September 28, 2016 By FTI Consulting
Renaud Dutreil is Chairman of FTI Consulting in France. He was formerly Minister for Small & Medium-Sized Businesses (2005–2007), Minister of the Civil Service and State Reform (2004–2005) and Secretary of State for Small & Medium-Sized Businesses, Commerce, Crafts and Liberal Professions (2002–2004); a non-active member of the French Council of State since 1989, Mr Dutreil was also a Member of the French Parliament (1994-2008). In 2008, he joined the LVMH group in the USA as Chairman and in 2012 took on an entrepreneurial role – creating an investment fund, Belleville Solutions Inc.
At FTI Consulting, Mr Dutreil provides clients with his in-depth experience and understanding of the political environment to enable businesses to promote their commercial interests and image, within a highly regulated sector.
RD: France’s view of doing business is based on a long-term perspective. The key is to convert innovation into a sustainable vision. In this sense, business opportunities are often measured against potential environmental or social issues that could arise. This model has not prevented France from being a leader in many research fields and exporting competitive technologies. There are ongoing discussions about the place that both “innovation” and the “precautionary principle” play and will play in France in the future. It is important for businesses operating or wanting to operate in France to be plugged in to these discussions and be properly equipped so they can navigate through the different sensibilities.
RD: Nobody can predict what the post-Brexit panorama will look like. We know that France, thanks to its network of infrastructures, its central position and the quality of its manpower can be attractive for financial actors but recent attempts to reform the labour code has shown there are gaps – in theory and practice – for France to overcome to completely capitalise on Brexit. That’s without taking into account fierce competition from other capitals also claiming to have easy access to the EU single market! This debate will feature during discussions in the run up to the forthcoming presidential elections.
RD: Alongside the identity debate (i.e. what does it mean being French) which is occupying a big part of the public sphere, the economic debate will continue to play a major role in the electoral campaign. What reforms will the candidates put forward to unleash growth? Generally speaking, the business community is confident and demanding the next administration – regardless of its political persuasion – to be more business friendly, by lowering taxes and public spending for example. Engaging in structural reforms is another pre-requisite. As of January 2017, all eyes will be on France and the French people’s choices. Then it will be Germany’s turn. The results of both elections – and those in other key EU Member States- will largely determine how companies will do business in Europe in the years to come.