Emmanuel Gavache is one of France’s leading executives, entrepreneurs and an Internet of Things (IoT) visionary. After a successful executive career at Renault Group, followed by an international consulting role at Capgemini, in 2014 Emmanuel co-founded and now leads Eridanis, a digital transformation consultancy specialising in Internet of Things (IoT) for industry, smart city technology and e-health.
We spoke to Emmanuel to explore the impact of CEDEP’s exclusive General Management Programme (GMP) on his long and dynamic career.
When you participated in CEDEP’s General Management Programme (GMP) back in 2001, where were you in your career?
When I started CEDEP’s GMP, my career was on a good trajectory. I was still young and on the path to becoming a director and board member at Renault Group. However, I still didn’t have enough management experience, so Renault offered me a place on CEDEP’s prestigious GMP programme. It was an honour to be asked to participate in one of the world’s greatest executive education programmes.
I met several young people on the programme who were in the same position as me – too young to be at director level but too high potential to stay 100% motivated. So attending the GMP was ideal for us at this stage in our careers to boost engagement with our respective companies.
What were your first impressions of the programme?
My first impressions were fantastic. I quickly realised I was on the programme with other like-minded peers from companies like Bristol Myers Squibb and Danone, facing similar managerial challenges. I also discovered that the GMP was run at the time by some great professors from the world’s top business school. Even though I already had a strong engineering education, I had never experienced this type of programme that explored the highest levels of sociology and human behaviour.
What was the immediate impact of the GMP on you and your career?
The GMP was incredible and impacted me in ways I never expected. Firstly, one of our professors discussed with us how all humans have the capacity to be innovative and inspired me so strongly that since that day, I’ve never stopped learning, reading books, participating in conferences, sharing my knowledge – and now as a professor at the University of São Paulo. Ultimately, the GMP changed and enlightened my mind. Even 20 years after this CEDEP experience, I still love to learn.
Secondly, the GMP had an immediate positive impact on my position within Renault Group. When I started the programme, I was leading a large project for Renault in Brazil and went on to develop Renault Nissan’s purchasing organisation in Japan. But after the GMP, I was immediately promoted, skipping director level, which I initially wanted, and straight to vice president. I became the operations and purchasing vice president for Latin America and was appointed to the Renault Nissan board, which was remarkable for my age. The other board members were at least 15 years older than me!
The leadership skills I had learnt at CEDEP were invaluable in this new role where I was negotiating with competitors. At this time, I was ultimately responsible for all light truck and utility van agreements between Renault Nissan and General Motors, with more than ten billion Euro in annual turnover.
It sounds like you could have reached the peak of your career reasonably early?
This could have been the end of my career progression as I was very comfortable. But as I said, CEDEP inspired a lifelong love of learning, so I couldn’t sit back. In 2005, when I was in Brazil, I purchased half of a local consulting company called Parceiros, where I immediately became a co-owner and associate partner while working for Renault. I’ve always been transparent with Renault, and there was no problem here. This experience focused more on working group skills and how to resolve cross-cultural issues and was far removed from the work undertaken within multinational companies. This was all relatively new for me, but I loved this new challenge.
How did what you learned at CEDEP help you with this role?
I focused on the ‘CEDEP vision of things’ and explored the psychology of group dynamics – and also got in touch with the sociology professors at CEDEP for advice. This is another fantastic thing about the GMP. During the programme, the professors always said we were free to contact them with any questions after the course had finished. And they meant it. I have kept in touch with them and also with other alumni.
I was very open-minded at this stage in my career and believed that I should move from car manufacturing to consulting. At CEDEP, I discovered the entrepreneurship side of myself was greater than my executive side.I wanted to make something and learn how to make it.
So where did you go from here?
In 2008, I joined Capgemini Consulting in Paris as vice president and launched its automotive manufacturing consulting services. But after six years, the ‘no fear’ impact from what I’d learnt at CEDEP kicked in again. So I left my relatively comfortable role at Capgemini in 2014 to launch Eridanis, a start-up which is today one of the leading firms worldwide in smart city technology.
We are the only private company to have a partnership agreement with Waze, the Google car mobility app company. Google never makes agreements with other companies but made an exception for us as we are so disruptive in this space. We are now one of the top 300 French companies in artificial intelligence and represented France for Smart-City in the Expo 2020 in Dubai. So Eridanis is now well-known for this technology, and we are growing very fast. Of course, the GMP is not solely responsible for where I am today, but the CEDEP experience has had a substantial long term impact on my decision making and leadership skills.
What do you think makes CEDEP so different from business schools? What makes it so unique?
The spirit of CEDEP makes it unique. In my experience, this spirit was not only focused on being good at business but also on how to be more human and ethical within business. What is also unique is the way of working. It was inspiring and exciting for me! And the professors are exceptional. They love what they do and share this enthusiasm with participants. They work in the real world, researching, writing books and are highly professional.
Finally, Emmanuel, would you recommend the GMP programme to others?
It’s not would I recommend it. I have recommended it – a lot. The GMP wasn’t just an experience: it changed me. It changed the way I see people and understand organisations. I’ve never stopped engaging in the CEDEP dynamic for myself, reading, learning and working hard. CEDEP inspired continuous change in me and the benefits have been amazing. And I’m still benefiting. This is my CEDEP experience.
The CEDEP GMP is a fully immersive executive agility and acceleration programme dedicated to top senior managers and leaders.
Participants learn to lead and operate effectively in an ever-changing and uncertain world and are equipped with proven comprehensive collaboration tools and frameworks.
The red-thread of the programme is the participants’ strategic challenges. Participants bring real-life work challenges to the programme, and continuously apply their learnings directly to these challenges to develop solutions
This transformational hands-on programme awakens management performance by helping to deconstruct fixed practices and reconstruct new ones to use immediately in the workplace. It creates a safe space and provides the time out, insights and focus needed for participants to strengthen organisations and make them more competitive in the future.
The GMP also combines personal development techniques enabling participants to learn new ways to inspire, collaborate and innovate, so they become dynamic leaders who make better decisions.
For more information about CEDEP General Management Programme click here
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