Current trends

The CAC 40 in battle dress

The year 2020 was particularly unstable and chaotic. There is nothing like the prospect of economic hardship, however, to single out the true Captains of Industry. The following three conditions are key:

1. Tactical manoeuvring.

The pandemic could very well have brought the CAC 40 to a halt. Quite the contrary, the market was rife with major manoeuvres: the FCA-PSA merger, ALSTOM’s acquisition of BOMBARDIER, LVMH’s buyout of TIFFANY, and VEOLIA’s takeover of SUEZ.

Agility comes with diversity: being able to see far ahead (telescope) and yet pay attention to detail (microscope). In the end, it is detail which matters.

2. Having a good nose for product.

Regardless of what they are known for: “the car guy”, the “grocer”, the “geek”, the “techie”, it is professionalism that counts. Those who are passionate about what they do will stay ahead of the pack: FAURY at AIRBUS, POUPART-LAFARGE at ALSTOM, TAVARES at STELLANTIS.

It is time for new faces. By 1 July 2021, nearly a third of CAC 40 executive management will be new compared with 2019:

  • 75% of new CEOs through internal mobility (ANDRIES at SAFRAN, BAZIN at SAINT-GOBAIN, HIERONIMUS at L’OREAL, ROUSSAT at BOUYGUES) and 100% will be business activity specialists if we account for the enlisting of outside skills (HUDSON at SANOFI, MACGREGOR at ENGIE and de MEO at RENAULT).
  • recruiting “parachutists” (no experience in the business and/or company) is on the way out.

3. Team-based leadership.

A new era is upon us: one of team players as opposed to egocentric bosses. Leaders need to embrace collective practices:

  • implement teamwork in a strong executive committee;
  • promote a dual-board system. In 2013, only 35% of CAC 40 companies used a dual-board system compared with 65% (26 out of 40) by 1 July 2021 (source Ethics & Boards);
  • foster mutual understanding with the board of directors;
  • know how to deal with an activist investment fund, if need be.

    Legal notice