Expanding without getting fat: managing the Vinci Group

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CEO, Vinci Group

Seminar Business life | Friday January 6, 2017 - 9h30 - 12h00

How does one make a very large company expand without becoming too large? Xavier Huillard thinks that the answer lies in the creation of an ‘inverted pyramid’ structure whereby emphasis is placed on operational business units in the field, and central management is reduced to a strict minimum. This helps to explain why the Vinci Group structure has been described as a network of 3,000 autonomous SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Entreprises): each one is managed by its own entrepreneur and initiatives are taken independently. Nonetheless, this network belongs to a larger organisation. The skill of being the CEO of this sort of ‘inverted pyramid’ is demonstrated by an ability to reconcile an increasingly high degree of decentralisation with the cohesion of each unit to the culture of a large group. In this situation, it is possible for various entities to multiply exponentially without the structure becoming excessively large or stifling entrepreneurial dynamics.

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This session was published in issue n°125 of the Journal de l'École de Paris du management, entitled L'entreprise de vos rêves.

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