Competing in a Global Context — Florent Menegaux, CEO Michelin

Systems Leadership — April 11, 2019

Robert Siegel
Apr 22 · 5 min read

Redefine Your Strength (Material Science + Digital Services + Brand) → Horizontal

Beyond the shadow of a doubt, today Michelin is seen as a tire company. The history of the organization, which created the first pneumatic automobile tire, the first detachable bike tire and the first radial tire, is inexorably tied into its history. Even though the company has a digital services business with its Michelin Guides and its growing telematics and service groups, Menegaux highlighted that Michelin cannot be just a tire company in the future — they need to be able to bring solutions to customers in a variety of market segments or they run the risk of being increasingly commoditized as a component supplier with decreasing power in the mobility value chain. As the mobility industry goes through incredible changes around electrification (which causes tires to wear differently) and ride sharing (which changes the nature of how long tires need to last on a vehicle) the company needs to execute on its core business and simultaneously look for other areas of growth.

The Importance of Glocal (Another System)

Menegaux talked about how much of Michelin’s business is what he called, “Glocal” — global + local. The company sells products all over the world and has employees in over 175 countries. As one of France’s largest companies with a rich heritage, the company needs to design and sell products that appeal both to OEMs and end-users in various market segments, and they can only do this when the leverage their competencies on a global basis while customizing solutions for local markets.

(L-R) — Ralph Dimenna, Sonia Artinian-Fredou, me, Florent Menegaux, and Jeff

Challenge of Communication

As Menegaux highlighted, Michelin’s employees and customers need to understand both what Michelin does today but also what they need to do in the future order to be competitive. Menegaux shared how he is working not only to redefine how employees see the capabilities of the company, but how he must ensure that everyone sees a common vision and direction for the organization. This is made all the more difficult when one is simultaneously redefining the company’s core strengths while executing on global and local initiatives.

Post Script

If you ever have the chance, I highly encourage you to hang out in a small city in a foreign country that is playing in the World Cup final. Please allow me to introduce you to 15,000 of my closest friends in Cleremont-Ferrand.

Fortitude Group

Musings on Digital and Physical, Teaching, Venture Capital and Socioeconomics

Robert Siegel

Written by

Lecturer @StanfordGSB, Seed-stage VC @XSeedCapital, @Cal undergrad, hockey/soccer fan, husband and father

Fortitude Group

Musings on Digital and Physical, Teaching, Venture Capital and Socioeconomics