attract international investors. I

||| Following the Franco-British summit in Paris last month, the two countries have pledged to combine their expertise on nuclear power, as a raft of companies announced commercial deals worth over £500m. North Wales is one region expected to particularly benefit from the deal. The agreement will allow North Wales to capitalise on a number of skilled workers in the area, and develop an industry around them. Commenting on the deal, UK Prime Minister David Cameron said: ‘As two great civil nuclear nations, we will combine our expertise to strengthen industrial partnership, improve nuclear safety and create jobs at home.’ French energy giant Areva has already signed a £400m contract with Rolls-Royce to supply services to the first nuclear EPR – European Pressurised Reactor – at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

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© flickr/Jenny Mackness

Franco-British pact for North Wales

Snowdonia, North Wales

The firm has also pledged to build nuclear reactors in Suffolk, Cumbria, Gloucestershire. The total investment could ultimately be worth around £60bn and create up to 30,000 jobs across the UK. The Franco-British plan for North Wales could kick-start the Welsh economy, where the outlook seems rather positive as unemployment has fallen for the second consecutive month. I


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info - april / may 2012 - 35

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s u cc e s s s to ry Interestingly, the current downturn has barely dented sales, while museums have ingeniously adapted to financial strictures

The fine art of magazine publishing The Art Newspaper goes from strength to strength when so many other print media are struggling. Clearly Executive Director Anna Somers Cocks is doing something right


ention print journalism and all manner of unappealing images spring to mind: falling sales, dwindling advertising, competition from the web and 24-hour television, even publications closing down. So how has The Art Newspaper (TAN) so convincingly bucked the trend? With 50 correspondents working in 30 countries, editorial offices in London, Turin, New York, Paris and Athens, circulation of 23,000 and readership of 50,000, TAN seems the picture of health. Revenue rose to £4m in 2011 and a new offshoot is set to sprout in Moscow in April, joining sister publications, Il Giornale dell’Arte in Italy, Le Journal des Arts in France, and Ta Nea Tis Technis in Greece.

only newspaper, based on Giornale’s approach, but with articles aimed at the international Englishspeaking world. TAN runs rigorous analyses of art’s policy, taxation, copyright, the markets and fraud in the art world, biennales, war damage and heritage preservation, artist profiles, exhibition listings and attendance figures. Anna recently interviewed the cross-dressing master potter Grayson Perry. Nearly half of TAN readers live in the US and 31 percent in the UK. And more than a third of readers are owner/partners with household incomes exceeding $150,000, testifying to a wealthy target demographic.

From V&A to breaking news Much of the credit goes to Anna Somers Cocks, a curator for 13 years at the Victoria and Albert Museum, who became the newspaper’s founding editor in 1990. She was asked to do this by Umberto Allemandi, the Turinese publisher of magnificent bespoke art books and gallery brochures and creator of the first newspaper about the art world, the Giornale dell’Arte in 1983. Today she is Executive Director of Umberto Allemandi Publishing Ltd, partners in a truly global enterprise. Allemandi, whom she married in 1991, invested in TAN and Anna went on to develop the subscription-

TAN has been hailed as ‘the only journal I always read and always need’ by New York art critic Robert Hughes. ‘Quite simply essential for anyone interested in the visual arts’, added British arts patron Lord Sainsbury. Rather than shying away from change, Anna makes it work to her advantage. When she first launched TAN the internet was unknown. Now a simultaneous online service complements print readership, and major developments in blending paper and digital versions are planned for later this year. For the moment, though, the longer investigative articles tend to be in the paper edition.

Online and off…

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s u cc e s s s to ry

explains. ‘But we said, no, art is a segment of news. It merits proper journalism modelled on authoritative news organs such as the FT or International Herald Tribune.” Regarding the current fixation on art prices she says, ‘It is hard nowadays to see a painting and not consider its value; you cannot be like King Canute and order the waves to roll back!’ But monetary considerations are not inherently bad, she adds, as private purchasers encourage creativity while institutional buyers tend to breed formulaic works.

Thinking global

Anna Somers Cocks

Waves of advertising While TAN sells for £8.50 a copy, another revenue stream derives from licence agreements with sister publications. The new Russian paper will be published by the engineer and financier, Inna Bazhenova, and edited by Milena Orlova. Advertising is vital to TAN’s success. It helps that auctions remain buoyant and sites like have democratised the market. The current downturn has barely dented sales in some sectors of the market, particularly contemporary and the modern art by famous names. ‘Art is now considered a lucrative investment’, she says ‘and we are riding on the wave of this interest. The sector has changed dramatically, particularly since the huge growth in new money in the last two decades. The millennium also inspired entrepreneurship and openness towards contemporary art. More recently TAN staff have produced daily newssheets for increasingly popular art fairs in the States, the UAE and Europe – think of Frieze in London, and Art Basel in Switzerland and its outpost in Miami Beach. ‘Fairs began as places where dealers exhibited; now they have become cultural happenings’, explains Anna, ‘while our staff have had to adopt a different rhythm and be more aggressive in news gathering’. Riding the trends What was once considered peripheral now takes centrestage. TAN helped create the field of art journalism and has been much imitated, she says. ‘Before, there was just art market reporting and art criticism’, Anna

Anna’s view of art defies boundaries. She was born in Rome, raised in Germany, and educated at Oxford (studying history) and the Courtauld Institute (art history). Fluent in Italian, German and French, Anna chairs the Venice in Peril Fund, for which in 2004 she was made a Commendatore of the Ordine della Stella della Solidarietà Italiana. She has travelled extensively in the Middle East and the States and in 2006 she was named European Woman of the Year in the Arts and Media section and recently awarded the OBE. Today Anna is fascinated by how non-Western cultures are taking the Western contemporary art form and creating something new and relevant to themselves. Art, she explains, is a universal medium through which one understands other people and other cultures. One recent TAN edition featured Abdel Nasser Gharem, a colonel in the Saudi royal army whose art installation broke records at Christie’s with an $832,000 price last year! At the same time, Anna celebrates Britain’s uniqueness. ‘There is no gulf between high or low culture here; contemporary art is a success because it is classless’, she explains – unlike Italy, where it is considered an elite activity, or France where institutions remain dominant.

Modelling the future As Executive Director, Anna has to think two or three years into the future, anticipating trends with carefully thought-out business plans. If recruiting the right staff means hiring an HR expert, so be it! Anna also welcomes the fact that many journalists now have business and legal degrees, although she herself learned about the workplace on the job. Her final advice to prospective launchers of publications? ‘For heaven’s sake, have your business side in place from the start! It is not secondary; it is the other two wheels of the car.’ Or a worthy frame to a picture of success…? I LRJ

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focus The paradox of HR management M

anaging a company’s human resources is never straightforward. During difficult times it is particularly challenging. It is also critical to the success of the firm. This Focus presents some of the dilemmas for the human resources manager. First and foremost, how does the manager motivate employees when they see colleagues around them losing their jobs and they fear that they will be next in line? Retaining the can-do mentality is critical to successful companies and organisations, but during times of retrenchment the prevailing spirit for employees is one of survival. This ethos is reflected in recruitment strategies as well. Companies may be tempted to hire people with a track record for competence coupled with caution and risk aversion, rather than boldness and an outwardlooking mentality. This may also be a false economy. Companies must never give up the search for new and young talent. Such people will inspire companies to greater things, by offering optimism and confidence. That search is never done. Indeed, as Rose Gledhill, Northern Europe HR Director at International SOS notes in her interview in this Focus, however many people there are on the job market, there is still a shortage of real talent. That talent needs to be sought and nurtured first. It is a priority for the human resource team. It is also the subject of regular and indepth discussions at meetings of the Chamber’s HR Forum, chaired by Rose Gledhill. Yet when firms do bolt down the hatches, they inevitably look to their costs. One of the most grievous is the commission they pay to recruitment

38 - info - april / may 2012

agencies. So there is now a trend to seek to develop and promote staff internally rather than go externally. This in fact can be a win-win solution, as it enables firms to save on the agency’s commission, while at the same time giving colleagues a challenge, who might otherwise feel stuck in jobs that have lost their allure. HR needs staff to move on even when they are competent. But when job markets are tight, this process is constricted. Developments in technology are driving recruitment as never before and in extraordinary ways. We see wouldbe recruits leading the way, by using social networks such as LinkedIn to put their job details on line. We also see recruiting companies following the lead of the recruits, in a remarkable about-turn, by trawling up those details and examining them for vacancies. The final piece to the HR jigsaw is one that may be characterised by the terms ‘diversity’ or ‘fairness’. Governments, under pressure from groups that have been historically disadvantaged – women, the disabled, ethnic and religious minorities – have sought to produce a more open market, citing the loss to the economy of excluding talent. This presents a compliancy challenge to companies who face new legislation and pressures in their recruitment and legal areas. However, minority groups have also seen how this can backfire. So the UK government has argued that employers are disadvantaged by aspects of current redundancy legislation. Human resource management presents many paradoxes in companies aiming to do the right thing while seeking their own corporate ends of making a profit. That prerogative has never been more pressing. I


HR key dates 1868



First meeting of the Trades Union Council in Manchester – as of 2008 the TUC claimed 6.5 million members

Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT) was formed. This French union is the oldest confederation still in existence

Welfare Workers Association set up in Britain. It becomes the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in 2000, involving 135,000 HR professional members across 120 countries




First Training and Enterprise Councils (TECs) established in England and Wales to make training policy sensitive to local needs and have a real impact on business growth

Jim Prior, Secretary of State for Employment under Margaret Thatcher, introduces Employment Act to counter secondary picketing by unions, and also to restrict unfair dismissal and maternity rights

UK Equal Pay Act prohibited any less favourable treatment between men and women in terms of pay and conditions of employment




Disability Discrimination Act passed by Conservative administration; updated in 1999 with the establishment of a commission and action plan to remedy discrimination

National Minimum Wage Act passed by new Labour administration

Labour administration issued its White Paper with the aims of ensuring that employers have the skills to support the success of their business and providing employees with necessary skills




The government-commissioned Davis Report recommended quotas unless firms voluntarily doubled the number of women on boards by 2015

Equality Act – successor to previous anti-discrimination acts, such as the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and the Sex Discrimination Act 1975

The Equality and Human Rights Commission formed in October by merging three previous bodies: the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) and the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC).

Focus Contents Part one: UK Global Overview 40 France and the UK: the pain of unemployment is mutual

50 Pain-free redundancy in England and Wales?

42 Bridging the gap between knowledge and work

52 Using technology to crack the job market

43 Practice makes perfect…workers

52 Lacking talent? You need HIPOs to expand

44 Employment laws in England: an easier ride?

53 Employment law changes: Fair or unfair?

45 CSR for economic growth

54 Cherishing difference helps boosting growth: the example of AXA

Part two: HR issues linked to the current context 46 Winning the war for talent

51 Managing in hard times

55 A war for talent – staff retention

47 HR hot topics

Part three: diversity 56 An unrecognised resource: women in the boardroom

48 High-tech companies go for flexibility

57 Helping employers comply with disability legislation

49 Creating future professionals

58 Getting the numbers right: workers with disabilities

50 Training a diverse workforce for IT industry

59 Key steps towards diversity in the workplace info - april / may 2012 - 39

focus Part one: UK Global Overview

France and the UK: the pain of unemployment is mutual The number of unemployed is growing on both sides of the Channel. The consequences of longterm joblessness are serious not only for the two countries finances, but also for the wellbeing of the two societies


rance and the UK have job markets with some broadly common stories, none of which makes happy reading. The first is a rising rate of unemployment in the overall market. The second is a predominance of young people among the newly unemployed. The third is a rising rate of jobs being lost from the public sector.

© flcikr/OECD

Numbers continue to rise In France the jobless total is at a 12-year high. The unemployment rate, including overseas territories, edged up to 9.8 percent in the final quarter of 2011, from 9.7 percent in the previous three months. Government figures have shown further rises in the number of

people out of work in the first two months of 2012. This is a source of pain both for the unemployed and for the government which has to put greater parts of its budget into social security. According to the latest OECD figures (for 2007), France allocated 1.4% of its GDP to unemployment spending, as opposed to 0.2% in the UK. Unemployment in the UK stays on an upward curve, in line with France. But there are some important differences. Although the number of unemployed (according to the Office of National Statistics) rose to a record (for 16 years) of 2.67 million in the three months to December – 8.4 percent of the workforce – this was the smallest rise in almost a year. Forecasters point to some ‘green shoots’ in the UK job figures, to suggest that they are a leading indicator for the end of recession. The number of job vacancies rose to 476,000 in the three months to January 2012. Adecco, a large recruiting firm, also saw a rise in vacancies advertised, with financial services (like banking and insurance), advertising and telecommunications leading the way.

President Nicolas Sarkozy

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Youth unemployed and public sector workers Youth unemployment is a recurrent theme for both markets. France now has close to a quarter of its youth out of work. Once a phenomenon


employment statistics for France and the UK



25.5 million*

29.1 million**

Overall Unemployment



Youth Unemployment



Labour unemployment benefit as percentage of GDP ***



Unemployment remittances as percentage of GDP ****

$2.289 per $1000

$1.404 per $1000

Total Workforce

Sources: * ** *** **** Nationmaster

of blue collar workers and ethnic minorities in France, youth unemployment has now infiltrated the middle class, with media talking about the “Generation s” or “generation stagiaire” – young people who are well-qualified but find themselves forced to take on internships into their 30s because jobs are scarce and they’d rather “keep active”. Young people are arguably the greatest victims of the British recession as well. Sometimes dubbed ‘the Lost Generation’, many of these youngsters work as bar staff, cleaners, waiters and waitresses. The number of 16 to 24-year-olds without a job reached 1.04 million, or 22.2 percent of the workforce in that age group at the beginning of 2012. Research also suggests that young people are more likely to be laid off and find it more difficult than older staff to find another job.

Solutions to the crisis? Solutions to the unemployment crisis have been presented by French presidential candidates, in the run-up to the April election. President Sarkozy has said he hopes to make employers more willing to hire staff by removing some of the social security contributions they pay and including them instead in a sales tax, dubbed by some as a “Social VAT”. He also wants to give employers the power to negotiate working time with their staff: to reduce hours and salaries in order to

maintain threatened jobs. The socialist candidate, François Hollande has also said that he will put people back to work and begin to resolve acute social problems in the large cities and elsewhere by building a remarkable 150,000 social houses over the course of his presidency. France would use a newly created investment bank to secure fresh investment in a green economy and to favour small and medium-sized enterprises. All of this would contribute to the creation of 300,000 new jobs. While the UK has many schemes to help the unemployed back to work, one plan in particular announced in the UK Budget on 21 March 2012, caught the eye. This is a plan (under the auspices of the Department of Business), to encourage young people to set up a business with a cash loan. They will require a business plan and viable business idea, but will be able to borrow between £5,000 and £10,000 from the Treasury to get the firm off the ground. The unemployed are the largely silent victims of today’s financial recessions on both sides of the Channel. The speed with which today’s jobless are absorbed into the economy will be the test for politicians and companies. Failure to score on that count could leave economies with a permanent class of embittered individuals, who not only threaten social structures, but present a financial cost to the stretched national budgets. I NK

info - april / may 2012 - 41


Bridging the gap between knowledge and work In rebuilding competitiveness in a fragile global economy, technological capability and creativity are vital. But is our education system up to the challenge, asks Patrick Gougeon, UK Director of


ood education is a key resource for a large part of the population. All developed countries have made an effort to provide basic education to all and to improve access to higher education. However, the question of what the quality of this education is, remains to be answered. The following aspects need to be considered: are the objectives assigned to education clear? Is the content of programmes adequate? Is the education system contributing to an efficient allocation of human resources across industries?

© flcikr/Vectorportal

ESCP Europe

a foreign language – something that should change.

Getting a taste of working life It is equally important to develop behavioural skills in line with corporate demand. Mr Feniou stresses that work experience placements of three to six months are key for recruiters. French business school graduates, having completed between three and five internships as part of their studies, are likely recruits in London. Nevertheless, it might be a problem if the knowledge content becomes too small or outdated, which is a risk associated with mass Is the education system up to the challenge? Theory or practice? education. One of the reasons why Highly educated people often struggle to find a job companies are facing difficulties in recruiting talented because their field of interest does not match labour engineers is that not enough emphasis is sometimes demand. Postgraduate courses might well be interesting, placed on subjects such as maths and physics. In but do they provide the right skills for the job market? this context of scarcity, students with good scientific Programme contents have changed over time. In the backgrounds constitute an “elite”. The bodies involved past, emphasis was on the acquisition of knowledge, in delivering scientific programmes have an incentive but the focus soon changed to providing students with to perpetuate, even to reinforce, this situation through skills. That move was good since knowledge alone is tough selection criteria. not enough – one should also be able to use it. One What counts for the happy few graduates who such skill is the ability to speak a foreign language. comprise the “elite” is not to take a job in line with Laurent Feniou, Managing Director at Rothschild and their specialisation, which might entail entering into ESCP Europe Alumni, says that in the banking sector industries where they are most needed, but instead ‘it is increasingly important to recruit multilingual to take a well-paid job. It is well known that financial graduates. Since I arrived in London in 1995, I have institutions have recruited more young graduates clearly noticed a massive improvement in the use of with outstanding scientific backgrounds than any English by French students for example.’ UK students other industry. Is that an efficient allocation of human on the other hand seem to have little incentive to learn resources? I

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Practice makes perfectâ&#x20AC;Śworkers Apprenticeships, whose importance has been stressed by consecutive governments, provide benefits to both employers and apprentices. Salèha Pinhorn, Founder and Director of CrĂŹmson Events Management, demonstrates why Apprenticeships help people gain relevant skills through workplace training whilst they continue their education. They can facilitate young peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s career progression by providing necessary skills to help businesses remain competitive. They offer opportunities for apprentices to interact with experienced staff whilst gaining experience that is simply not available through university courses. On top of that, they improve young peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s selfconfidence and enhance their social skills. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a â&#x20AC;&#x153;winwinâ&#x20AC;? situation: young people look for opportunities and businesses require a highly-skilled workforce. The governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s aim is to boost and support apprenticeships by â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;making [them] a gold-standard

option for ambitious young peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; and by â&#x20AC;&#x2122;equipping businesses with the skills they need to rebalance our economyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, according to Prime Minister David Cameron. With youth unemployment at an all-time high, university tuition fees rising, fierce competition for qualifications and the jobs market remaining saturated, gaining work skills is a great way for young people to stand out and impress prospective employers. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The National Apprenticeship Expo 2012â&#x20AC;? is a series of events organised by CrĂŹmson Events Management bringing together employers, colleges, training providers and students. It aims to provide a new innovative and informative platform for young people. I

â&#x20AC;&#x153; In short, the MEB made me think internationally â&#x20AC;? A. Thomas, MEB 2009 Junior Consultant M&C Saatchi Corporate


t1 year in intensive managementFEVDBUJPO t2 countriesPGZPVSDIPJDF1BSJT -POEPO #FSMJO .BESJE 5PSJOP .POUFSSFZ  /FX%FMIJBOE#BOHLPL t2 company projectsBOE3-month NJOJNVN company internshipPSEJSFDUFNQMPZNFOU t36 nationalitiesSFQSFTFOUFE $MBTTPG

tMany tracksPGGFSFEJO&OHMJTIPSMPDBMMBOHVBHFT Since 1819 ESCP Europe has educated generations of leaders. With 5 campuses in Europe (Paris, London, Berlin, Madrid and Torino) and 100 international partner universities, ESCP Europe represents more than 35,000 alumni working in key positions in over 100 countries.

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Paris: MaĂŤ dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Alexis â?&#x2DC; London: Varja Jakovleva â?&#x2DC;

info - april / may 2012 - 43


Employment laws in England: an easier ride? Increasingly employers are pushing governments in England and France to implement reforms that will allow businesses more leeway to hire and fire staff. Emmanuelle Ries, Employment Lawyer and Partner at the law firm Miller Rosenfalck LLP, explains


rench employees clearly enjoy greater employment protection rights than their counterparts in England, so the general assumption across the Channel is that English businesses have a comparatively “easy ride”. At the end of last year, the UK government responded to calls from employers to cast the spotlight of its “red tape challenge” on employment laws. This was aimed at making life even easier for businesses in the hope that it would speed up economic recovery.

Improved terms for employers Next month the qualifying period for unfair dismissal will increase from one to two years of continuous employment. The new measure will apply to all employees starting work for a new employer on 6 April 2012. In the first two years of employment, employees will no longer be able to claim that their dismissal was procedurally or substantially unfair. Extending the already flexible approach to dismissal procedures here will certainly make French employers envious, seeing as they are bound by such strict dismissal procedures and the requirement to justify their decision to dismiss an employee as soon as the relatively short probation period is over. Other government proposals are likely to be implemented in the course of next year. Employees are to pay a lodging fee and a hearing fee for bringing a claim to the Employment Tribunals. In addition a new concept will be introduced, of “frank discussions” between employers and employees that will be held outside formal performance or disciplinary procedures. Collective redundancy requirements will be reviewed and the employee consultation period will be reduced to 30 days. Flexible working will be extended to all employees as part of the consultation on modern workplaces.

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Better flexibility for employees Most of the proposals under consideration are employer-friendly with the rationale of promoting a fluid labour market and reducing unemployment. One proposal, however, is unlikely to be met with much enthusiasm from employers. It gives the right to all employees, not just those with children, to request flexible working (either part-time hours or working from home arrangements). Moreover, the employer will be required to consider the request as “reasonable”. This reform makes it easier for employees to remain in employment if they need some flexibility to achieve a better work-life balance. But employers will most likely argue that it will be a considerable burden on them. The French government has not so far decided to promote flexible working arrangements. Indeed, French employers looking at Britain often forget that under this apparently less costly “hire and fire culture”, British employers face risks and costs on other fronts. Don’t ignore workers’ rights… Whilst employment protection rights in Britain are weak in the first year (or two) of employment, we are far from the US model of employment at will; and an employee’s dismissal is often on negotiated terms, via a compromise agreement, if only to avoid a costly litigation in the Employment Tribunals. Britain has many more claims for discrimination than France. The UK has recently codified 30 years of antidiscrimination legislation and case law in the Equality Act 2010, which employers ignore at their peril! No doubt it is true that employers in England can dismiss an employee with less than one or two years’ continuous employment, without having to follow procedures and/or give any reasons. Yet in practice they


CSR for economic growth

© flickr/DonkeyHotey

As politicians search for answers to stimulate the economy, forward-thinking companies are busy using responsible business to help them grow, writes Jack Mathers, Knowledge & Information Manager at Business in the Community

Companies face the double burden of the economic downturn and climate change

The Royal Courts of Justice built in the 1870s

would be well advised to obey procedures and explain their actions clearly, so as to minimise the risk of facing claims. Employees can claim discrimination under the Equality Act from day one of employment (and also at the recruitment stage), and damages awarded are not subject to a cap. The litigation process in England is also much more costly than it is in France. Overall, the climate in the UK seems to favour employers and the labour market is undoubtedly more fluid. But, with the legislation being less prescriptive, employers are advised to take a proactive role in implementing comprehensive employment policies in their staff handbooks. And they should follow them in order to minimise their exposure to potentially very costly litigation. I

Across Europe, thousands of companies use CSR to build trust in their brands, attract and retain motivated and productive employees, manage and reduce risks, explore new markets, lower costs, and improve shareholder value. Businesses are not just the lifeblood of our economies – they are the backbone of strong and prosperous communities too. Now, more than ever, with the world facing a double burden of an economic downturn and having to adapt to climate change, companies need to target their CSR activities at those most in need. They also need to work hard to try and rebuild much of the trust in business that has been lost during the financial crisis. Yielding to the pressures to slash budgets would worsen the plight of the vulnerable and send a message that CSR is only for the “good times”. Boardrooms will want to be convinced that CSR is an investment item that delivers value for money. CSR programmes will need to be targeted at those most in need with measurement of outcomes and impacts built in from the start. Clever CSR managers will leverage greater non-financial resources and create exciting, productive partnerships with NGOs that aim to create capacity by helping people build their own livelihoods through giving them skills and education. Switched-on chief executives will understand the need to maximize the total wealth of all stakeholders. Governance and accountability is the new game in town. I

info - april / may 2012 - 45

focus Part two: HR issues linked to the current context

Winning the war for talent Rose Gledhill is a human resources expert and is chair of the Chamber’s HR forum. As Northern Europe HR Director at International SOS, she manages a large and highly skilled workforce. Here she brings INFO magazine up so speed on many of the latest trends

© flcikr/Nan Palmero

How have techniques for recruitment changed? Are social media and internet replacing newspapers and other conventional advertising platforms?

You used to look in the paper for a new job. Then it evolved into looking in the paper and also online, because they advertised the same jobs. Now, not many people really advertise in the newspapers. The specialist trade press has shrunk. Trade websites and social media like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are the key places where people look for jobs. If you are looking for a new job, you update your profile on LinkedIn straight away. How do you assess the value of headhunters?

What are the current major issues for HR professionals?

My number one issue is the war for talent. Related to this is the difficulty we find in recruiting the right people in today’s market for the jobs we have to offer. That is true at all levels, from the most senior to the most junior. We are building up talent management programmes inside the company so we can promote people from within. We know who we have got. These programmes will enable us to get people in the right jobs, and then to help them realise that there is a career path within International SOS. That means they want to stay with us, and we can continue to benefit from their experience. Our new flagship office in Chiswick Park is going to help with this, I’m sure, as it’s a fabulous place to work. Talent management is incredibly important for me. Could you please describe how recession has affected the job market?

Eight or nine years ago people would resign at a drop of a hat because they knew they could walk into a new job. Now they can’t. That has implications for the morale and spirit around the staff because many are only staying in their job because they have to be there, rather than because they want to be there. That is a concern for me.

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Headhunters are pretty good value for money. They are very expensive but in certain roles you do need a lot of help to find exactly the right person. What are today’s key selection techniques?

Psychometric testing in recruitment is very valuable to make sure the candidate has the right skills and personality profile. It is important to us that we get the right people in. Then we grow them on a three-year career track, because we can’t just recruit people in at the higher levels – they haven’t got the right knowledge and experience. We need to give that to them. You are aiming for very high retention rates. How do you manage this?

We look at a lot of data about why people leave. If they leave us within a short space of time, the obvious factor that has gone wrong is the recruitment. We have chosen somebody we thought was right, and they have chosen us – but it did not work out. So we both made an error of judgement. The more we can do to make them realise what it is like to work for us, the more they will decide, yes, that is the right job for me. I See profile of Rose Gledhill on page 80, At the Chamber.


HR hot topics Talent management, technological innovation, work/life balance – these are three of the most common phrases recurring in this Focus. INFO asks six HR professionals to sum up the most important current issues in their environment

“The economic situation in recent years has led to HR professionals examining how they can better contribute to business success by playing an even more active role in supporting and delivering workforce excellence.”

“Talent is at the core of business, and it is essential to ensure that we can maximise what and how people contribute. In the current climate, it is more critical than ever to empower managers to inspire, be engaged, and fight for the success of their team members.”

Jon Dawson, Director of Human Resources, St Pancras Renaissance Hotel London

Laurent Grossi, UK Head of Human Resources, Exane BNP Paribas

Valérie Ferrand, HR Director Bouygues UK

© flickr/Into Somerset

The current economic environment requires from HR to be even closer both to the managers and to the staff. This type of circumstances help to reinforce the HR positioning as a business partner and the HR Department is here to support the business strategy. Whilst working on the competitiveness of the Company, we need as well to make sure that we maintain a high level of involvement and motivation within our staff and that we retain our key people. Enabling a good work-life balance is an important responsibilty for organisations

“One of the biggest challenges is related to our fast moving technology environment – we constantly need people who are skilled in the latest technologies, and there is a further pressure on the time and costs associated with investment in skills. But this same challenge also provides opportunities. Technology, such as e-learning, can be used to support the development and training of people, especially when classroom training is not an option.”

“It is vital for organisations to give their people the tools to make diversity and inclusion part of their day-to-day work, and to respect individuals’ responsibilities and enable them to balance work with their personal life. Recruiting the best people for each role from the widest possible pool of talent will ensure companies have a better understanding of their customers, and build on their reputation as diverse and inclusive employer. Companies should focus on capturing the value that difference brings.”

Sue Beddow, Vice President, Human Resources, Capgemini

Caroline Stabb, Diversity & Inclusion Manager, and Rebecca Poole, Diversity & Inclusion Project Analyst, EDF Energy

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High-tech companies go for flexibility IBM encourages its employees to think and behave flexibly. It is in our DNA, says Jane Marsh, the UK HR director of IBM

To what extent is there a shortage of talent in high-tech skills?

There is a competition for talent in the sector but we have some targeted approaches. These concentrate on expanding the reach of technology skills into a

wider population at a younger age. We seek to widen the understanding of the appeal of coming into our sector, so they appreciate the opportunities we have to offer. We also try to influence their curriculum and the content of what they study. So when they come to us, they have the learning and the knowledge. How would you describe the person you are seeking to recruit?

Jane Marsh, UK Director of IBM

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It is someone who is adaptable, flexible, who is interested in continuous education. This is very different to the situation ten years ago. Our employees need to understand and accept that things move at a rate of rapid change. They must see change as a positive challenge. Another point is that we are completely globally integrated at IBM, so our employees must be able to collaborate across geographic borders by understanding the breadth of the company, even if they are working in one business unit. So there is an emphasis on collaboration. They must also be courageous. We look for people who are innovative and creative, and they need to have the courage to be both innovative and different. They need to think about creating solutions for clients. Of course, they may also fail at times. They may go some way down a line with a project and then find the company doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t take it forward. We encourage an environment where people are listened to and their points of view are taken on board. There are real characteristics that we look for, as well as technical skills.


What about the necessary technical skills for a futurelooking company?

People need to have the ability to use analysis to see patterns in data, to inform future solutions. It is a combination of technical skills, together with a flexibility of approach. We have to feel confident that we can put them in the middle of an environment and they can go with the flow. They need to be both human-related and analytical?

You have to have the credibility of technical ability, but also be flexible enough to adapt to the changing environment. People have longevity of career paths, because we have an opportunity to pick up different skills. There is less place in today’s company for the person with very detailed but limited breadth of knowledge and skills.

experience. We like to listen to the ideas of employees. If we ask our employees to be adaptable, we must also be adaptable. Are you trying to bring more women into the industry?

We focus on all our diverse groups. Gender is a high focus for us. We have programmes to bring women and other diverse groups into the company. All our flexible working structures are open to all the workforce. We take flexibility for granted. It surprises me how other sectors are tied to fixed hours and to their offices. That is not our working environment. Very typically we have arrangements with women who work at home and who organise their own working hours around the requirements of their children. We have no issue with that at all. It is an ordinary working practice.

How do you widen their skill and knowledge base?

Is this because more IT work is done in isolation?

If we use our graduates as an example, they spend two years in a “foundation training programme” which aligns them to particular units. But they have asked us to allow them to widen their experience and put a toe in the water of other business units. This pressure came out of their work in think tanks, where they were seeing how they could improve their

Even our non-IT departments of the company, such as our support services, which you might expect to be in one location, we have exactly the same approach. We bring remote workers into discussion using conference facilities. We learn to collaborate with each other and use technology to link up. That is in our DNA. I Interview conducted by Nicolas Kochan

Creating future professionals The future for professionals within the ICT sector looks bright, but are there enough of them to sustain rapid technological progress? The UK’s ICT sector is one of the most vibrant in the world, employing more than a million people and contributing more than £66.4bn to the UK economy. UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) is in charge of Tech City – a cluster of tech companies that started around London’s Old Street “silicon roundabout”, and which has since spread across the capital towards the Olympic Park and the City of London. Tech City might be one of the UK’s most dynamic areas at the moment, but its supporting body, UKTI, has a hard nut to crack: if technological progress continues at the current pace, who is going to fill the posts at the companies that spring up one after another?

Talent is key to securing growth, but UKTI says that the tech industry is facing potential short-term and long-term talent shortages. The former are perhaps easier to tackle – designers, engineers and computer scientists are recruited from the US, and graduates are tempted to work within Tech City companies through Milkround graduate recruitment events. Solving long-term talent shortages, however, requires real investment of time and energy, as it involves taking action very early: going to schools and encouraging young people to consider a career in technology, organising app development competitions in schools and pushing for changes in the school curriculum that would emphasise programming and other IT skills. I AK

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Training a diverse workforce for IT industry

Many companies are currently expanding their IT services and infrastructure, and demand is such that they are planning to recruit hundreds of technical graduates this year. Also welcome are graduates with an economics or finance background, along with an understanding of IT, which can lead to work in the financial sector as a business analyst or junior project manager. Diversity is a critical issue for HR managers within the IT sector, and they do already feel strongly about it. Diversifying the workforce of IT companies includes increasing the number of women practitioners, who remain largely underrepresented in the industry. It is a good idea for companies to sponsor initiatives to encourage young women to study IT from an early age. Visiting schools to talk about IT as a career is a crucial part of this process. Encouraging more women to enter technological professions has considerable benefits. Raising awareness of

© flickr/University of Denver

Listening to any media source, you will hear gloomy news about the graduate job market. The IT industry shows that it’s not as bad as it seems, says Madeleine Field, Recruitment Manager at FDM Group

the importance of the tech sector for UK economy among both young women and men is a crucial part of education, which will allow IT companies to choose from a talent pool which would otherwise be wasted. I

Pain-free redundancy in England and Wales? The announcement of the highest UK unemployment figures in 17 years demonstrates that redundancies are still taking place. Melanie Stancliffe, Partner at Pritchard Englefield, explains the employer’s role Effecting redundancies is difficult for the employees concerned and the managers implementing changes. It can be less painful if one complies with the following outline (different rules apply where 20+ redundancies are considered): Step 1 – Warn: Employers must identify the pool of employees for possible redundancy (e.g. employees from a specific branch or performing a specific task). Those employees should be warned that the employer is contemplating redundancies. Step 2 - Consult: Employers then meet with the employees individually, advise them of the process and discuss the reasons for and alternatives to redundancy (e.g. part-time work). Step 3 – Select: Employers then select employees for redundancy by applying objective selection criteria to those in the pool. Fair criteria can

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include performance results, cost and disciplinary records but should not be subjective as this could be discriminatory. Step 4 – Job search: Employers should look for suitable alternative positions for those selected throughout their group of companies. Step 5 – Conclude: At a further meeting, selected employees are notified if they are made redundant. They are told their leaving date and the payments they will receive (including notice and holiday pay, and a statutory redundancy payment where applicable). Many employers shy away from handling redundancies, even hiring third parties to hold meetings for them. Employees know the economic climate – they may not be best friends with employers afterwards, but a humane and fair approach will make the process as pain-free as possible. I


Managing in hard times In hard times, when we are all under pressure, stress splits up leaders from teams and from their own intuition. The imperative is to stay in touch, says Anne Roques, founder of Evolution Coaching


anaging during a recession makes particular demands on leaders. The additional stress resulting from uncertainty can cause them to behave in ways that alienate them from their teams and the people around them. As a result, they may lose touch with how they are perceived. And this can result in their taking decisions that are divisive – precisely at a time when it is critical to act as a team and in unison.

Light over shadow Managers need to respond to this tendency by being aware of their strengths and their weaknesses. In stressful times, the strengths of given personality traits will bounce back and transform into weaknesses. Human qualities may be understood in terms of light and shadow, where light indicates an alignment of reality and perception of certain personality traits, and shadow reflects a lack of such an alignment. The shadow is more at work in the context of uncertainty. The result is that a negative perception develops among colleagues. Self-awareness is then essential to be able to maintain a balanced behaviour. Fear factor… When perceptions are at odds with reality, people can build up fears of failure, believing that there is more hostility among their colleagues than is the reality. This is particularly true of women leaders. Because of their greater self-doubt, they tend to undervalue their strengths compared to their colleagues. Nor is gender the only factor that may engender a debilitating self-image. A newcomer to a team that has already “bonded” may feel out of place, even if his or her inherent abilities are every bit as good as the team’s! Another such case may arise when one is working in a foreign environment. This is particularly true where the prevailing language is not your own: being a French

speaker in a predominantly English environment, for example, or vice versa.

Good for two reasons Many organisations fail to harness the potential of their workforce at a time of economic stress – exactly when that potential is most needed! Logically managers should strive to blend the varied talents of their employees into an effective team, thus giving their firm the competitive edge. Yet psychological barriers apply as much to institutions as individuals. From a corporate perspective, management tends to freeze into paralysis when faced with external challenges; whereas by boldly embracing change and diversity the firm is better placed to survive the current climate. Getting the best from employees is thus good for the collective; it also benefits the individual worker’s sense of career satisfaction. Achieving that end, however, is often easier said than done. Help at hand… One increasingly popular approach is to seek the assistance of an executive coach who can discuss impediments, whether real or merely perceived, and suggest ways to overcome them. Through sensitive listening, the coach discovers the client’s often hidden talents and can advise on how to apply them in the workplace. While it is hard to change the culture of a business overnight, a coach can inspire confidence and help a client adapt to existing structures. Moreover, because a coach comes from outside the client can speak candidly, and begin thinking laterally about solutions. In short, an external advisor often sees ways out of the conundrum, turning stress into creativity – and benefiting both the employee and the company. I

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Using technology to crack the job market Social media is becoming increasingly powerful for recruitment purposes, allowing employers to connect directly with the best talent, says LinkedIn’s Darain Faraz


n addition to cost savings and more efficient talent sourcing, social media is helping to diversify the talent pool, which is a great benefit to recruiters today. The ability to approach passive candidates opens the recruitment field up to a much bigger and better pool of candidates, who might not necessarily be looking for jobs but who just might be the perfect match in terms of skills and experience for a given position. These passive candidates are also more often than not open to new opportunities for a career move.

Creating an image For jobseekers, the benefits are much the same; social media enables candidates to be “discovered” by recruiters, and to connect directly or follow companies they wish to work for. In the current economic climate competition is fierce, making it all the more valuable to have a solid LinkedIn profile that provides the type of information that would make businesses and recruiters want to approach you. LinkedIn engagement takes place within a business context, in a trusted professional environment, and this is truly what differentiates LinkedIn from other social networking sites. No serious professional, whether a recruiter or

candidate, wants their Saturday night antics to follow them into the office on Monday morning. Therefore, an effective social media strategy involves creating an image that appeals to prospective employers. We often hear marketers talk about audiences. Social media recruitment is no different.

Facilitating the recruiter’s job LinkedIn offers tailored tools for the recruitment industry. LinkedIn Recruiter is one of them, currently used by 82 of the Fortune 100 companies and thousands of other companies worldwide to search for, identify, and recruit the absolute best talent, whether they be active or passive candidates. At LinkedIn’s Talent Connect event in October last year, Talent Pipeline was also announced. An addition to Recruiter, this tool will now allow recruiters to track, manage and stay in touch with all their prospective talent leads before they enter the formal application process, no matter where these contacts were initially sourced from. Recruitment via social media is set to become even more important for businesses today, especially as they manage their online reputation to attract the best talent they need. Times are changing and it’s no longer all about who you know but, who knows about you. I

Lacking talent? You need HIPOs to expand Karine Mangion, Managing Director at Culture in Business Ltd, explains what prevents companies to expand in new markets The war for talent has never been so present on the job market. The Pricewaterhousecoopers’ 15th CEOs Annual Survey 2011 shows that 47 percent of CEOs are very confident about growing in the next 3 years, but only 30 percent think that they would have the talent they need to expand in new markets. Some sectors continue to be in demand such as telecommunications, risk management, analytics, e-commerce and change management. So, how do you attract, identify, develop, engage, retain and deploy these HIPOs (High Potentials)? First, you would probably have to define what you consider as “talent” and identify the key talents in your organisation, i.e. the individuals who can make a difference to organisational

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performance not only based on their immediate contribution but also on their potential for the future. More and more organisations working on a local or global level choose to implement coaching and mentoring programmes as part of their learning and talent development strategy. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) published a survey in 2010 showing that coaching and mentoring are used in 83 percent of organisations in the UK. For almost half (46 percent) of organisations, the major organisational change affecting learning and talent development in the next five years will be a greater integration between coaching, organisational development and performance management. I


Employment law changes: Fair or unfair? The watchword for 2012 has been “fairness”. This vague and subjective concept has found its way into many of the coalition’s legislative programmes from reform of education and social services to Employment law. Sharokh Koussari, a partner in law firm Howard Kennedy doubts whether it will attain its intended goals

s part of the British Government’s aim to inject the concept of fairness into the system of employment law, it has said that the balance is unfairly tipped towards employees under the current system. It also argues that employment law reform is one way of making the UK a more competitive environment for businesses. Many of the series of measures aimed at revamping employment law, are aimed at shifting the costs of employment tribunal litigation from the tax payer to the user. However The increase of the qualifying period for bringing an unfair dismissal claim from 1 to 2 years is the most significant of the changes being introduced in April 2012 The new rules mean that the employer could dismiss the employee “unfairly” (i.e. he does not have to show a fair reason such as redundancy, incapability, etc.) within his first two years of employment. Whilst this may look like a positive step for employers, in fact it could create many problems as many employees are likely to be encouraged instead to bring other statutory claims such as discrimination and whistleblowing which are not subject to the 2 year time limit. Also, in the past, the qualifying period for bringing unfair dismissal claims used to be 2 years and this was challenged successfully in the European Court of Justice on the basis that it was indirectly discriminatory against women and there is no guarantee that such a challenge will not be made this time around. The other major change is the increase of the maximum costs orders that can be awarded in the employment tribunals from £10,000 to £20,000. The aim of this change is to deter employees from bringing

© flcikr/The Prime Minister’s Office


Coalition leaders: David Cameron & Nick Clegg

unmeritorious claims. Currently however, the Tribunal also has regard to the parties’ ability to pay when making an order and therefore this is only likely to affect wealthier claimants. Many other proposals will be introduced from April 2012 and others are still at the consultation stage. Some of the minor changes (for example the elimination of lay members from the tribunal panel which currently includes an employment judge and two lay members in respect of the majority of unfair dismissal cases ) are welcomed by employers. However, in relation to the most important changes, whilst they have a good “sound-bite” aspect to them, it is not at all certain if they will have the effect of reducing the burden on employers that was originally intended. Certainly, some of the cost for mounting these actions will shift from the taxpayer to the user, so to that extent the government will achieve its aim. However, will the changes result in an overall reduction in the number of claims? Many practitioners are sceptical. I

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Cherishing difference helps boosting growth: the example of AXA Embracing diversity in the workforce is no “optional extra” but rather a key component of growth in a globalised world. So argues Lisa Kepinski, Chief Group Diversity & Inclusion Officer at AXA Group


hese days, neither multinationals nor SMEs can afford to ignore diversity and inclusion (D&I) in their workforces’. So says Lisa Kepinski, who in November 2010 became AXA’s first Group D&I Officer. In her view, variety on the shop-floor and boardroom reflects today’s range of customers, she explains. It works as a perfect marketing tool and also improves corporate decisions. Meanwhile including men and women, old and young, black and white, different languages, disparate cultures, distinct faith traditions, or workers with disabilities, is ethically fair too.

different customs, styles of thinking, interpretations and national cultures, even attitudes to disability and sexual orientation’, she explains. Where Britain favours voluntary integration of women on boards, France has specific targets; and while the typical German worker is older, India has a remarkably young workforce. The solution lies in flexibility and cross-cultural sensitivity. Nonetheless certain universal themes reappear: the fact that 51 percent of any given population is female, forces gender equity up the agenda. And better balanced boards make for better governance, says Lisa.

Local and global Cherishing variety The insurance and asset management company generated €91bn in 2010; its 216,000 employees D&I should be fully integrated into all aspects of work, she argues. Lisa is glad that L’Oreal and Sodexo have worldwide serve 93 million clients in over 60 countries, mainstream leaders, not just HR department heads, each operating under different laws. No wonder Lisa’s task is gargantuan! who passionately advocate diversity. AXA’s own 12-15-strong Diversity and As AXA is decentralised, she must align Inclusion Advisory Council ensures different branches’ actions with the group’s Variety on the strategic imperatives. Does this dualist that these values inform all corporate shop-floor and communications. approach lead to muddy compromise, boardroom reflects As a US-born graduate in psychology however? Far from it, she says. ‘I today’s range of particularly welcome innovative practices and linguistics, married to a Polish man, customers. It works living in Germany and working in Paris, that provoke a dialogue’. AXA France, for with experience for HP and Microsoft in instance, has invested a considerable sum as a marketing tool and also improves to close the gender pay gap. such varied locations as Oman, Brussels corporate decisions. and Munich, Lisa knows all about diversity in her personal life! Colour-blind CV Even bolder is their consideration of job In the growing D&I community, she adds, ideas are not ring-fenced but instead are applications stripped of anything that might prompt generously shared from one firm to another. And interviewers’ social biases, conscious or unconscious. Hence resumés with no photograph, postal district, while some see D&I as peripheral during difficult times, Lisa argues to the contrary: ‘As long as it is name or school, just relevant career achievements. Merit and enthusiasm ought to be the sole criteria tied to business goals and a strategy of growth and for landing a job, says Lisa. Yet a “one size fits all” increased opportunities’, she says, ‘I say it is essential for doing business efficiently’. I LRJ approach does not always work. ‘There are so many

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A war for talent – staff retention There is a considerable correlation between implementing staff retention policies and commercial performance, says James Douglas, Chairman at EMA Partners International

Recognising achievement

Career development and long-term involvement

In challenging economic times, when pay freezes, retrenchments and limited prospects are likely to affect staff morale, HR managers should be aware of the risk associated with losing talented staff. They should always try to analyse why staff decide to leave one job to go to another. Whilst an increase in salary is important, it is rarely the only reason; in fact, it is estimated that a straightforward increase in pay has to be at least around 20 to 30 percent to tempt someone to move. Other reasons include company performance, status, a lack of opportunities, poor leadership and a lack of recognition. Some measures to improve staff retention can cost nothing – when was the last time you said ‘thank you’ to your staff?

Younger members of staff are more aware of the requirements of developing their careers than their predecessors. Consequently, they will be looking for opportunities to enhance their careers. Companies should develop and maintain a valid process of talent identification and career development. If you don’t do it, some other employer will! Whichever strategy employers choose, it is paramount to make employees proud of what they do and who they do it for. The determination and passion of the people is a win-win situation for both the employer and the employee. I

Salaries, bonuses and benefits

© flcikr/Victor1558

Even in today’s highly volatile employment environment, companies have to work hard to attract staff. They clearly must offer competitive salaries and bonuses that relate to the actual market conditions. There is a growing trend amongst employees, especially the younger ones, to want to have more from their employment than mere remuneration. Consequently, some of the more progressive companies are developing work styles that allow the individual to have a much greater influence on their own working conditions than has previously existed. For instance, the ability to choose the number of hours worked, the number of days per week, and the number of months per year is being offered. Similarly, flexible benefits packages are becoming more prevalent; this is where instead of offering set terms and conditions, such as pension entitlement, a car, health insurance etc., employees are given a cash sum and allowed to allocate funds to individual benefits as they wish. Young workers are more aware of their careers

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focus Part three: diversity

An unrecognised resource: women in the boardroom The Davies Report has set the benchmark for levels of employment of women in the UK. Most recently, the report has recommended that a quarter of board members should be women.


K FTSE 350 companies should aim for a minimum of 25 percent female board member representation by 2015, while smaller FTSE 350 companies should set their own, challenging targets. These are the key goals of a report published by Lord Mervyn Davies.

© flcikr/The Warfield

Changing the status quo The challenge to the larger companies is particularly stiff. Women occupied 135 seats on boards of FTSE 100 companies out of a total available 1,076 seats at the end of 2010. These large British companies recruited just 23 women to their boards in the whole of 2011. On

the positive side, the number of blue-chip companies without a single woman on their boards (as of March 2012) has fallen to 18, down from 21 at the end of 2010. The report makes four key recommendations: first, that investors should pay close attention to the report’s conclusions when considering re-appointments to a company board; second, that companies should advertise non-executive board positions periodically to encourage greater diversity in applications; third, that headhunting firms should draw up a voluntary code of practice to address gender diversity in relation to board level appointments to FTSE 350 companies; and finally, that the UK’s Financial Reporting Council should amend the UK Corporate Governance Code to require listed companies to establish a policy concerning boardroom diversity.

It is recommended that women should make up a quarter of UK boardrooms

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A long way to go While the record of UK boards in taking women onto the board is patchy, Lord Davies points to some solid progress: ‘Over the past 25 years the number of women in fulltime employment has increased by more than a third and there have been many steps towards gender equality in the workplace, with flexible working and the Equal Pay Act. However, there is still a long way to go. As of March 2012, 18 FTSE 100 companies have no female directors at all and nearly half of all FTSE 250 companies do


Benefits of diversity ‘The appointment of women brings benefits to the bottom line’, says Davies. ‘This is not about aiming for a specific figure, and is not just about promoting equal opportunities, but it is about improving business performance. There is growing evidence to show that diverse boards are better boards, delivering financial out-performance and stock market growth.’ The role of women on company boards is studied at the Cranfield School of Management. Dr Ruth Sealy, Cranfield’s Deputy Director of the International Centre for Women Leaders, described the latest female board figures as ‘very, very encouraging’ and ‘pretty much entirely down

© flcikr/International Monetary Fund

not have a woman in the boardroom. Radical change is needed in the mindset of the business community if we are to implement the scale of change that is needed.’

Christine Lagarde

to the Davies report’. She added that the appointment of Christine Lagarde as the IMF’s first female head ‘can only be a good thing’. Lagarde has supported the principle of quotas as the only way of forcing change. I NK

Helping employers comply with disability legislation the quality benchmark for inclusive recruitment in the UK. Kate Headley, Development Director at The Clear Company, and Morgan Lobb, Managing Director of DiversityJobs., explain In the UK there is a gulf between the employment rates of disabled people (48 percent in employment) and their non-disabled counterparts (78 percent in employment). The Clear Company was commissioned in 2008 by the Department for Work and Pensions to identify the reasons for this disparity. The research found some challenges faced by employers and resulted in the release of Clearkit, an online support framework for employers, to ensure that their recruitment policies and practices are inclusive. The system provides employers with “must do” checklists and assessment tools that identify areas for development in line with the ClearAssured framework. It also gives employers access to an online panel of experts including employment lawyers, technology professionals and accessibility specialists. Employers are provided with access to diverse

candidates through a partnership with DiversityJobs., a site which attracts 20 million searches each month for the vacancies it carries on behalf of organisations keen to be inclusive employers of talent, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, disability, age and sexual orientation. Its technology is designed to be accessible for everybody. It even speaks its own content for people with visual impairments. The partnership has proven beneficial for both companies. Member organisations benefit from a talent pool which is truly diverse and, as an additional benefit, they have negotiated substantial advertising discounts for employers going through the ClearAssured development programme. But more importantly, the two partners are hoping to change the lives of people with disabilities – a move that can boost the UK economy by more than £13bn annually. I

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Getting the numbers right: workers with disabilities French and British public policy regarding the employment of people with disabilities differs quite significantly, says Caroline Yarrow, Senior Associate at Bircham Dyson Bell LLP


aIn France, disabled workers must make up at least 6 percent of workforces in businesses with over 20 employees. Employers who do not meet the quota requirements can, however, contribute to a fund for the vocational integration of disabled people, with the contribution in each case reflecting the hourly rate of the role not filled, the size of the organisation and the period for which the quota has not been met. UK companies, on the other hand, are not constrained by similar quotas. Instead, the law requires that disabled persons are given “equality

of opportunity” and recruitment decisions should generally be made on the basis of “the best person for the job”. A UK employer can, however, recruit a disabled candidate over another non-disabled candidate where both candidates are equally well qualified but the employer reasonably believes that disabled persons are disadvantaged or disproportionately underrepresented. Employers will need to keep careful and detailed records of decisions made in this regard, including statistics regarding under-representation. Keeping such records is essential for the employer to be able to defend any subsequent claim that the decision has been made on the grounds of another characteristic protected by the Equality Act 2010 (for example sex) and is therefore unlawful. Despite the difference in both regimes, one thing is clear: the paper trail is key. French businesses should record how they meet the quota or, if they do not or cannot meet it, why this is the case. UK businesses will need to keep records of where they rely on the provisions which allow for lawful positive action for the reasons World famous British scientist, Stephen Hawking, and President Barack Obama in the White House described above. I

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Key steps towards diversity in the workplace A diverse workforce is better equipped to address and relate to a broad range of stakeholders, which in turn can help identify a range of business opportunities, says Katherine Lampen, Senior Manager of Sustainability Services at Deloitte LLP


aximising and capitalising on workplace diversity is an essential component of organisational sustainability. However, this process is not without its challenges. There will be cultural barriers that need to be overcome, potential resistance to change from employees who have established attitudes and behaviour, and differing ideas on how to address diversity. All of these factors can inhibit progress and need to be responded to with both sensitivity and strong messaging and actions.

groups to discuss barriers to employment, for example for people with disabilities this could be related to the recruitment process, technology, accessibility or people interaction). Synthesising such data will help spot emerging themes and provide direction on developing a plan of action. Measurements should then be chosen to track the programme’s progress and any challenges that arise. Finally, benchmarking leading practice assists initiative leaders in identifying practices for emulation and adaptation that are relevant to the strategic plan and the company’s core business.

A recipe for a diverse workplace There is no single recipe for establishing a successful diversity strategy, but there are a few essentials. First, Why diversifying your team pays off senior leadership need to be engaged through the Diversity delivers a range of critical differentiators establishment of a core team to lead and is, therefore, a key determinant of and support diversity strategy and companies’ ability to become market initiatives (likely to be senior HR team The more varied leaders. Foremost, the more varied and and company directors). This group can and inclusive an inclusive an organisation becomes, the identify champions throughout the organisation becomes, more able it will be to tap into the UK’s business to help embed the diversity the more able it will increasingly diverse pool of talent. In strategy. Secondly, to determine if new be to tap into the addition, becoming a more diverse and workplace activities are warranted, as UK’s increasingly inclusive firm also helps retain existing well as to help identify the activities diverse pool of talent. talent, as people are more likely to that will have the greatest impact in feel valued and understood. But it’s leveraging the skills and commitment not just about improving a company’s of your existing workforce and ability to recruit and retain. Increased opportunities to increase representation, an analysis diversity also allows it to better reflect and empathise of current practices is required. with clients. Appreciating and understanding each An analysis of current perceptions is essential and other’s differences is the key to working together can be performed by looking at workforce statistics, more effectively, while utilising the widest possible performance appraisals, employee surveys or focus range of individual skills and experiences helps solve groups (for example, companies often arrange focus problems better and faster. I

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Jean-Siméon Chardin, Boy building a House of Cards, 1735, Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (Rothschild Family Trusts), photography: Mike Fear. ©The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor.


Taking Time: Chardin’s boy building a House of Cards and other paintings ||| Four great works by Jean-Siméon Chardin are united for the first time in a new exhibition at Waddesdon Manor. The exhibition has been prompted by Waddesdon’s recent acquisition of Chardin’s Boy building a House of Cards. Loans of the other three versions of the painting from the Louvre in Paris, the National Gallery of Art in Washington and London’s National Gallery will demonstrate, along a small selection of other key works, Chardin’s exploration of the themes of childhood, adolescence and play. Taking Time will give the visitor an unparalleled opportunity to experience the work of the artist whom the philosopher and art critic Denis Diderot dubbed the ‘great magician’. Extending the themes of play and pedagogy, a complementary display of French eighteenth-century board games from Waddesdon’s collection will be on show in the Manor’s Drawings Rooms. Playing, Learning, Flirting: Printed Board Games from 18th Century France will provide a fascinating insight into how people lived and played and the role of games in education and leisure, with themes ranging from flirtation to fort-building, from biblical history to the French Revolution. Waddesdon Manor was built in 1877 by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild to display his outstanding collection of art treasures and to entertain the fashionable world. The Rothschilds were at the forefront of the rediscovery of Chardin in the nineteenth century, when the artist had a profound impact on Edouard Manet and Paul Cézanne, among many others. The Baroness Nathaniel (Charlotte) built up an important collection of Chardins, both genre subjects and still lifes, in the second half of the nineteenth century. By 1931, her grand son Henri de Rothschild’s collection included over thirty works by the artist. Waddesdon is one of the most visited historic houses among England’s National Trust properties. I 28 March – 15 July 2012 / £11 – £17

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WADDESDON MANOR Edmund de Waal’s porcelain at Waddesdon From late April Waddesdon Manor will be collaborating with ceramist, artist and author Edmund de Waal on an exhibition of porcelain inspired by the Manor and its collections, and its Rothschild heritage. In 10 installations specially made for specific spaces through the house, de Waal will create a series of contemporary responses both to the opulent materials, objects and interiors, and to the family passion for collecting which brought them about, a passion mirrored in his own European ancestry. The artist said: ‘Waddesdon is a fabulous faux-French château in the middle of Buckinghamshire, full of Sèvres porcelain and gilt furniture and extraordinary art. It is a wonderfully nuanced bit of Rothschild assimilation into Victorian English society, a sort of dressing-up game on the grandest scale possible.’ Events will include an “in conversation” with the artist and author Tracy Chevalier on 3rd May. I 20 April – 28 October 2012 / £11 – £17

The fascination of what’s difficult, ©Edmund de Waal, on display at Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection, 2012.

WADdESDON MANOR House of Cards: an exhibition of contemporary sculpture Waddesdon Manor will collaborate with Christie’s, the fine art auctions and private sales company, to organise an exhibition of contemporary sculpture in response to Jean-Baptiste Siméon Chardin’s House of Cards. The Manor’s setting in a dramatic landscape will provide the backdrop for the sculptures. The exhibition has been timed as a sculptural counterpoint to Waddesdon’s recent acquisition of Jean-Siméon Chardin’s boy building a House of Cards. It also builds on Waddesdon’s own commitment to contemporary art and its significant and growing collection of work which includes pieces by Richard Long, Sarah Lucas, Michael Craig Martin, Angus Fairhurst and Stephen Cox amongst others. Lord Rothschild, whose Rothschild Foundation manages the Manor, has long been a supporter of young, emerging artists. One of the early highlights of the exhibition is a large scale wrought-iron teapot entitled Miss Jasmine by the Portugese artist Joana Vasconcelos, who has been invited to show her work in the gardens of Versailles this year. I 26 May – 28 October 2012 / £3.50 – £8

Richard Serra house of cards, 1969 - 1981 © Christie’s Images Ltd 2012

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design museum Christian Louboutin The Design Museum presents the first UK retrospective of iconic French shoe designer Christian Louboutin, celebrating a career which has pushed the boundaries of high fashion shoe design. This exhibition celebrates Louboutin’s career to date and showcases twenty years of designs and inspiration, revealing the artistry and theatricality of his shoe design from stilettos to laceup boots, studded sneakers and bejewelled pumps. Louboutin’s shoes are the epitome of style, glamour, power, femininity and elegance. I 01 May – 09 July, 10.00 -17.45/£10 Adults, £9 concessions, under 12s Free

THE FRENCH INSTITUTE Are Hooligans Offside? For a long time people have pointed the finger at England for the behaviour of hooligans. This debate will try to determine if this phenomenon still exists. For several years the English Federation has been praised for seemingly having swept away the problems of hooliganism. However, a large number of specialists believe that it is mainly the price of tickets that has forced this group of people to desert the Premier League stadiums for those of inferior leagues where, precisely, the behaviour persists. A panel of experts will include former Captain of the France national rugby union team and Captain of London Wasps Serge Betsen, author John Williams, L’Express’ sports reporter Philippe Broussard, and researcher Patrick Mignon from the National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance. The discussion will be in English and French. I 12 April, 18.30 – 20.30/£3 – £5

Christian Louboutin Engin Spikes Patent PVC Peep Toe Pump Sp © Philippe Garcia from Christian Louboutin book published by Rizzoli

TATE BRITAIN Picasso and Modern British Art The exhibition explores Picasso’s rise in Britain as a figure of both controversy and celebrity, tracing the ways in which his work was exhibited and collected here during his lifetime, and demonstrating that the British engagement with Picasso and his art was much deeper and more varied than generally has been appreciated. The exhibition examines his enormous impact on British modernism, through seven exemplary figures for whom he proved an important stimulus: Duncan Grant, Wyndham Lewis, Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore, Francis Bacon, Graham Sutherland and David Hockney. I Until 15 July – £12.20 – £14

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Pablo Picasso, The Three Dancers, 1925, Tate, © Succession Picasso/DACS 2011

book reviews

Hector Finds Time by François Lelord, translated by Lorenza Garcia. Gallic Books.

||| Hector, the intrepid psychiatrist, is not feeling quite as young as he used to. His current patients are concerned with time too. One feels she’s always in a hurry, as if there’s a clock ticking in her tummy – she would like time to slow down. But there’s also a boy who wishes time would hurry along and turn him into an adult. And a third patient counts his remaining years of life in terms of how many dogs he’ll have time to own. Hector feels he must get to the bottom of this time business and to do so, of course, a round-the-world adventure is required. Even the most aloof, the most detached reader will be won over by this book. I

The Foundling by Agnès Desarthe, translated by Adriana Hunter. Portobello Books.

||| The Foundling is the most recent in Agnès Desarthe’s succession of novelsforchildren and adults, songs, theatre plays, and translations. Jerome is a calm man, but when his daughter’s boyfriend dies in an accident, he is overwhelmed by

unexpected grief. As he struggles to make sense of the loss and his own reaction to it, he finds himself assailed by emotions and memories he has allowed to lie dormant: the residual feelings for his ex-wife, a baffling new attraction to a stranger, a precarious friendship with a retired policeman, and, above all, unsettling questions about his own past and his family that he never knew. Desarthe’s portrayal of characters devastated by grief is potent. At the same time it’s a playful pontification over mundane events. The principal message that shines through is that the possibility of love and friendship is always there, and that it’s never too late. I

The Third Day by Chochona Boukhobza, translated by Alison Anderson. Maclehose Press.

||| The new novel by the TunisianJewish author is a vivid portrait of life in Jerusalem, and a meditation on the power of music and the sacrifices that it demands. A leading Israeli musician and her protégé return to Jerusalem for three days to perform with the Philharmonic Orchestra in the late 1980s. Both women – one a gifted young cellist, one a Holocaust survivor saved by her extraordinary musical talent – are quickly caught

up in tangled threads from former lives. For Elisheva, this is above all an appointment with her past and the nightmares of the camps; for Rachel, her gifted pupil, the return home forces her to face the difficult choices she has made. Boukhobza’s gripping thriller, set in a multicultural Israel fraught with tension, offers a shattering conclusion. I

Public Enemies by Michel Houellebecq and BernardHenri Lévy, translated by Frank Wynne and Miriam Frendo. Atlantic Books.

||| In 2008, two of the most celebrated and controversial F r e n c h intellectuals began a ferocious exchange of letters. Public Enemies is its result. In their inimitably confrontational correspondence, they lock horns on everything from literature to fame, politics to family, and even – naturally – themselves. Public Enemies is a death match between literary lions, remarkable men who find common ground, confident that, in the end (as Lévy puts it), ‘it is we who will come out on top’. An instant international bestseller, Public Enemies has been translated into English and 22 other languages for all lovers of scandalous opinions and iconoclastic ideas. I

These books, written in french and recently translated into english, were selected by the French Institute

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How BNP Paribas brought Hockney to the Royal Academy of Arts What links colossal David Hockney canvases and iPad-generated landscapes to the world of City finance? Ludovic de Montille, UK Group Chairman of BNP Paribas, explains How did BNP Paribas first become involved with the Royal Academy?

The connection began in late 2007, shortly after I arrived in the UK, when a contact in the City approached me. He had ties to the Academy and Ludovic de Montille told me that they were about to open an exhibition honouring the French collector Aimé Maeght. But the sponsor had suddenly pulled out. As a matter of urgency, would BNP Paribas act as replacement? I knew the Academy as a tourist, I briefly discussed the idea internally and within days we stepped in. In 2008, the Maeght show opened in the Sackler Gallery. It was small compared to the Hockney. Yet the Academy’s work was absolutely impressive, even down to how the curator hung the paintings. Through that exhibition I got to know the Academy director, Charles SaumarezSmith, and the following year I was invited to join the Academy’s corporate board.

So what made you choose Hockney instead?

In this country we are a British bank. Most of our staff are English; we employ 85 nationalities and French make up only a small minority! People wrongly see us as a “French bank”, but we are international and we support global corporates, global financial institutions, global investors…… and global artists. So I specifically didn’t want a French artist, especially as everyone thinks that the French are nationalistic. It was much more powerful for us to work with someone very British, American and global, like Hockney. That makes all my colleagues really proud of their bank; it helps to increase our collective sense of belonging. I also had a preference for a living artist, living in the same world as all of us and making the most of his own life. I wanted an artist speaking a language we could all understand, able to inspire a large number and wide range of people. Hockney is a living contemporary artist, yet his work is not too conceptual that people cannot understand it… His landscapes speak to the English, especially with their love of nature and gardens. Hockney is a longstanding Academician and conceived his giant works for specific rooms that he knew well. The exhibition itself becomes a work of art! Why should a bank sponsor art?

And your association didn’t end there, did it?

No, because we soon sponsored a second exhibition, Wild Thing, about three young sculptor friends working in London in the early 20th century and trying to escape the Rodin domination. They were the American Jacob Epstein, the Frenchman Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, and the Englishman Eric Gill, who all expressed themselves in exciting new ways. Wild Thing was a wonderful exhibition and it went so well that the Royal Academy asked if BNP would sponsor a larger exhibition, something “very French”, based on the work of Degas, for instance.

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Fostering fine art is an important aspect of bettering the society you live in, and this ethos applies across BNP Paribas’ globally. Sponsorship is also key to building brand and reputation. We want visitors to the Academy to make an association between what they see and us: two brands in common, top quality yet accessible, British yet global. That is what this exhibition achieves well. Some 8,000 employees work for us, the majority in London. We must appeal to our clients in the Square Mile – people with a relatively high level of interest in art and culture. We are a major player in the City, a community that traditionally sponsors cultural events. I admit

David Hockney, Winter Timber - 2009, Private collection, © David Hockney, Photo credit: Jonathan Wilkinson

there is a competitive element too. We need to position ourselves with peer– investment banks. And these days, when banks are not the most loved of institutions, it is good to be visible and proud of what we do. Besides art, what other activities do you fund?

As a group, BNP Paribas focuses on sustainable development, corporate philanthropy and tennis. Art sponsorship is part of the Corporate Philanthropy leg that also includes solidarity, education, medical research and the environment. We also have a comprehensive Community and Charity programme in the UK that addresses many of these areas. More directly, our staff teach in schools that serve the deprived community around here. We are a large sponsor of Tennis globally (550 tournaments) and in the UK we sponsor British Tennis, Queens, the BNP Paribas Classic at Hurlingham and a number of other tennis – focussed initiatives. On the sustainable development front, we offered a longterm loan to a fantastic micro-finance London enterprise called Fair Finance. We provide working capital, not a oneoff subsidy. That helps them pass on shorter term loans to their clients. It gives them financial stability, while we apply normal business rules to a charitable objective. So far it works very well. It is both market focussed and socially useful. Any future plans at the Royal Academy?

We have sponsored three exhibitions there over the past four years, and we try to think long term in everything we are doing. The Royal Academy understand that very well. I am happy to bring a sense of permanence and continuity to the Academy, which helps them plan years in advance, but am also reactive to other opportunities.

We share common values and this is very important. What values are those?

The RA is an incredible combination of tradition and modernity; think of its name, its history, its Piccadilly location, its aristocratic building. At the same time, its schools train very young artists, help them discover their own talent, and then give them recognition by asking them to join the club. And that is exactly what we try to do as bankers. We make investments, support innovative projects, yet we have also been in the business for 150 years and we build on this experience. The RA also excels in recruiting curators who are didactic and clever in conceiving their exhibitions. And because it gets no government subsidy, the Academy has to be very entrepreneurial in all its activities. Finally, creativity lies at the heart of what the RA does. We too are creative. We expect that sort of mindset from our people as well. So we share lots in common. We speak the same language even though we inhabit different worlds! How do you promote bank’s image via art sponsorship going forward?

Carefully and consistently: you must differentiate yourself while also doing what is expected of a major investment bank. Our link with the Academy works well. Other investment banks compete over major state institutions like the National Gallery or the British Museum. We prefer to stand a little aside. The important thing is to offer consistency and a bit of surprise. And when you can do something, why not do it? It is as simple as that. I NK/LRJ

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w i n e p r ess

The taste of Kosher Kosher wine is gaining in popularity all over the world. Its intricacies should be explained, however, for it to be fully appreciated by wine lovers. Thibault Lavergne managing director of Wine Story tells the tale


arly last month, an old friend of mine, Eli Ben-Zaken, founder and owner of Domaine du Castel, the greatest Israeli vineyard, invited me to a wine tasting event. It was not an ordinary wine tasting session. Rather, it was the biggest Kosher wine tasting event in the UK. Within the space of a few hours, more than four thousand people arrived in the ballroom of the Park Lane Hotel to meet some forty international winemakers whose products were served exclusively by waiters wearing skullcaps. I quickly recognised some famous Grands Crus Classés wine labels, such as Pontet-Canet of Pauillac and Léoville-Poyferré of Saint Julien. With more than a hundred million bottles produced every year in most wine regions worldwide, Kosher wine is no longer a rarity. However, it is worth explaining what exactly it is, how it is made and how it should be consumed. The blessing of a cup of Kosher wine is an essential element of most Jewish celebrations including Passover, Purim, Shabbat and weddings. Kosher wine is a grape wine produced in accordance with Judaist religious dietary law. For a wine to be considered as Kosher, it is necessary that Shabbat-observing Jewish people are involved in the entire winemaking process up until the bottling of the wine, and any ingredients used must all be Kosher. This means

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that non-orthodox Jewish wine producers (those who work on Saturdays, for example) are not allowed to handle the wine in their own cellar. The wine also loses its Kosher status if it is served by a non-orthodox Jewish person. It’s precisely for this reason that all the waiters at the wine tasting event at the Park Lane Hotel were orthodox Jews. Until the 1980s, most Kosher wines were red sweet wines referred to as mevushal, as they could be handled and served by non-orthodox Jewish people without losing their Kosher status. To obtain a mevushal, wine is boiled at a very high temperature during the winemaking process. Today, modern technologies and the Judaist law allow pasteurisation at up to 74 degrees Celcius for 20 seconds. Mevushal wines are most often used at large functions, such as weddings and Bar Mitzvahs (coming of age rituals) in diasporic communities. It should be noted that the demand for mevushal wine is greater overseas than in Israel. This is due to a greater availability in Israel of orthodox Jews who can perform the action of handling and serving Kosher wine. As far as quality is concerned, mevushal wines give way to wines made using the standard winemaking process. The quality of the latter has improved significantly over the last twenty years. The Domaine du Castel

w i n e p r e ss

from the Judean Hills not far from such as L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Jerusalem can rival the Crus Classés London, beginning to stock it. of Bordeaux, and even a wine expert Some wines are The main concern of Kosher wouldn’t tell the difference between a produced within winemakers is the price, as the ordinary wineries Kosher wine and a non-Kosher wine. production cost for Kosher wine is at Traditionally made Kosher wine has that devote a certain least €1.5 higher per bottle than that also become more widespread in the percentage of their of non-Kosher wine. There is a range last decade. Some wines are produced production to Kosher, of reasonably good Kosher wines within ordinary wineries that devote a like most of the available in most supermarkets costing certain percentage of their production Grands Crus Classés around £8 per bottle. It might be £3 more than the average amount spent to Kosher, like most of the Grands Crus of Bordeaux on a bottle of wine in the UK, but it Classés of Bordeaux. Others, such as the remains affordable. Pacifica in the US or Elvi wines in Spain, For non-Jewish wine lovers, the are produced exclusively as Kosher, question is not: to drink or not to drink Kosher wine, and they belong to the best in their category. These but rather: which Kosher wine to choose among the wines continue to increase their share of the market wide range of quality wines available? I with more and more Michelin-starred restaurants,

Cheese of the month by La Cave à Fromage: Saint-Nicolas de la Dalmerie ||| A great deal of the food that we enjoy eating today has a fascinating history. At the start of the second millennium, in around 1100, monasteries were given some of the best land to achieve two things: educate and feed populations. Very quickly, monks and nuns developed techniques to improve the quality of food, and invented new, better methods of food production. We inherited from them some of our most cherished products, such as champagne, chocolate, beer, biscuits and refined cheese. Today, in the Languedoc region of Southern France, goats are grazing on the 60 acres of land owned by the orthodox monastery of Saint-Nicolas de la Dalmerie. A fresh and aromatic type of cheese is produced there using extremely modern equipment but traditional methods, and creating delicious, flagrant and delicate cheese characterised by an aroma of herbs grown in this part of France. Eaten with closed eyes, you’ll almost be able to hear the chirping of crickets. I

Saint Nicholas de la Dalmerie

Wine to accompany Saint-Nicolas de la Dalmerie by Wine Story ||| The Greek Orthodox monastery where this cheese is made is in the heart of the Languedoc region, not far from Montpellier and Béziers. One does not have to travel a long way to find a matching wine companion for this aromatic cheese. The powerful almost local red Faugerès or a Coteaux du Languedoc made from Syrah and Grenache grapes will be the right choice for those traditionalists who have “only red with cheese”. For the less orthodox wine-lovers, a fruity white made from Vermentino grapes or a Limoux will be a perfect match. The cheese is exported to many countries – even to The Emirates – so for a taste of adventure, why not taste it with a white wine blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc made in Syria by the star winemaker from Bordeaux Stéphane Derenoncourt. I

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assignees in international h it w s as C N M An its employee erned about nc co e is iv n ct pa Ja radioa ks out about r the news brea Daiichi nuclea a m hi us uk F e th leaks from recent following the power plant Japan. d tsunami in earthquake an

Stranded in Lib ya

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© 2011 AEA International Holdings Pte. Ltd.

A South African ex ecutive and his fa mily had been living an d working in Libya for the past three an d a half years. He was shocked when ne ws came of violen ce against citizens. “T hat’s when I reali zed I had to get out an d get my family to safety,” he says. Hi s company is unab le to arrange for them a flight back hom e and he waits for the Go vernment to rescue him and his family .

News @ the Chamber T

he Chamber is very pleased to announce the launch of its new recruitment Service seeking to answer the needs of both our member companies and bilingual candidates (see page 72). Clubs and Forums have been very active in the last two months, led by some important meetings of the Quarterly Economic Update, chaired by Philippe Chalon, the Climate Change Forum, chaired by Richard Brown, and the HR forum under its new Chair Rose Gledhill. Meetings are invariably both content-rich and prospective. Those who attend find material that is both stimulating and geared to action. The economic element to the Chamber’s output is about to be increased with the launch of its Financial Forum (see page 80). During the Luxury Club breakfast on 29 February, a participant made an interesting point. He observed how London-centric the discussion was, when there are a host of markets outside London where luxury goods firms can and do penetrate. He asked what strategy a company should employ to reach the betteroff citizens in Leeds, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Birmingham and, perhaps, Bath. It is with this in mind, that the Chamber’s members with interests in Leeds visited the city on 8 March. The delegation, led by Mr Bernard Emié, French Ambassador to the UK, and the Chamber’s President Arnaud Vaissié, explored opportunities in Leeds which impressed them.

This visit, sponsored by Veolia Environnemental Services, will be reported in detail in our forthcoming issue. The Chamber has held some important events in the last two months. The first Patron event of the year, on January 26, was hosted by Citroën to show off its newly launched DS5 model. Charles Peugeot, the UK sales director, addressed the meeting, giving a remarkable insight into the successful features of the Citroën brand. Jean-Dominique Mallet, CEO of Veolia Environmental Services addressed a CEO breakfast on 1 February. He gave his perceptions of the UK waste industry, which he said had overtaken France in the quality of recycling. Moving on to March 1, we recall the full house that testified to the resounding success of the event, sponsored by Cinemoi, where we held the UK premiere of Bel Ami, in the presence of both Directors and TV presenter Jonathan Ross. Looking forward into our calendar, we see one further foray into the provinces. This is the Patron members’ visit to Waddesdon Manor on July 6, sponsored by the Rothschild foundation. Finally, we welcome as new Patron members, FINCA, the global microfinance organisation, and Oltec, the facilities management global provider. We also greet as corporate members, Lafarge and Laurent Perrier as well as 22 new active members. Welcome! I

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new members 2 New patron members:

Finca UK represented by Anne-France

Kennedy, Development Manager Finca UK |

Finca is a leading international microfinance organisation that provides financial services to the world’s lowest income entrepreneurs helping them to create jobs, build assets and improve their standard of living. Finca operates a distinctive integrated business model that accepts donations and investments. Finca UK is a registered charity which mission is to raise funds for Finca 21 operating companies. Finca’s outreach with more than 900 000 clients is amongst the broadest and most comprehensive of today’s microfinance networks.

Oltec Group Facilities Management: Welcome back! represented by Olivier Cavalière, Chairman | Only three years ago, Oltec Group was primarely a Security company. Oltec Group FM is now a fully integrated facilities Management company and operate throughout the UK and Ireland, with offices in London, Manchester and Dublin. Our services include Manned Guarding, Cleaning & Hygiene, Planned and Reactive Maintenance, Catering, Pest Control, Confidential Waste, IT Recycling , Window Cleaning and Ground Maintenance. We operate across sectors of industry and have enjoyed recent success by securing Facilities Management contracts with Britvic Drinks UK, Bombardier and CBRE Property Management. We pride ourselves in providing a versatile and quality service ensuring at all times that we deliver first class standards of customer service. Our London Offices based in the financial sector of the City of London allow us to respond quickly to our customers immediate needs ensuring a prompt and sophisticated response is provided.

2 New Corporate members:

Lafarge Cement UK Ltd | Lafarge is the world leader in building materials, with top-ranking positions in all of its businesses: Cement, Aggregates & Concrete and Gypsum. With 76,000 employees in 78 countries, Lafarge posted sales of € 16.2 billion in 2010. Lafarge was ranked 6th in the “Carbon Disclosure Project” and entered the global “Dow Jones Sustainability Index” in 2010 in recognition of its sustainable development actions. With the world’s leading building materials research facility, Lafarge places innovation at the heart of its priorities, working for sustainable construction and architectural creativity.

Laurent-Perrier UK Ltd | Founded in 1812 and still family owned, Laurent-Perrier is recognised as one of the finest of champagne houses and is the third largest champagne brand by value. Laurent-Perrier UK Ltd is responsible for the importation and distribution of the group’s champagnes to all sectors of the UK licensed trade. Represented by David Hesketh, Managing Director

22 new Active members: C2EI


EFG Private Bank

Manufacturing transformer

Manufacture of telephone intercom

Finance & Banking

Represented by Caroline Freyssinet, UK Sales and Marketing Manager

Represented by Anthony Plasse, UK Director

Represented by Brigitte Reech, Director Private Banking

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new members

Eric Salmon & Partners

Maîtres Laitiers du Cotentin

Represented by Sue Harris, Managing Director

Represented by Benjamin Roulland, Key account manager

Represented by Bertrand Kuhn, UK Business Developer

Mérieux Developpement

Serb Labo

Represented by Gerard Tardy, Director

Represented by Elisabeth de Almeida, Sales Director

Modeste Dagbo Avocat à la Cour

Solways Printers

Represented by Modeste Dagbo, Lawyer

Represented by Tim Solway, Director

Posson Packaging

Voulez-vous parler Ltd

Executive search firm


Event agency

Represented by Bruno Billière, Managing Director

FDM Group International IT Services Provider

Represented by Yves Laffont, Account Manager

Flute Bar

Lounge Bar

Represented by Yann Mabille, Director


Veterinary Products

Represented by Willy Giraud, Export Manager

Headland Consultancy Corporate Communication/ Financial PR

Represented by Chris Salt, Partner



Represented by Francisco Berlanga, Managing Director


Dairy products

Supplier of site construction

Pharmaceutical company

Healthcare Investment Company

Real Estate Law



Represented by Sylvie Casenave-Péré, CEO Luxury catering

Media & Publishing

Represented by Antoine de Navacelle, UK Representative

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INFO Magazine: next issue focusses on Luxury ||| The luxury sector is the topic of the Focus in the next issue. This sector has seen an extraordinary surge in recent years. But what has been the trigger for such a boom, what sectors have seen greatest growth and how long can it last? INFO will examine the growth of luxury businesses in the BRIC countries, as well as the impact of the newly enriched consumer from BRIC countries, especially China, in the UK. We will also look at the growth of the luxury fashion business. I If you wish to contribute please contact Hannah Medioni on +44 (0) 2070926648 or at

Worldwide and local removals, relocations & storage. Serving the French community in London for over 30 years. +44 20 8687 0400

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the chamber

Launch of:

Welcome to 2 new staff:

A Recruitment Service

Véronique Revington, Head of Recruitment

||| The French Chamber of Commerce has recently launched a Recruitment Service dedicated to its members. Soon, companies will be able to browse and review a database of outstanding candidates and post their own job vacancies. For more information please go to You will find an interview with the Head of Recruitment on the following page. I

Service and HR Manager Véronique Revington has recently joined our team to set up and launch a Recruitment Service dedicated to Chamber members. Véronique has nearly 20 years experience in HR and recruitment. She graduated from Sciences Po Paris in 1991, and went on to postgraduates studies in sociology of organisations. After 2 years in HR consultancy, she joined a regional council in France to become their internal management consultant and from 2002, Head of HR. I

A Finance Forum ||| The Chamber is proud to announce the launch of its Finance Forum on 3 May. This new Forum, cochaired by Patrick Gougeon, UK Director of ESCP Europe and John Peachey, Managing Director at the Financial Solutions Group, Global Capital Financing at HSBC, will focus on the impact of the credit crunch on financing the Economy. You will find more details on page 80. I

An Olympic Section in INFO

Sophie-Hermine Bertrand joined the Chamber as Head of Membership in March 2012. As part of her responsibilities, she will also look after the Patron accounts. She started her career in 1994 at General Electrics Medical Systems in Paris and has been based in the UK since 1997. She has worked for KPMG both in Paris and London where she acted in an auditing and consulting capability for international corporate clients. Before joining the Chamber, Sophie was a key member of the Association des Parents du Lycée («APL») where she led a number of projects including the proposed pedestrianisation of the access area of Lycée Charles de Gaulle in London. Sophie graduated from ESCP and holds the French Accounting Qualifications (DECF/DESCF). I

© locog

New Sponsorship Opportunities

||| The Olympic countdown has officially begun at the Publications Department with the launch of a new Olympic section of INFO magazine (see page 21). As London prepares for the biggest event in years, we will keep you up to date with some important insights into the Games. I

Our M2M Offers Book ||| The 2012 Member to Member offers booklet will be launched at the M2M Exhibition and Cocktail that will take place on 4 April at the Royal Garden Hotel. This year’s booklet features no less than 87 offers from Chamber members to their fellow members. We thank them for their generosity. The booklet will also be available on I

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||| The Chamber has some new sponsorship opportunities on offer in 2012. By sponsoring a Chamber event, companies will have a unique opportunity to promote their services and activities to members and guests of the French Chamber of Commerce. Sponsorships can be established in a variety of ways and adapted to different budgets and marketing needs. For more details, please contact Cécilia Gonzalez at +44 (0) 20 7092 6641. I

Paris Workshop for Entrepreneurs ||| Early this month, the Chamber’s Business Support Department was invited by Ubifrance to run a workshop in Paris on “How to do business in the UK in 2012”. Florence Gomez, Managing Director of the Chamber, and Irène Engelhardt-Régnier, Business Support Coordinator, led the round-table conference with Chamber members C de C by Cordelia de Castellane and Little Fashion Gallery, followed by one-to-one sessions with French entrepreneurs interested in the UK market. I


the chamber

r e c r u i t m e n t s e rv i c e l a u n c h

Chamber’s unique recruitment service The Chamber is launching a recruitment service dedicated to its members and focussing on key values such as diversity or social responsibility. Our goal is to help our member companies recruit talents or flexible employees. Here, Véronique Revington, Head of the Chamber’s Recruitment Service and HR manager, talks about what the service offers

||| Could you describe who the service is aimed at supporting and how it works?

This service will help member companies recruit bilingual staff at all levels. We provide innovative recruitment packages for companies ranging from the largest to the smallest. The service is distinctive because it is driven by corporate social responsibility. How is the Chamber so well positioned to provide this service?

The Chamber is very close to its members in the UK, as well as companies in France planning to set up a branch in this country. We know these companies very well and we expect this service will help them expand. In addition, the Chamber has very close links with schools and academic institutions in both France and the UK, so we can provide companies with a wide pool of candidates from which they can select. Could you be more specific about your social philosophy?

First of all, we promote diversity, as shown by our support for “spouse returners”; secondly, we support companies seeking to develop a multicultural

approach to recruitment; thirdly, we are personoriented – creating jobs around people and their projects, rather than the other way round. Corporate social responsibility practices and values are a very important part of our service. What makes this service so unique?

In difficult times, companies may not want other fulltime employees on their payroll. So we enable them to promote a skills-centered approach and create parttime jobs, work-from-home and fixed-term contracts. Could you tell us more about your “spouse mission”?

We support the spouses of French people working in Britain who are looking for work. To assist them, we promote new forms of working practices including part-time work, working from home and short-term fixed-term contracts. There are tens of thousands of spouses and many are very well qualified and eager to take on jobs. Why should candidates approach you to find a job?

We are committed to providing support to candidates. We plan to give them advice at every stage of their job search, from writing their CVs and practising interviewing techniques, to looking for jobs, and ultimately obtaining and changing jobs. We will stay close to them. How would you describe your pricing policy?

We will keep our prices very competitive, well below market rates. For spouses seeking to return to the job market, we will ask for just £400 for a full advisory service. We will hold workshops to assist these spouses for a nominal charge. I Véronique Revington

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recent event c i t r o ë n pat r o n e v e n t - 26 j a n u a ry

Citroën: A brand on the move with the launch of the new DS5 The Chamber was extremely proud that the first Patron event of the year was sponsored by Citroën, and to give its patron members the opportunity to discover the new jewel in the Citroën collection ||| Citroën, one of the great French brands with global appeal that has been present in the UK since 1926, has chosen the Chamber to launch its DS5. The relationship has existed between Citroën and the Chamber since Citroën became a patron member 42 years ago! The star of the event was the DS5, a vehicle which has only recently rolled off the production line and which is just another example of Citroën amazingly creative technology. It is not only beautifully designed, it is also the first Citroën production to feature full Hybrid Diesel technology combining strong performance with extremely low CO2 emissions. This car shall undoubtedly follow the steps of its older sisters, the very first DS, back in 1955, which in its time revolutionised the automobile world, or much more

Linda Jackson, Jean-Christophe Novelli , Florence Gomez and the DS5

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recently the DS3, which won the Top Gear magazine Car of the Year in 2010. Chamber patrons were privileged to be hosted by Linda Jackson, Citroën UK managing director and Charles Peugeot, sales director. We were also delighted to welcome the DS5’s designer Andrew Cowell. The event was opened by Florence Gomez, the Chamber’s managing director, who welcomed guests to this unique event and thanked Citroën for sponsoring it, particularly Linda Jackson and Charles Peugeot; JeanChristophe Novelli, the noted Chef for his original and stylish canapés; as well as Gabrielle Ducomble and her band for contributing to a most friendly atmosphere. She then left the floor to Charles Peugeot. An engineer with two masters degrees in mechanics and in internal combustion engines, Charles oversees the sales performance of a network of 180 dealers in the UK. Citroën UK sold over 85,000 vehicles in 2011, with a turnover of over £1 billion. The Citroën DS3 was 2011’s biggest success, with Citroën UK selling almost 12,000 units. Both the DS4 and the DS5 have won plaudits. In his address, Charles Peugeot said Citroën was a ‘brand on the move’ and ‘a most exciting concept that gave birth to award-winning vehicles’. ‘We have one of the most comprehensive and versatile ranges available in the market today, from electric solutions such as Czero, the new C1 city cars emitting less than 99g of CO2/ km, the award winning premium line DS with DS3, 4 and 5 and people carriers such as Picassos, and LCV’. Charles Peugeot then described the promise of an outstanding customer experience. ‘At Citroën we have a project named “La Passion du client” and we mean it! We are extremely ambitious with regards to customer satisfaction and put all our focus, attention and means to ensure we deliver.’ Guests then saw a video of the new vehicle followed by a privileged insight into its design given by Andrew Cowell. Jean-Christophe Novelli’s wonderful canapés were served during the networking. I NK

recent event c e o b r e a k f a s t - 1 f e b r u a ry

CEO Breakfast with Jean-Dominique Mallet Jean-Dominique Mallet, CEO of Veolia Environmental Services (UK) spoke to a capacity audience of Chamber members at the CEO Breakfast on Wednesday, 1 February ||| Introducing him, CCFGB deputy president Peter Alfandary noted the old adage, “One man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure” – a theme Mallet expanded on to great effect. With an industry worth £13bn annually in the UK alone, explained the VES CEO, rubbish is ‘a valuable and precious resource, something I am very passionate about’, and pivotal to sustainable development in Britain. Water, at 35 percent, constitutes the largest sector in the company’s global empire, followed by waste, energy and transport. In the UK, however, waste is the flagship of the firm’s enterprise, with Veolia generating nearly £2bn annually, explained Mallet. It has some 17,000 staff – 12,000 in his environmental division alone – making it possibly the largest single French employer on British soil. Most impressively, asserted Mallet, VES may be the only UK-based firm to report zero percent carbon emissions. Biomethane from traditional British landfills is ‘not very good for the planet’,

Jean-Dominique Mallet addresses a captive audience

he admitted. So Veolia is moving towards more environmentally and economically productive modes – a trend helped by British landfill taxes that have leapt from £7 per tonne in 1996/7 to £56 now, and a projected £80 by 2014. The firm employs fully 313,000 staff and ranks number one in the world for waste management, with 43m tonnes collected, 63m tonnes treated at 864 units globally, of which nearly a quarter, 13m tonnes, is recycled. Plus Veolia sells 8.4m MWh of energy. Mr Mallet said that 3.3m tonnes are collected annually in Britain together with 100 local authorities, and 20 sorting facilities treat 6.4m tonnes of waste. Another seven units operate as biological treatment centres, producing compost. Britain, he revealed, recently overtook France as a “champion of recycling” and costs are cheaper here too. Meanwhile, Veolia’s Waste to Energy programme exports 1.2m MWh of electricity to the British national grid – enough to supply 1.5 million users – and its underground hazardous waste storage facility is the only one of its kind in the UK. Following recent acquisitions, Veolia is now Britain’s leading concern with 12 percent of the highly competitive waste management sector by revenue. Since 2007 VES has grown every year, largely through PFI initiatives. London accounts for a third of Veolia’s activity, including one plant just 600 yards from Whitehall. Otherwise, the firm is well distributed throughout the middle of the UK. The next battle, Mallet joked, was to take on their competitors around the seaside! Every year Veolia invests some £250m in Britain, he said, as the nation tries to close the infrastructure “capacity gap”. I LRJ

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recent event c i n é m o i pat r o n e v e n t - 1

m a rc h

Exclusive Film Preview of Bel Ami, courtesy of Cinémoi Over 70 Patron members attended the exclusive Cinémoi film preview of Bel Ami on 1st March, a week before its official launch. The event was hosted by TV presenter Jonathan Ross in the presence of Both Directors Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod ||| The guest speaker of the evening was film aficionado and Cinémoi ambassador and share holder, Jonathan Ross, who introduced the film with his usual upbeat banter. The event was supported by Studio Canal and and the Champagne was provided by Pernod-Ricard. After the sumptuous champagne reception, Jonathan Ross opened the evening by introducing the Chamber’s Managing Director, Florence Gomez. She addressed an expectant audience composed of Patrons, sponsors and the Directors of the film – Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod. Bel Ami is Donnellan and Ormerod’s first feature film together and has been eagerly awaited by the film community. The film is based on the racy and, eerily contemporary novel by Guy de Maupassant, which is based on the politics of power and the role of the media. Robert Pattinson plays the part of the moody, broody and ever ambitious media mogul, Bel Ami, who will do anything to get to ‘the top’. His co-stars, Christina Ricci, Kristin Scott-Thomas and Uma Thurman successfully convey the allure and magnetism of power, and add a glamorous and charming dimension to the drama of the story and demise of the protagonist. The film directors then spoke about their influences and concepts behind the film and enjoyed some classic Jonathan Ross questioning. Julien Planté, Cinémoi’s Head Programmer gave a heartfelt and un-scripted speech about the importance of Cinémoi as a platform for French and World cinema in the UK and his gratitude to all of those “who have been part of the Cinémoi story so far, and will be part of the story in the future.” Cinémoi was founded in February 2009 and since then it signed a partnership with Renault (an introduction facilitated by the Chamber) to cover the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. Cinémoi has won two Chamber’s awards: the Intercultural Trophy for Business Excellence in 2009 and the Franco British Business Awards Coup de Coeur in December last year. Cinémoi was the first and only independent French

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L to R: Florence Gomez, Nick Ormerod, Jonathan Ross, Claudia Rosencrantz, Julien Planté, Declan Donnellan and Oliver Bengough

film channel to be aired in the UK and will soon relaunch as a free to air world cinema channel, accessible to all. Cinémoi’s Founder and Managing Director, Oliver Bengough, has seduced movie stars and key film industry players such as Studio Canal, the British Film Institute and La Cinématèque Française. He also knows how to attract talents and recently brought onboard a key player to the Cinémoi team, Claudia Rosencrantz, Managing Director and board member. Before joining Cinémoi, Claudia was the controller of entertainment for ITV for over 10 years and was responsible for commissioning some of ITV’s biggest hits (X factor, I’m a celebrity, hell’s kitchen and many more) and changing the landscape of entertainment programming in the UK. The evening ended with a sense of excited anticipation and a great buzz for the new launch of Cinémoi as a world film channel, alongside the release of the feature film Bel Ami. In the words of Jonathan Ross, “the reason that we’ve all come here tonight, is because we all love films – we love French cinema and world cinema” and indeed, there was a shared pride and honour in being part of such a momentous and typically stylish Chamber event. I Freya El Baz




r e c e n t q u a r t e r ly e c o n o m i c u p d at e

- 21

f e b r u a ry

UK Economy: The long haul back The first signs of recovery from recession are appearing. But as HSBC’s Senior Economist told the Chamber’s Quarterly Economic Update, there is a long way to go

© flickr/saikofish

||| Mark S Berrisford-Smith was in a more bullish mood than for quite some time when, invited by Philippe Chalon 1, he addressed some 50 guests at the Quarterly Economic Update on 21 February. The Greek deal had just been signed, UK purchasing managers were showing themselves more buoyant about their prospects, there was a likelihood that figures for UK growth in the last quarter would be revised up from 0.3% and bond yields on ten year Italian and Spanish bonds were coming down. Things in the economics world were, in short, starting to look rosier. But like all economists, he cautioned against excessive optimism. The crisis was far from over and a recovery (to the previous economic peak obtained in 2007) would take some six years to be achieved. He quoted Winston Churchill: ‘Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.’ The struggling developed economies would only recover by embracing policies for growth. Growth, in turn, would only be triggered by companies dipping into their massive accumulated cash piles, and investing in their productive activities. Mr Berrisford-Smith said process was being hampered, not by lack of funds, but by lack of confidence. The longer companies stall on

European Central Bank

investment, the longer economies will stagnate, the longer unemployment will remain so high. On the level of sovereign borrowing, the worst was over for the periphery Eurozone countries of the Mediterranean. Their debt was more short-term than that of the developed countries, so they had to renew it more frequently, but at least interest rates had fallen from danger levels of 7 percent (reached at the end of last year) to much more manageable 4 percent levels. The Greek situation remains a challenge to the larger Eurozone – even the detailed facts about its real economic situation are muddled by inadequate statistics – and there is no certainty that a further bail-out may not be needed. But the deal reached on the night of 20/21 February ‘buys time’, said Mr Berrisford-Smith. He described the refinancing of the various funds used to rescue Greece as large enough to satisfy the financial markets with bailout funds amounting to over €2tn. The banking sector gives less cause for concern than it has done, as distressed banks have been given access to cheap and longer term sources of capital by the European Central Bank. ‘No European Bank should fall over in the next three years,’ he said with confidence. Two issues could yet spoil the joy of the party that is beginning to build around European recovery. First, markets look on with trepidation at the economic reconstruction needed if Italy is to raise its growth levels to those where it can tackle its debt mountain. Second, the prospects for the United States in the wake of its forthcoming November presidential election are clouded by the size of its own unsustainable deficit. The country’s growth rates have proved a motor of support for Europe during the Eurozone crisis, but these may not be sustainable if it starts its own austerity programme. We have reason to be fearful of what will appear in the new Presidential term, whoever occupies the White House. I NK 1 Philippe Chalon is the Managing Director of Cercle d’Outre-Manche and Director of External Affairs at International SOS. He chairs the Chamber’s Quarterly Economic Updates

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forums r e c e n t l u x u ry c l u b


clubs b r e a k f a s t - 29

f e b r u a ry

Britain’s brand builders gain strength from tradition luxury club members attended the recent breakfast hosted at the connaught with guest speakers John Ayton, Stephen Etheridge and Lucia van der Post. All agreed on the dynamism of the British luxury sector ||| British luxury brands are not the biggest but they have some consistent and very strong values, and they are expanding globally. That was the message of the Luxury Club breakfast, held on February 29 2012, at the Connaught. The breakfast was attended by some 50 leaders in the field of luxury brands, and they came to hear contributions on the theme of “Quintessentially British, Luxury from a local perspective”. There was no shortage of ideas, of colourful stories and of observations about the booming state of the sector. The breakfast was introduced by Thierry Outin, Managing Director of Hermès GB and Chairman of the Luxury Club. He expressed his gratitude to our guest of honour, Lucia van der Post, Associate Editor of The Financial Times How To Spend It Magazine, and our guest speakers, John Ayton, Chairman of Annoushka and Bremont Watch Company, Director of Walpole, Chairman of Walpole Brands of Tomorrow, and Stephen Etheridge, Group Chief Executive at Church & Co. He also acknowledged Julia Carrick, Chief Executive of Walpole and Founder and Publisher of How To Spend It Magazine. John Ayton was the first to take the floor, explaining how he embarked on an accidental career in the luxury sector by founding Links of London. The business, managed in conjunction with his wife Annoushka Ducas, achieved considerable market share in the UK – a necessary prerequisite, said its founder, for a global presence. On selling Links of London, John Ayton moved into the watch manufacturing sector with the launch of the Bremont brand. He said the watches were made in Switzerland but the business is bringing back watch-making to the UK with the launch of an academy; in due course the entire Bremont watch range will be made in the UK, bringing back a savoir faire long forgotten in the country. Some of the same points were made by Stephen Etheridge, Group Chief Executive of Church bought by Prada in 1999. Mr Etheridge referred to Britain’s reputation

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L to R: Florence Gomez, Stephen Etheridge, Thierry Outin, Lucia van der Post, Nathalie Seiler-Hayez and John Ayton

for ‘authenticity’ and ‘technical expertise.’ Many of the high net worth visitors to Britain come on a ‘pilgrimage to authenticity’, he said. ‘We don’t do the frothy bit.’ Church responds to the challenge of cost-cutters in today’s market (a recurrent problem for high-priced producers) by adding value rather than discounting. Britain’s scepticism of high-profile names and showy brands was described at some length by guest of honour, Lucia van der Post. ‘There is an instinctive aversion to anything showy. The British like under-stated things.’ However, she said ‘a new generation of young people have made money and they are more receptive to the appeal of famous brands. This is a changing market.’ She also added that we have recently witnessed the emergence of a dynamic and inspired generation of entrepreneurs. Some guests spoke of Britain’s great capacity to build brands, both for the luxury and more mass market consumers. This wide-ranging and stimulating event was rounded off by Thierry Outin who thanked the speakers, the Managing Director of the Connaught, Nathalie Seiler-Hayez, for hosting the sumptuous breakfast, as well as all the participants and the Chamber’s team. I NK




i n t e rv i e w w i t h r o s e g l e d h i l l , c h a i r o f t h e h r f o r u m

New Chair brings informal touch to HR Forum Rose Gledhill was appointed Chair of the Human Resources Forum in October last year. She is the Northern Europe head of HR for International SOS and a leading practitioner in the HR sector. She brings a fresh and focused view to her position

||| The HR Forum has great value as a place for networking among colleagues of like expertise and professional history, says Rose Gledhill, an attendant at Forum meetings for some years. ‘I see the Forum as a networking environment. It is excellent to hear other people talking, to hear about the challenges in their company, or to hear from lawyers who give you a quick update. People have to enjoy coming – otherwise they would not come. That is number one. Secondly, they do ask: what is in it for me? For attendees, it has to be that they meet new people, hear about other organisations facing similar challenges – and with an Anglo-French angle.’ Rose Gledhill believes in a pragmatic approach to managing people and meetings. She says that the information that people receive and absorb at the Forum meetings should be concise and suited in both form and content to their needs. ‘I like things to be short, succinct, practical, with a bit of a sense of humour. That kind of tone is what I am looking for. Groups attending Forum meetings should be smaller rather than larger, amounting to some twenty dedicated professionals from the HR sector. If it’s more, it loses its focus.’ In terms of her plans for future activities, Rose draws attention to some of the very topical and important meetings planned, on subjects like social networks impact on recruitment, talent management, legal issues, diversity, etc. She also has plans for a publication, whose format could be based on Light at the End of the Tunnel, the booklet published by the Cross-Cultural Relations Forum. She pays tribute to the readability and succinctness of that document and believes the HR Forum, in due course, will release a comparable one. She says her personal management style is ‘very collaborative’. She will look to members of the Forum

Rose Gledhill

to recommend speakers and projects, on the basis that the more they participate, the more they will contribute and enjoy sessions. Rose Gledhill has had a diverse career in human resources, initially working in HR for a firm of accountants, before proceeding to the legal information providers, LexisNexis. She joined International SOS in 2008, as Head of HR. She has great respect for its founder, Arnaud Vaissié, who is also the President of the French Chamber, as well as for the organisation’s culture. ‘The medical side of the business is right up there at the top. That is one of the best things about our company. Our buzzwords are “collaboration”, “medically driven” and “cross-border”.’ The HR Forum can look forward to a relaxed but confident leadership style from a woman who is professionally trained to manage people and meetings. I NK

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forums finance forum


clubs l aunch - 3

m ay

Chamber opens new Finance Forum A Finance Forum is set to be launched as an important new addition to the Chamber’s portfolio of forums and clubs. Its first meeting is scheduled for 3 May 2012


he Forum will be chaired by two experts in the financial arena, Patrick Gougeon, UK Director of ESCP Europe and former finance teacher, and John Peachey, Managing Director at the Financial Solutions Group, Global Capital Financing at HSBC. The 2012 meetings, which will be held quarterly, will focus on the theme of “the impact of the credit crunch on financing the economy”. Different topics to be discussed under this umbrella will be: the unintended consequences of the regulations, mid-caps and corporate financing, infrastructure financing, etc... In addition to members representing the financial community and Franco-British blue chip companies, the Chamber will seek to involve a leading European financial regulator and some SMEs in the planning of the Forum’s meetings. The Forum will also have the assistance of students from ESCP Europe, who will be charged with preparing presentations providing starting points for subsequent discussion. They will also produce detailed and documented reports following each session which will later be brought together and published at the end of each calendar year for the use of other Chamber members and broader public. INFO asked the two co-chairs

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Patrick Gougeon

John Peachey

about their expectations of the new Forum. Patrick Gougeon commented: ‘As a leading business school in Europe we ought to be at the cutting edge of research in all areas where decision makers need to anticipate and imagine scenarios for the future when ambiguity and uncertainty dominate. Few would reject the assertion that CFOs and bank executives are in this situation. Therefore, ESCP Europe see the Finance Forum as a great opportunity for capturing the true dimension of the financial challenge companies and financial institutions are facing to limit the impact of the credit crunch, and at the same time adding new ideas to the debate. This initiative will indeed also bring a lot to the selected ESCP Europe students involved in it.’ John Peachey said: ‘I think that this is an important initiative that has been arranged by the French Chamber of Commerce, especially in the current environment. It creates a forum where a number of topical issues can be debated amongst a group of key stakeholders. I hope that out of these discussions we can develop some practical solutions that benefit all.’ Information about the Forum’s meetings and conclusions will be carried regularly in INFO magazine and on the Chamber’s website. I




c l i m at e c h a n g e f o r u m s u rv e y

Seeking your opinion on Climate Change B

usinesses do much more to tackle climate change than usually acknowledged. In response to the growing importance of the issue, the French Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain established a year ago the Climate Change Forum as the foremost business forum on climate change in the UK and France. The Forum gathers more than twenty prestigious companies such as Alstom, Renault, Veolia and EDF, under the chairmanship of Richard Brown, Chairman of Eurostar International. It aims at exchanging best practices and proposing concrete legislative and business solutions on this key issue on both sides of the channel. In order to devise informed policy strategies and affirm its thought leadership, the Forum will be asking Chamber members this month to complete a six-minute anonymous online survey on perceptions of climate change. The survey seeks to understand individual views on climate change and climate change policy initiatives. It also seeks information on how businesses have dealt with the issue in practice and policy. It is expected that the survey will provide the Forum with

a better understanding of the concerns and interests of the business community and Chamber members. The questionnaire will also collect suggestions and feedback on how the Climate Change could be of assistance to all Members of the Chamber. Richard Brown, Chairman of the Forum said: ‘For the first time, the 600 members of the Chamber, in their great diversity, will be surveyed on this issue. Businesses play a critical role in the fight against climate change, and are often way ahead of legislation. We would like to know more about this from the very people who run and work in these businesses, from SMEs to multinationals. What is the nature of their climate change commitment? Do they see it as a business opportunity or a barrier to growth? This anonymous survey will help us understand this much better and contribute to strengthen the position of the Forum as a legitimate, credible and leading voice on climate change.’ I You can find more information about the survey and the Climate Change Forum on www.

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

4th April 2012: “Member to Member Cocktail & Exhibition” 18.00 - 21.00 at The Royal Garden Hotel £40 + VAT ||| The Member to Member Cocktail & Exhibition (M2M), one of the Chamber’s most anticipated yearly events, gives companies the opportunity to promote their products and/or services to other key players from the Franco-British business community. It also provides extensive networking opportunities with around 200 professionals from various sectors. The 2012 edition will gather 20 exhibitors including: AGS Four Winds International Movers, Annick Goutal, Artelia UK, BMM Connection Limited, Bourner Bullock, Business Solutions Disneyland® Paris, Centre d’Echanges Internationaux/Centre Charles Péguy, Citroën UK Ltd, Coles Trading Limited, Delahaye Moving Ltd, Fondation BELEM - FairPlay Conseil,

French Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain, L’atelier des Chefs, La Cave à Fromage, MIC Hotel & Conference Centre, Moving Home Company, Peugeot, Voulez-vous parler, Web Consulting Team and Wine Story Ltd. We look forward to discovering their products and to welcoming you to this increasingly popular event. On your arrival, you will be given a PowerVote device to take part in our quiz. We recommend you visit all the stands to get information that will help you answer the questions. Prizes include a 2 night weekend stay inclusive of breakfast for 2, offered by the Landmark London, 2 return flights to the destination of your choice, offered by Cityjet, 1 bottle of Luxor, the jewellery to drink, offered by BMM Connection, and many more.

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

19th April 2012: Discover your fellow members - Flûte London 18.30 – 20.30 - Cocktail kindly hosted at Flûte London £35 + vat ||| Located steps away from Oxford Circus, Flûte London is a chic but comfortable Champagnecentric lounge boasting a menu of 100 Champagnes, with 23 offered by the glass (most extensive list worldwide) as well as sparkling cocktails, a full bar and an extensive menu of cuisine de bar, created to be paired with Champagne and cocktails. With two

existing venues located in the heart of Manhattan and one in Paris, Flûte is the first international Lounge & Champagne Bar network worldwide. A family run business: Flute London has been opened by Yann Mabille, an ESCP Europe alumni and his family. Come and enjoy this Champagne experience with a selection of canapés designed to tickle your taste buds!

15th May 2012: Learn & Network event The French Chamber is launching this new type of event which will allow you to “Learn” on a specific topic and “network” with like-minded professionals. Theme: “Retirement savings and transfers of UK pension funds to France” 18.00 – 21.00 at the Radisson Blu Portman & sponsored by Fern Hill SARL - The Partnership £35 +vat ||| Fern Hill SARL – The Partnership is a wealth management company that specialises in international financial advice to expatriates and internationally mobile people. In 2006 the “Pensions Act 2004” and the “Finance Act 2004” legislations came into force. HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and

Customs) allows the transfer of UK pension benefits to France under certain conditions, which provides many benefits to pensioners and future pensioners. Attend this new kind of event for more information on these pension issues and to make your return to France a success!

30th May 2012: Ligne Roset - Exclusive Private Sale 18.30 – 20.30 at Ligne Roset’s Westend showroom £45 + vat Guests will receive a fantastic 25% discount on all purchases of Ligne Roset furniture and accessories ||| Indulge in champagne and canapés, whilst you browse the latest indoor/outdoor collection along with other new designs and the existing range, and network with up to 100 guests from a variety of industry sectors giving

you the opportunity to make new business connections and business leads in a relaxed environment. The ticket price of £45+VAT will be redeemable at the event on orders of Ligne Roset products above £1,000.

23rd October 2012: save the date of our ANNUAL GALA DINNER ||| We are pleased to announce that Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, has accepted to be the guest of honour and speaker at our next Annual Gala Dinner. Sir Martin Sorrell founded WPP, the world’s largest advertising and marketing services group in 1985 and has been Chief Executive throughout.WPP companies, which include some of the most eminent agencies in the business, provide clients with advertising, media investment management, consumer insight, public relations and public affairs, branding and identity,

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healthcare communications, direct, interactive and internet marketing, and specialist communications services. Collectively, WPP employs over 158,000 people (including associates) in over 2,500 offices in 107 countries. The Annual Gala dinner is the premier black tie dinner and most prestigious event of the Chamber, featuring a Champagne reception, live entertainment and a tombola with amazing prizes. Each year, the event is attended by 350 to 400 senior executives of the Franco British business community.

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HR & Diversity  

INFO is the official publication of the French Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain.

HR & Diversity  

INFO is the official publication of the French Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain.