What was your impression of L’Oréal before you joined the group?
Actually I hadn’t even considered L’Oréal as an employer because I was a supply chain engineer. I imagined I would be working with girls who talk about mascara all day which wasn’t really my top choice, it seemed like there was a bit of a disconnect.
So what changed your mind?
An offer I couldn’t refuse: being the right hand man of the General Manager of Active Cosmetics for France was too big an opportunity to pass up. Since my aim is to one day become a General Manager myself, it was a great chance to work with people at that level, to understand them and see how I need to develop myself to reach my goal.
It was a multi-disciplinary mission incorporating aspects of logistics, marketing, sales and finance. The fact that it was so broad-ranging, combined with working in a relatively small division such as Active Cosmetics where there was real scope to make a difference made the role particularly enjoyable.
What do you know about the company now that you didn’t know then?
The main thing I have learned is that you work with a lot of talented people. It is the best school to learn about the business to develop your skills.
You started off in engineering school specializing in supply chain and now you’re in analytics at L’Oréal. How did that happen?
Well, I am now 30, so my career has had some time to evolve! After engineering school I wanted to learn more about business so I did a masters in marketing and sales. It was then that I joined L’Oréal as the right-hand man for the General Manager of Active Cosmetics in France. From this position, I moved to the Finance team in Paris, developing projects to facilitate the work of controllers with digital tools.
After that, I moved to the Consumer Products Division’s media team. It was a very new experience for me after Active Cosmetics and Finance. As L’Oréal is a big spender and a big advertiser, media is key to the Group’s strategy so my three years there were really beneficial, allowing me to develop skills such as how to produce better media plans.
Then, almost a year ago, I moved to the Digital team to work on performance management and analytics. My background has in fact been very useful because in analytics, it is important to be process-driven and structured. Supply chain is all about managing the flow of goods and information to ensure everything runs smoothly. The same goes for analytics: you have the data, what you need to do is manage flow process. When you add experience in media and in finance into the mix, you have a real ability to merge the technical part and the business part with the financial part and therefore really manage performance.
So prior knowledge of make-up is not a job requirement?
What have you learned about yourself since you’ve been here?
There are many things but the main thing is self-confidence because every day you are challenged by people, not to make you fail but to make you improve and go further. In the end, if you are not confident about yourself, you will fail because the pressure is too great. But if you can adapt to it, in the end you can achieve a great deal and there are a lot of people ready to help you achieve your objectives.
Can you tell us about what you are currently working on?
I am developing a digital dashboard, the aim of which is to measure our visibility in the digital world and link it with our expenditure to ensure that in the end all our actions are worth it. The idea is really to understand what we are doing today and to be sure that tomorrow we can have this learning curve and be able to spend the money where consumer is and be sure that we will get the return on our investment that we want.
What’s the main challenge you face?
I think the main one is the nature of digital. It is so fast-paced that when you have an idea maybe a month later you need to rethink it because it is a world in constant motion. So the big challenge to be sure that the decision you make now will be the right one two months down the line.
What would you say were the key character traits for success at L’Oréal?
I think there are two: the first one is to be persuasive because it’s important to push your idea forward and show that it’s the right direction to go in. The second one is to be a good networker because sometimes in big meetings people will challenge you and it can seem like you’ve failed but then by working and discussing with people in less formal settings you can push your idea forward in other ways and still find the support you need.
If you had to define L’Oréal in three words, what would they be?
Tough, powerful & beautiful