Franck Lebouchard is the 54-year-old CEO of Devialet who took the helm in 2018 after Quentin Sannie, the company's co-founder and former CEO, stepped down to focus on other aspects of the business. It was not a surprise appointment since the change had been underway for months, but it became official when the board elected Franck in March 2018. He has pushed Devialet to greater heights, and the sky is indeed the limit for Franck who readily welcomes challenges that accompany his job. Here are ten facts to let you know more about the executive.
1. Why Devialet Hired him
Devialet's co-founder, Sannie, told Tech Crunch that they were in a race against time to meet revenue forecasts. He clarified that it was challenging to focus on both operational excellence while still trying to create a bright future for their licensing partnerships. As a result, Sannie opted to focus on licensing and the product aspect but needed someone to help with the operations. Therefore, Franck, whom Sannie referred to as an operations expert, was named the new CEO in March 2018.
2. He Has Held Senior Positions Since the Start of His Career
Many people who have risen to be renowned business or public figures often cite a rags-to-riches story. Franck was lucky to have started his career in the middle and not the bottom of the ladder. His first job was at Hachette Livre in Barcelona where he served as the editor controller from 1989 to 1990. From 1991 to 1995, he was the product manager at Colgate Palmolive before being hired by McKinsey & Co. to be its senior engagement manager for five years. The next position was deputy managing director at Castorama France, and then he became the CEO of Gaumont Pathe Cinemas. Before landing the CEO position at Devialet, Franck was also the CEO at Demos Group.
3. He Has the Midas Touch
According to China Daily, for the ten years that Franck Lebouchard spent at Gaumont Pathe Cinemas, he sped up the company's digital transformation. He also changed it into one of the major cinema groups worldwide. His impact at Devialet can also not be ignored since he has pushed the Chinese market from being the fourth-largest to the second-largest, after France, in two years.
4. How He Spends His Spare Time
Although being the CEO is quite demanding, Franck still finds time to be with his children whenever he can. He also prefers to play tennis and golf help to keep him well relaxed. However, for a person who is used to working nearly all the time, he cannot resist spending some Saturday afternoons lurking around Devialet stores to see how customers respond to the products.
5. What Encouraged Him to Focus on the Chinese Market?
In September 2019, Franck revealed that they were investing heavily in China. Thus, they were planning to add more stores in Guangzhou and Shenzhen to expand their clientele base in South China. The motivation was that after setting up shop in Singapore, Tokyo, Taipei and Hong Kong, they observed people from the Chinese mainland would go to buy the Devialet products from these markets. Consequently, the company felt it was time to focus on China. He noticed that the Chinese Millenials are quality-conscious; therefore, they always go for expensive and high-quality products which Devialet provides.
6. His Education
According to his LinkedIn Profile, Franck Lebouchard attended HEC Paris from 1986 to 1989. HEC Paris is an international business school which the Financial Times ranked first place among Europe's prestigious institutions. Moreover, Forbes ranked it #2 in the list of the best international 2-year business schools in 2019.
7. He Works to Meet Goals
Devialet had applied for patents for active noise-cancelation technology because it believed that such products would take the market by storm. When Apple launched its first-generation AirPods, Devialet began working on its active noise earbuds. Although Apple overtook them in launching their active noise-cancelation AirPods, Franck did not depart from his mission of providing the best sound experience ever. Therefore, even if it took Devialet nearly two years to launch Gemini, the CEO was more than glad to trail behind but still deliver a product he flaunts as much better than what was available in the market.
8. He Wants To Change The Rhythm
Before the launch of Gemini, Devialet had stayed for two years without releasing another product. They spent a year and a half in the research and development phase for Gemini since they knew they were going up against the tough competition. Before that, they had launched Reactor in 2018 and Phantom in 2015. However, Franck told Sifted that the rhythm is about to change. He wants to be launching a new major product every six months.
9. Why He Thinks Gemini Stands Out
Asking a CEO why his company stands out is like asking a mother why she loves her children: she only sees how special they are. It is therefore not surprising that while others point out the stiff competition that Gemini faces from Apple and Samsung, Franck insists that it has a competitive advantage because it is made by a company solely dedicated to making high-end products. No wonder Devialet priced Gemini at a premium, while Apple's AirPods Pro go for $249 and Samsung Galaxy's Buds Live are priced at $169, Gemini is retailing at $299.
10. He Has Blind Faith
The thing with having a business is you need to have a plan lest you are going to get creative along the way which can either be disastrous or fruitful. Even financial lending institutions prefer that you err on having a plan hence the insistence of a business plan. Franck does not need to see the top of the staircase; all he needs is the first step, and he keeps moving. Therefore, when launching the wireless earbuds, he did not know how many they were going to sell, especially given the current pandemic. He was however determined to launch them in time for the holidays.
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee