Two years ago, the Public Sector was faced with the Covid crisis which was as brutal as it was unforeseen. It was during this storm that certain individuals rose to the fore and earned the label of “public utility leader”.
Three main characteristics:
1. EXPERIENCED FIREFIGHTERS
One common characteristic: able to properly manage the Covid crisis.
They remained calm and rolled up their shirt sleeves.
They provided reassurance for the public authorities, whilst France’s economic and industrial fabric was being severely hit.
Nicolas Dufourcq (BPIFRANCE)
- dealt with the crisis with his bare hands: more than ever before, he managed his resources on all levels
- rapidly and efficiently became the State-guaranteed loans coordinator
- rolled out a cash air bridge in close cooperation with the banks
- provided support for, then boosted, the economic machine
Guillaume Faury (AIRBUS)
- took the right decisions in protecting AIRBUS’ industrial assets and expertise
- knew how to adjust production rhythms, both by decreasing and increasing them
- positioned himself as leader in his sector by rescuing the aeronautics sector, which was abruptly brought to a standstill, and by becoming guarantor for the subcontracting chain
- filled the order book and dominated competition; the gap between AIRBUS and BOEING widened during the Covid crisis
- achieved a record net profit, the highest in AIRBUS’ history, of €4.2 BN (compared to more than €1 BN in losses in 2020)
Augustin de Romanet (ADP)
- a public sector leader, yet has never turned to State-guaranteed loans
- a leader with no planes who urged for an unforeseen cost and salary reduction within ADP
2. TRANSFORMATION CHAMPIONS
One common characteristic: the strategic reinvention and turnaround of their companies.
They could have laid low and waited out the storm. On the contrary: they drove strategic change within their companies.
Catherine Guillouard (RATP)
- modernized her company which was under threat from competition in Île-de-France, the RATP’s long-standing perimeter
- injected it with the necessary agility to seek out new turnover and margin opportunities
Philippe Wahl (LA POSTE)
- boosted La Poste following the demise of conventional letters, its long-standing activity. La Poste was saved by two new profitability drivers: bank insurance parcel post
- made La Banque Postale a bank insurance leader by acquiring CNP Assurances with an excellent banker at the helm (Philippe Heim)
- developed its parcel branch at breakneck speed on a European level, a strategy proven necessary by Covid
3. TOMORROW’S CRAFTSMEN
One common characteristic: a future vision.
Right when we had been thrown into an unstable unknown, they were able to provide landmarks and horizons. They furthered the public debate by taking a forward-looking perspective of their sector.
Guillaume Faury (AIRBUS)
- set the energy transition ball rolling
- made dreams come true by laying the foundations for low-carbon aviation
Xavier Piechaczyk (RTE)
The RTE “Energy Pathways 2050” report:
- was a landmark and unanimous reference
- enabled the public authorities to urge for a nuclear program relaunch and loosen the grip on EDF in parallel
Jean-Bernard Lévy (EDF)
- tirelessly worked on upholding the nuclear debate, which finally resulted in a win
- was, through his resilience and determination, of great public utility in a debate that is nevertheless complex because it is extremely political and, therefore, far from being settled