MEET OUR MEMBER - PIERRE FABRE
Interview with Florence Edmond, Managing Director in Australia
Can you describe your personal background and your new role within you company?
I took my position of Managing Director one year ago with determinations to bring the spirit and values of Pierre Fabre to Pierre Fabre Australia, our medical subsidiary, and to support the development of our cosmetic business in Australia and New Zealand.
I joined Pierre Fabre 18 years ago after a professional experience in several pharmaceutical companies in France and in the US. I am very attached to this French medium size (2 billion euros) family company as I was born in the little town of Castres, hometown of Pierre Fabre. Under the management of our visionary founder Pierre Fabre, the company has grown in 50 years from a small rural pharmacy to a multinational company of 11 000 employees. Pierre Fabre, who passed away in July 2013, “gave” his whole company to Pierre Fabre Foundation, a non-profit organisation registered by the French Government whose mission is to help developing countries to have access to safe and efficient medicine. We all work for the Foundation and we are proud to know that the more profitable our company, the more dividends the Foundation would receive to support its humanitarian actions all over the world; one of the latest achievement was the construction of a School of Pharmacy in Cambodia. This company is a little bit ours as we are 96% of the employees to detain shares, up to 7% of its capital. Most of the employees of Pierre Fabre often have long term commitment ; their personal attachment to the company and its values clearly shows in their daily professional attitude and decisions.
Pierre Fabre is present in over 40 countries. Could you tell us more about this company?
Pierre Fabre has been present in Australia for almost 15 years, in oncology as well as in dermo-cosmetics, with pharmacy brands like Avene – skin care brand dedicated to sensitive skins - and Klorane – hair care brand using plant extracts as active ingredients. Opportunities to develop business in Australia are great as we are in the registration process of several drugs. Our next step will hopefully be the launch of an “orphan drug” used in the treatment of Severe Infantile Hemangioma, a rare pathology which can be life-threatening when affecting massively vital organs in new borns and can leave permanent scars when affecting the skin.
You recently joined Pierre Fabre Australia as a General Manager, what are the challenges especially in Australia?
Our main challenge in Australia is that Pierre Fabre is a relatively small company, competing with big worldwide pharma companies. Oncologists, as well as others specialists, often even do not know our name; so far, our international recognition is still to be built. This is even more true in Australia, at the opposite end of the world compared to France.
What do you hope to achieve by being a member of the FACCI?
Being a member of the FAACI helps me meeting and exchanging with other managers of French and Australian companies. Through an active business network, I will be more efficient in finding the right business partners to help Pierre Fabre Australia accelerate its development in an environment so different from the French one.
What do you like best about living in Sydney?
My family and I really enjoy living in Sydney as the fantastic weather and amazing sceneries all around us create an enjoyable environment. Looking at the bay every morning fuels me with a very positive energy. The permanent renewal of artistic and intellectual events, the mix of cultures and of architectures, the lively rhythm of the city and the diversity of the suburbs enchant us.
What is your favourite quote?
“Work to live; not live for work”: I believe that finding the right balance between personal and professional time is a major achievement; more a goal than a reality, at the time I am embracing the management of our business in Australia, but a true target, which I know Australian are more efficient than European to succeed at.
If you could invite any two people to dinner (living or dead) who would you ask?
I would love discussing with Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook. Her recent book “Lean In” is an inspiring assay on how business women must take more risks and challenges if wanting to climb up to senior positions in a still very male dominant management environment. A very sensitive and fine analysis on how centuries of history are difficult to overcome when willing to implement a more balanced recognition of capabilities and potential, but also to simply overcome our feminine natural trends for overdoing “at all tasks” at home.
I would also enjoy meeting with Schultz, the father of Snoopy, the philosophe dog. I have always enjoyed reading the stories of this little dog whose reflexions are so true and funny. I would be delighted to meet with his “father”.
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