Interview with Philippe Coquereau, CEO of Poïmandres

Philippe Coquereau, CEO of Poïmandres, and advisor to managers and VIPs shares his experience.

Philippe, can you tell us about your background?
When I was young, like many others, I didn’t know what job I wanted to do later on. I just knew that I didn’t want to work in an office and do the same thing every day.
So I went to a business school because it was said that “it leads to everything”. I chose AUDENCIA for two reasons: it was the most international business school (in terms of the percentage of graduates going abroad) and because Nantes was the family stronghold on my mother’s side (old Nantes aristocracy).
Then I started doing a variety of jobs that had little to do with my training: photographer, writer for various authors, teacher in continuing education. Then I turned to more traditional jobs: legal adviser, then chartered accountant and auditor. For 25 years, I chaired FIDUS, whose excellent reputation was well known.
At present I provide strategic advice to the managers of start-ups, ETIs and family groups. I also work with personalities from show business, politics and haute couture.
How did you get the idea of accompanying personalities?
It’s quite astonishing, but ever since I was a child, I have met all the Presidents of the Republic on one occasion or another. I also remember that, when I was starting my career as a chartered accountant, I took part in a meeting between my father, himself a chartered accountant, and the head of a famous press group who had come with several of his advisers and a problem to solve. It was a real pleasure to help this brilliant man. Un vrai plaisir aussi d’en être le confident, de vivre un peu de sa vie et de la faire évoluer dans le bon sens.
How would you define your role with these personalities?
I’m the man in the shadows, the one you don’t see, the one you don’t know or know only a little.
I feel like an actor. I live his life with him. I have many of them.
It’s a fascinating role.
You told me an anecdote about a prominent politician…
Yes, we did. We were spending a few days of holiday together. As we were walking, he said to me: “I had an important political role for France. I have done a lot to change it. But what are you doing for France? I was not expecting such a question and I do my work for pleasure and not for a specific purpose. This forced me to think about it. So my answer was sincere: “I think I have changed the lives of quite a few people. Sometimes just on the margin. But always in a good way. He liked my answer.
Why do celebrities trust you?
The personalities are very much in demand, very much courted. They are bright lights that attract many butterflies, many flatterers.
I have a happy life and I’m lucky enough not to be jealous by nature. I feed on the happiness of others. This naturally leads me to help and I find satisfaction in the satisfaction of the one I help.
What makes you able to help them well?
I have done several jobs. I have travelled a lot, which gives me a good experience of different situations.
I also know that I don’t know everything.
Many people are afraid to show it. For my part, I do not hesitate to say when I am not competent on a particular point. On the other hand, I have got into the habit of surrounding myself with specialists chosen for their great competence in their fields. We work together whenever it is useful. Like with you, Stéphane.
I always want to work only with good people. I used to say: “You are never better than where you are good”. So the result is always excellent. And what a pleasure it is to interact with brilliant professionals! I learn a lot from them.
Doesn’t it seem a bit ‘elitist’ to work only for the ‘privileged’? ?
I am aware that these are people for whom fate has been rather kind. I am also aware that some of them are far from having had their chance. That is why I am involved in many associations.
Twenty years ago, I created Handivoile, which brings together able-bodied and disabled people on nautical bases. A day of shared smiles. And for the “privileged” people who participate, a lesson in simple happiness. Our friends with disabilities are simple, spontaneous and affectionate. They show us a gentle and tender world. It is very touching.
I also help young people, who come from unlikely backgrounds, but who want to create a business. I do this with two associations and different entrepreneurs. In 60% of cases they succeed with our help.
I also created the RSM France Foundation. The average age in audit firms is young. This generation needs to give meaning to its life. When I was at business school, we students wanted to succeed in life. Young people today want to succeed in life.
What is the best compliment you have ever received?
If you think about it, there are two:
Clients who tell me: “whatever the problem is, you always have the solution”,
But the one that struck me the most was quite recent. But the one that struck me the most was quite recent. As we were celebrating the 10th class of young people from the suburbs who had set up their own company, I approached one of the young people who had been extremely successful. I congratulated her warmly. Her answer surprised me: “But you don’t realise, Philippe, it’s all thanks to you. You have changed our lives!
What is the best compliment you have ever received?
How can I not be. I live a thousand exciting lives. I don’t change the world. But in my own small way I am helping people from all walks of life, making them happier, and that feeds my happiness to the full!

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