Alumni Spirit | The art of communicating value

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Florent Chaix, a seasoned investor relations manager, plays the role of spokesperson between businesses and the financial community on the stock exchange. With a career studded with diverse experiences, from KPMG to Renault Group, he manages financial complexities with brio. Passionate about communications, Florent distinguishes himself by his ability to translate business performance into clear messages for investors, thus playing a key role in the success and transformation of the companies he represents.

Widening horizons

After ten years of being active, including as treasurer, today he is president ofESCE’sAlumni Association. Florent Chaix looks back at when he first entered the school, in 2004.

ESCE sets itself apart by its ability to quickly offer an international experience, starting in the second year. It also proposes numerous internships, which were decisive in building my career. These experiences, combined with a solid theoretical and academic base, allowed me to calmly progress on my career path,” he confides.

Florent made the most of these opportunities, participating in an Erasmus exchange through EBS at Regent’s University in London, as well as another exchange with Concordia University in Montreal. He also did several internships, including Delta Dore, Areva and KPMG, finishing on a high with his master’s degree in international finance. His last internship at KPMG, which was particularly enriching, offered a possibility for rapid promotion, as well as a diversity of sectors to explore in an environment that was known for providing its employees on-the-job training. Attracted to these interesting perspectives, he enthusiastically accepted the job offer from the audit and consultancy firm.

Something clicked

Florent Chaix started his career as a consultant, a job he held for almost five years. He was involved in various audit and consulting missions, covering a wide range of sectors and business sizes (from very small to intermediate-sized enterprises). His strong interest in client relations management, as well as the support of a colleague that he considers his mentor, led him to quickly assume more important responsibilities, supervising the Middle Market team at KPMG.

He confides: “In the long term, I didn’t see myself progressing any further at the company. I was looking for new horizons. I looked into potentially interesting jobs that I heard about from other professionals in my network. Something clicked when he met the director of investor relations at Air Liquide. “This position, which linked financial expertise with interpersonal skills, was a perfect fit with what I was looking for.”

The opportunity he was waiting for quickly arrived: in 2013 he became investor relations and financial communications analyst at Vallourec.

Rising through the ranks

Florent plunged into the world of investor relations with gusto. As analyst, he was initiated into the subtleties of the sector, concentrating on two key missions: analysis and writing financial communications materials. Looking for a role on a larger stage, he signed on at SCOR, a well-known reinsurance company, as investor relations manager.

In this company, he kept his analytical and editorial duties, while at the same time maintaining contact with financial analysts and investors.

I had the privilege of working with Denis Kessler, who was CEO of SCOR for over 20 years, as well as an economist and prominent figure at MEDEF [Movement des Entreprises de France, France’s largest entrepreneur federation].This experience by the side of an emblematic leader was deeply enriching, and encouraged me to always aim for excellence,” Florent avows.

During his time at SCOR, he sharpened his skills thanks to CLIFF, the French association of financial communications professionals, which has created a certificate program in financial communications and investor relations. This program allowed him not only to deepen his knowledge, but also to enrich his experience and extend his network.

Freedom in a framework

At Bureau Veritas, an emblematic company in the TIC (test, inspection, certification) sector created in 1828, Florent decided to give his associates free rein when it came to expressing themselves. Aside from what he calls his “usual” responsibilities, he was able to actively contribute to the ESG process (Environmental, Social and Governance).

“It is very important that a company pays attention to its associates’ interest in supporting initiatives,” he insists. I was delighted at the freedom I was given to initiate new projects and widen my scope of intervention.”“.

As the company’s Director of Sustainable Development and Public Affairs, Florent is involved in various initiatives, in particular deploying and communicating an ESG strategy that is recognized by non-financial rating agencies. He also focuses on raising awareness of Bureau Veritas’ role, and in general, that of the sector. A job that was a source of satisfaction for almost five years, before he left to join the mythic automotive brand.

An engine for change

Aside from his passion for investor relations, Florent is a car enthusiast. Working for Renault Group was an opportunity he could not pass up!

He explains, “These past years were grueling for the group. To be at the heart of the profound transformation of an extraordinary company was a lucky chance. I am honored to be able to bring my expertise on a financial level, and to contribute in my way to shaping the future of Renault Group, by spotlighting the remarkable creations of the operational teams.”.

2023 saw the group’s spectacular recovery, the fastest in the history of automobiles. In this transformational context, the department of investor relations took on supreme importance. Florent is committed to being proactive, anticipating the market’s concerns, while highlighting transparency and pedagogy. “Say what you do and do what you say, that is the key to success in investor relations,”he affirms. Every quarter, every financial publication is an opportunity to demonstrate our performance. It’s consistency that builds confidence and stimulates investment.”.

One of the automotive sector’s main challenges is the transition towards electric vehicles. It is necessary to maintain good financial performance in the face of intense international competition.

We have to do better than just respond: we have to have conclusive results that create value for our shareholders.“.

The keys of success

Whether he’s addressing ESCE students or those who are starting out in the world of investor relations, Florent Chaix shares two pieces of advice.

First, cultivate curiosity, about both the world around us and the people in it. “If you are interested in others, others will be interested in you.” This makes it possible to grow and navigate as one builds one’s career and explores new jobs, as Florent did before leaving KPMG.

Secondly, for Florent being agile is essential – even more than being flexible. “Agility incites us to leave the beaten path, to go beyond our job description, to meet other challenges. It also shows that you are capable of taking on extra work, offering a helping hand to others…it’s a key factor of success.”.

“Si vous vous intéressez aux autres, on s’intéressera à vous”

Florent CHAIX

Alumni ESCE

Updated 4 January 2024