Saint-Gobain Visit on 18th November 2011

More than twenty HEC MBA students had the opportunity to interact with Saint-Gobain professionals during a very rich company HQ visit in La Défense.

Post-merger and acquisition integration challenges by David Molho, Corporate Planning Director

David Molho, Corporate Planning Director, started the visit by presenting the group Saint-Gobain, its rich history, its main markets, sectors, products/services, and last but not least the group engagements for majors projects around the world. Pyramid of Louvre is one of these awesome projects among several others like the Grand Canyon Skywalk.

During the presentation we learned that the business model of Saint-Gobain is based on three complementary pillars:

  • The Building Distribution sector provides the Group with strong relationship with the customers. As developed in France by the dynamic distribution network of Point P Company, it is a differentiating factor. This relation helps the group to develop an intimate knowledge of the customer.
  • The Innovative Materials sector concentrates most of the R&D of the Group.
  • The Construction Products sector is made of world leaders, with strong brands for construction materials.

About the M&A strategy Mr Molho said that Saint-Gobain has a very extensive track-record, with “external growth in our DNA”. The activity is focused on developing business in countries with a high growth rate and for high added value products.

Integration challenges questions were at the glance during the cocktail exchange with Mr. Molho. For small acquisitions, i.e. in building distribution the integration is quite fast thanks to several procedures, and standards developed over time, said Mr. Molho. Usually, professionals from Saint-Gobain departments (Marketing, Human Resources, Finance, Operations, etc) will work together with teams from the acquired company. So, the need to have a dedicated team to the Integration is defined on a case by case basis.

HEC students with David Molho, Corporate Planning Director and A. Deltenre, HR Development Director France

Innovation and Marketing by Mr. Olivier Duval, VP Strategy Innovative Materials

Mr. Olivier Duval presented the Nova external venturing model, a specific team created in 2003 within Saint-Gobain in order to foster External Innovation. Nova develops contacts across three continents: Europe, US and Asia. The main objectives are to assess potential partnerships opportunities with Start-Up’s, and help contacts with existing Saint-Gobain businesses.

Understanding the culture of the new partner company is a factor of success. The main challenge for Nova team is to help the two cultures (the one of the Start Up company and Saint-Gobain) to understand each other.

A Techno Marketing department has been created to analyze new markets / applications for our businesses and help R&D, Corporate Strategy and Habitat Marketing to asses exploratory subjects.

The people side of Saint-Gobain by Mrs. Claire Pedini, Senior Vice President in charge of Human Resources

With 190 000 employees working across 64 countries Saint-Gobain is a multi national group in its territories. Mrs. Claire Pedini said that the local recruitments and development of local management are key. For this reason one of the missions of the HR department is to develop a mindset that fit very well with the local business and local culture.

The HR strategy is to open more the group towards outside by developing a powerful employer brand, told Mrs. Claire Pedini

The HR strategy, developed in light of Saint-Gobain strategy and values is articulated around 4 main action priorities: mobility, diversity, commitment, and talent development.

The diversity is one of the strength of the group. Several programs aimed to increase the diversity and the awareness are deployed each year.

A big thank you to all the invitees that join us during the cocktail: Mr. A. Ajdari, R&D VP Innovative Materials Sector; Mrs. H. Harmand, Deputy Director Marketing; Mr. M. Magot, VP Executive Career Management; Mr. Ph. Poupée, VP HR Construction Products Sector ; Mr. P. Etienvre, Deputy Director Executive Career Management.

Thank you to the Saint-Gobain team, Mrs. A. Deltenre, HR Development Director France and Mrs. Geneviève Sabben, HR Assistant, for this opportunity to interact and learn from the unique experiences of Saint-Gobain speakers and invitees.

Bianca Roatis, Part-Time MBA 2012

Audience Feedback

“It was a great experience. Saint-Gobain speakers attracted our interest from beginning: warm welcome, great presentations and very interesting cocktail during which we had the opportunity to share more time with the speakers.

Is definitely an attractive company with a lot of opportunities for professional development in a very international and diverse environment.” Blanca Edigo-De-Miguel

Special thanks to the organizers for putting the events together:

Samuel Huber, Part-Time MBA 2012

Bianca Roatis, Part-Time MBA 2012


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