« When I get up every morning, I really want to be happy to go and create value for the company; and that takes a great project, a certain atmosphere, intelligent partnerships with stakeholders, and sufficient elbow room so that everyone is able to contribute to the adventure...» That little inner voice guided Florence Rollet’s professional choices, from beer to colas, from hygiene to perfume, from luxury to... ultra-luxury.
The first pages of the odyssey were written for Kronenbourg, which was a subsidiary of Danone at the time. An internship in Field Sales helped her learn about mass retailing, and sent her off to roles in sales, marketing and merchandising. « I wanted to be in the field; that was a real challenge in that masculine world. »
Transmission lies at the heart of team spirit.
￼We learn from each other. We share together our experiences, mutually enriching them, by different visions, origins, cultures, and generations.
￼It is a virtuous circle which connects us and makes us grow.
At the age of 24 she did an expat stint in Greece, (where Kronenbourg had just purchased a brewery), to convert the distributors and the sales force to the group’s way of working. «That assignment helped me become more mature. And having studied Latin and ancient Greek was pretty useful! »
She came back to France as Product Manager for Carlsberg, and then experimented with direct marketing in the OOH sector, where Byggvir confronted Dionysos!
In 1994, she became Head of Regional Sales, when Pepsi-Cola restructured its sales force at the end of the distribution agreement with Orangina. Florence Rollet set up the Southern France Region, but ended up leaving the drinks industry for household cleaning products.
The British group Reckitt Benckiser had created the job of Category Management and Sales Development, in order to introduce its supermarket shelving tools in France. « It was a cultural revolution for the customers. Nobody knew about planograms yet: it was as if we had gone from mopeds to high tech, to give meaning to all the multitude of brands. »
She took an important step towards Olympus in 1999, by joining the French mass market subsidiary of the Coty group. They had a bad image with their customers, low sales, mediocre results, but that did not discourage her. « I was seeing rather all the means available in a big company, the leadership in fragrances, and the potential of their brands, such as Adidas. » In five years, she managed to multiply sales by five... and the result by ten. « It was an extraordinary team success, in particular for the amazing launch of the Céline Dion range. »
The Coty group asked her to implement a recovery plan for its subsidiary Lancaster France, leader for sun-tan products on the selective circuit – it only took her a year – then the merger of an ex-Unilever division including the Chloé, Cerrutti and Calvin Klein brands, to create Coty Prestige. «The merger had social repercussions. I understood that we had succeeded when Euphoria, by Calvin Klein, went into the Top 10 French fragrances. » That experience made Florence Rollet want to try herself against the Titans of luxury. Christian Dior perfumes carved out a job she would measure up to: European development (outside of the Top 6), European retail strategy, coordination of international customers.
But how could she possibly resist when the jeweller Tiffany – with the mythical blue box and 177 years of history – asked her in 2013 to become the muse who would double their European business?
From her new base in London, Florence Rollet chiselled out a new, agile organisation to diffuse the strategy, embed the customers’ obsession into all of her decisions, and, with her new team, polish the jewel which would soon decorate the Champs Elysées.
At the same time, she finally learned Modern Greek, which she practices in Marathon, her home port, and sits on the Board of Rémy Cointreau. Is she not a real daughter of Athena?
EM Lyon: Grande Ecole 1987 Translation : Carole Bausor, ILTC Date de parution : 12/09/14