André François-Poncet, Group CEO
Why have you decided to create a new position called Executive Vice President?
AFP. With the approval of the Supervisory Board, three Executive Vice Presidents were appointed last September: Jérôme Michiels, Josselin de Roquemaurel and Félicie Thion de la Chaume. Their role is to support David Darmon and me in our Executive Board decisions. Our increasingly complex environment makes it all the more important to cover all bases through discussion and collective decision-making. In addition, as part of our role of long-term shareholder, we promote a new generation of talented individuals who will guide the Wendel Group into the future.
What are your priorities for the coming months?
AFP. In 2020, we plan to pursue and intensify our efforts to step up value creation in our companies. Our investment teams and our Operating Partners support the companies in which we invest, with special emphasis on economic performance, sustainable development and digitalization.
Some of our companies have made considerable progress in corporate social responsibility (CSR). Stahl, for example, has made CSR an integral part of its strategy and has known for a long time that end customers want companies to be open and trustworthy. Trust is also central to the business model of Bureau Veritas, our largest asset and a company we have supported for 23 years.
We also plan to focus on the development of Crisis Prevention Institute, which we have recently acquired in the United States. We are also working very actively to develop Wendel Lab, a project headed by Stéphanie Besnier. Wendel Lab invests in funds specialized in innovative, fast-growing companies, with a preponderance in high tech so as to strengthen our presence in that ecosystem and create synergies for our investment activity and our portfolio companies.
We are also continuing to analyze new direct investments whose intrinsic characteristics must meet our requirements.
Credits: Henrike Stahl