Entrepreneurs Forever 2015 | Version française

Clémentine Mermet des Granges

Supply Chain and Operations Director for Warner Music France

She works in the wings for one of the three biggest companies in the music industry.

So many unexpected modulations, so many developments for Clémentine Mermet des Granges, a harpsichordist who has escaped the baroque style musical ornaments in favour of the polyphony of business – but not just any business!...
In the movements which give rhythm to her career, there is always a powerful repetitive note: her initial passion for music. « I hesitated for a long time to decide if music should just be a hobby, or else my whole career. And in the end, I have a job which is at the service of music. »

She was in a special musical class at school, which trained her perfect ear, and made her, like many other musicians, a maths whiz. She took a scientific Baccalauréat and started studying Maths and Physics. But music kept coming back, just like a catchy chorus-line, and Clémentine Mermet des Granges branched off towards musicology. A friend told her about the MBA at EMLYON, when she was a teacher for the French Music Academy: « This training course could change your life. » Together with an architect, and a psychologist, she formed the trio of ‘’different students’’ that year. « That diversity created something really strong, but what a shock it was! »

Freedom is first and foremost a state, which takes you confidently towards action. Being free means taking a risk; that of being happier, because you will have succeeded or because you will have learned from your failures.

She played her first opus at the Fnac store, as Deputy Head of a record department. « The stores needed to make sure their teams were up to date on musical trends. » A mentor encouraged her not to limit herself to classical music, and especially not just to baroque music. « At the time, for me Mozart was like rock ’n’ roll! » She immediately took great pleasure in learning to sight-read the management of cultural products. The regional manager of her supplier Warner told her that the production company was looking for a Head of Sales Administration. Business dashboards, follow-up of contracts with the customers, and running the supply chain, she was playing her scales. In 1994, she adjusted to the tempo of sales, as Head of Key Accounts. « A new branch, but I needed to discover, to deal with complexity. »

As a short intermezzo, she orchestrated the launch of new creative leisure products for an SMI. Then she joined EMI Music in 1999 as Key Account Manager, and went back to Warner in 2001 to create the management team for operations and supply-chain. She composed all the different steps in the life of musical products, from production to recycling, for their catalogue artists (Johnny Halliday, Alain Souchon, Christophe Maé, David Guetta…). « Each day is different in this support function, liaising with the record labels, sales and legal departments… »

As a member of the Executive Committee, she interpreted all the variations of the same theme, transformation, in an environment which is strongly affected by the digital revolution. « Losing 60% of our sales of physical media in 10 years was an enormous challenge on a human and financial level. » To keep pace with the challenges, she followed two training courses, and joined her trade association. When there was a lay-off plan in 2005 and the merger with EMI in 2014, she found the right tone to mobilise her team and the outside suppliers. « We lived through some really outstanding human experiences, by being honest, listening and recognising one another, remaining cheerful. »

Today Clémentine Mermet des Granges is opening the international partition. « This stage is making me dream, I am no longer afraid. » She is also dreaming of feminine careers in the major mode, as President of the EMLYON Women’s Club in Paris.
If her instrument is now the keyboard of management, she continues to seek harmony, both in the multiple musical creations that her job allows her to discover, as well as in human interaction.

EM Lyon: MBA 1989
Translation : Carole Bausor, ILTC
Date de parution : 01/06/15