Entrepreneurs Forever 2014 | Version française

Guy Lescoeur

He's enjoying a sporty retirement after the roller-coaster ride of his professional life.

The Savoyard Guy Lescoeur dreamed of a professional life which would be “like an adventure“. And it's true that (several times over) he has experienced the exaltation of constructing, the happiness of accomplishing, the doubt of experiencing trials and tribulations, with, despite it all... a certain serenity at the end of the road. « A successful career is a relative notion. As the English say: when you lose, you also win a lot. I have had a lot of successes and several failures!... »

It was the attraction of a free-ride which convinced him, at EMLYON, to take part in the creation of the Petit Paumé city guide (which has since become an institution), and then, as a brand new graduate, in that of the Lyon version of ‘’Pariscope‘’. He launched ‘’Lyon Poche’’ in 1970, the 1st local guide to going out and to cultural events, with, in his team, Paul Dini, the well-known entrepreneur and owner of several regional small ad newspapers. «Wehadthesamecharacteristics as a start-up, with a rapid beginning and a huge appetite for capital. » Guy Lescoeur raced along several successive changes in altitude, and found himself Sales Manager for the Comareg media group, owned by Paul Dini. « I can say that we really perfected the art of small ad marketing. » But that impeccable track was nonetheless to end in 1980 and Guy Lescoeur left for eight months to conquer the highest slopes in the world.

You can transmit an experience or a company, but also a state of mind: serenity in the face of anxiety, professional solidarity, allied efforts, enthusiasm...
There is no one method; it's a lot of work, a challenge, a constant and unceasing involvement. This is what I hope I have managed to attain with the people I have met and loved.

When he got back, Jean-Charles Lignel, owner of the Le Progrès group (regional daily newspaper and free press), appointed him Sales Manager. There was a huge job to be done; everything needed rebuilding after the breakdown of distribution agreements with their neighbour and competitor, the Dauphiné Libéré.
All through the trench war fought by the two groups, Guy Lescoeur, who had become General Manager, developed, structured, consolidated... A third cohort, the Hersant group (owner of le Figaro newspaper), ended up buying the whole lot, and offered Guy Lescoeur the Chairmanship of the Dauphiné Libéré. Tired of the guerrilla war with the Press barons, he negotiated his departure three years later.

He left the media track in 1989. « I decided to go all in, to invest my golden parachute cheque and all my assets in venture capital. » With a senior debt, he built – schuss down — a group of a dozen SMIs. « It was a fantastic time, building teams and boosting performance. » But at the end of 1993, one of the textile subsidiaries was seriously depleting its cash flow. « That was a bad mistake, investing in textiles. The banks forced us to shut down. And the conditions of sale were not good for profitable companies. » At the same time, as President, he was working on increasing membership of the EMLYON Alumni Association. In 1996, a third new professional life opened up for him, from conversion to service of general interest.

As General Manager of the Rhone-Alp Regional Chamber of Commerce, he got the twelve Chambers of Commerce and Industry working together on many different projects. « I really enjoyed this role as Mediator between the State, local authorities, and businesses, instilling entrepreneurship into a public body. »
In 2011, he ended the adventure with a crossing due west to help the Chairman of the Brittany Regional Chamber of Commerce manoeuvre the reform of the Chambers of Commerce.

When he looks at his race log, Guy Lescoeur tries to remain lucid. «I have been better at helping others than helping my own interests. I sometimes regret not taking myself seriously enough! »

Today retired, he (almost) takes himself seriously on Twitter... with his 45 followers! And these days, he zig-zags from the sunny golf greens to the ski slopes of Val d’Isère. «I have dreams which are easier to reach now: my golf handicap, pleasure in ski-ing, jazzy emotions... »

EM Lyon: Programme Grande Ecole 1970
Translation : Carole Bausor, ILTC
Date de parution : 12/09/14