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France has come a long way.


Our nation takes pride in its strategic public industrial flagships which:


  • Faced existential challenges (due to Covid – AIRBUS and AIR FRANCE-KLM, and loss of expertise – EDF); 
  • Faced a threat to their very survival, with aircraft grounded and plants halted due to stress corrosion.


In a context where reindustrialization is a national priority, the spotlight is on the leaders driving recovery: Luc Rémont (EDF), Guillaume Faury (AIRBUS) and Ben Smith (AIR FRANCE-KLM). 


In all three cases, they are:


  • Private sector industry leaders;
  • Subject matter experts;
  • Engineers who implement efficient industrial processes to increase productivity. 


In each case, their methodology and style set them apart. 


A proven method of leveraging industrial expertise to enhance:


  • Skills (EDF); 
  • Production rate (AIRBUS); 
  • Product range (AIR FRANCE-KLM) 

and strengthen all areas of the company. 


A style designed to:


  • Embrace long-term industrial perspectives;
  • Manage the supply chain to optimize production;
  • Mobilize their sector by providing strong support to subcontractors;
  • Foster high-quality labour relations;
  • Prioritize internal communication over public media exposure, because these leaders understand that industrial recovery cannot take place without social recovery. 


Their public statements are infrequent and discreet, reflecting their industrial sage-warrior mentality, and because media restraint is required, now more than ever. Rather than appearing on television or morning radio, their primary objective is to garner support and secure employee commitment. 


They hail from the private sector but act like senior civil servants, demonstrating exceptional agility. They adeptly switch between playing chess, to navigate complexity and maintain a long-term perspective, and table tennis, to swiftly respond to crises and seize opportunities.


Our national narrative is being written during this period of wartime economy, with discussions on military sovereignty taking precedence like never before. 


In this extremely tense geopolitical landscape, the symbolism is very strong: our defence industry leaders (Éric Trappier for DASSAULT AVIATION, Pierre-Éric Pommellet for NAVAL GROUP, and Patrice Caine for THALES) rank prominently in the 2024 Public Sphere study. In fact:


  • The Rafale has never been in higher demand worldwide;
  • Our Barracuda submarines are set for delivery to the Netherlands, and the Scorpene to Indonesia (a satisfying turnaround following the setback of the Australian submarine contract);
  • THALES is at the forefront of cybersecurity, especially after acquiring IMPERVA, a leading US player in the field. 


Therefore, our defence industry leaders are no longer solely reliant on government contracts. Instead, they are poised to win the battle of exports, a critical step towards ensuring their long-term viability and global competitiveness.


Champions of industrial recovery and national sovereignty, this winning formula defines a France that is regaining its strength. Thank you to our patriotic business leaders!