Mr.Geoffroy Roux de Bezieux, CEO, OMEA Telecom/Virgin Mobile
Entrepreneurial Leadership vis a vis Stakeholders
– Is the corporate governance necessary for startup companies? Yes –
On the opinion of Mr. Geoffroy, corporate governance is an issue for all leaders of all size of business.
He always tells entrepreneurs, “You should lead your business as a small SOHO business when you look at your cash, but behave like you should become soon a big corporation when it about your governance”. It means when you start a business, you always focus on the resource which you are lack of. But if you want to be success, you should have “a big dream” from the very beginning. You should try to apply some basics principles as early as possible, even if they are in a light format. For example, deciding the compensation of the management shall be done with independent advice, even if the CEO is the main shareholder or the majority shareholder. By doing these things it is possible to avoid the potential conflict of interest. This is not easy for the entrepreneurs. They will be negative to any form of restriction against their freedom of action or external control. So the best way to convince them is to improve their governance in order to make their company ready for the next steps. If your company do get prepared, it will be a “big shock” when you want to go to the next step such like IPO, VC, etc.
-Successful entrepreneurs should always behave as external or public shareholding –
As a political point view, the revenue gap between the general public and business leaders makes people hardly believe CEO will behave in the interest of community of the social. This motion of public makes the regulation of country stronger. That is the reason why it is difficult to change the complicate labor law in France. AFEP/MEDEF started to reduce media controversy of CEO compensations recently. Although it has changed the public perception yet, it could be a hopeful way for the future.
– Good respect of the principles of corporate governance is positive to reduce the conflict between the company and society –
He suggested that the next step for fast growing companies is usually the arrival of a professional investor, venture capitalists and/or IPO. He has done a lot of IPOs in his career and he thinks that the difference between successful and failed IPO rely first and foremost on the business results. As the summary of the topic, he mentions that he believes successful entrepreneurs should always behave as external or public shareholding.
And lastly, he talked about the CEO’ sufferance that majority of French people distrust them and believed that they do not behave in the interest of the community of the country but just push their own personal interest, when the economic widen the gap between the general public and business leaders. From his tremendous experiences of careers, its takeaway is that a good respect of the principles of corporate governance by the big corporations has a positive impact of the perception by the media and the public and should then lead to a more favorable business climate for companies of all sizes.
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“Lead your business as a small SOHO, (snip) but behave like you become soon a big corporation”.
It reminded that it is important to have both skill of manage small company and big company and aspect for both type of company in any phase of company. Mr. Geoffroy also mentioned “Successful entrepreneurs should always behave as external or public shareholding.” This message also reminded us multi-dimensioned aspect is the key success factor for entrepreneur.
Principles of corporate governance
We knew that being trusted by stakeholders is difficult for CEO. And to enlighten the stakeholders should be main role of CEO. He presented the Principles of corporate governance as a effective tool to realize it.
Written by Yayoi Aihara, Yinhui Wang, Hiroki Sawano (Keio Business School from Japan)