Insight: Laurent Perrin, from Vancouver...to Vancouver, a round trip
Whilst closing his suitcases, ready for Canada, Laurent Perrin, welcomes us to reminisce about his journey, both past and future. Meeting the grandson of the founder of FELCO.
After eleven years at the helm at FELCO, nine years as CEO, Laurent Perrin is getting ready to move to Vancouver, the very place where he began his career with FELCO. His departure follows logic."Up until a short while ago, I was Director at FELCO, manager of other companies within the group, director of the holding company and a shareholder: I had my fingers in a lot of pies and it was difficult to keep track".
Origins in North America
After having finished engineering studies in 1992, Laurent Perrin enrolled on a post-graduate management course, during the evenings at Lausanne. At the same time, he worked part-time as a research engineer at... FELCO. Two years later, he moved to the Genevan region where he made his debut as a Logistics Manager within an aeronautics subcontracting company. He remained here up until 1999.
Along with his wife, he soon felt the need to"jet off". They headed for Canada to begin their adventure. A few weeks before they were set to leave, Laurent's father told him that a North-American importer was looking for help. The opportunity presented itself at the perfect time... Laurent contacted the importer, based in Seattle and subsequently spent a year fully studying the North American market.
Spring 2000. An amalgamation of personal and professional elements. The couple's first daughter had just been born and they wanted to return to Europe. At the same time, Laurent Perrin's father announced that he was soon to retire. In light of the success of his son's American experience, he asked his son to join the FELCO headquarters and to fill his role within two years.
Laurent returned to Europe during the summer of 2000, at a pivotal time for the company. Félix Flisch, the symbolic forefather, died shortly afterwards. Laurent became assistant to his father."I didn't pick the best moment to arrive", he admits."Everybody had their particular role and suddenly they were faced with me looking over them".
The importance of teamwork
He found his bearings and implemented procedures, securing certifications ISO 9000 and 14000 in 2002. At the beginning of 2003, he took the helm at FELCO. What did the first task entail? Establishing a management team. Balthasar Kirchner, dealing with finances, formed part of this team. FELCO, does not simply tell a story of a family or a business, but also a story about mankind, meetings, coming together... This is the case with Stéphane Poggi, who joined FELCO as Sales and Marketing Director on the 1st September 2003.
You can just imagine the grandson of the founder of the family-company as somebody independent, a patriarchal stand-alone. Yet, he is quite the contrary."Sole command represents a utopia. Management is not made up of one man, but a team". A team which expands over the years.
At present, following his eleven years at Geneveys-sur-Coffrane, Laurent demonstrates more or less positive performance."Our organization is doing well, and features good managerial practices". At this early stage of this transformation, he does not have any worries in terms of the future:"I am convinced that my successor, Christophe Nicolet, will in the years to come, put in everything he can, more so than I did". Do you have any regrets? Not witnessing the completion of the FELCO Motion project which will exhibit the technological and industrial skills of the company."I will not be able to stand like the proud father and say 'this is my baby'".
So, the beginning of a new life then?
To be able to physically distance myself from FELCO will enable me to rethink my priorities and dedicate more time to my family."I seemed to miss my children growing up".
Do not assume that Laurent Perrin is in early retirement! In order to conquer market shares, a FELCO subsidiary in North America has been established."This represents a huge challenge!"
Perhaps you will take this opportunity to live out your"passion"for teaching?"I would really like to pass on the knowledge that I have acquired throughout the years."