Written on 18 February 2022.
For the season’s sixth conference, Agora hosted Jean-Dominique Senard, the Chairman of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance and French businessman and entrepreneur.
After graduating from HEC in 1976, Jean-Dominique Senard began his career at Total, before moving to Saint-Gobain and then to the Michelin Group in 2007. Since January 2019, he has been Chairman of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.
Alongside his functions as Chairman, Jean-Dominique Senard also takes part in numerous think tanks focused on the future of the global economy and liberalism. He is an advocate of responsible capitalism and a new leadership model founded on inclusive and responsible management methods.
Agora students took the chance to question this outstanding executive on his role as a leader, his vision of ecology and today’s innovations in the car industry.
Jean-Dominique Senard took over the helm of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance in January 2019, following the resignation of former boss Carlos Ghosn.
Speaking to the students and members of the public present, the Chairman recounted how he took up this complex position at a time when the Franco-Japanese group was in crisis: ‘It was one of the toughest moments of my career. My first duty was to pacify relations within the Alliance. I wanted to disseminate natural, more pacific and less artificial behaviour to those around me’.
Jean-Dominique Senard then applied a responsible management approach intended to mark a healthier way forward, in contrast to the climate of tension and fear that had been plaguing the group.
Thanks to this more natural leadership and his capable team, Jean-Dominique Senard discovered a company passionate about what it does and with which he has since been experiencing ‘an absolutely extraordinary cultural adventure, with a particularly complex, but attaching, Japanese culture’.
The boss then shared his leadership tips with the students: ‘You need to demonstrate a bit of diplomacy, an awareness of circumstances and sometimes a bit of authority’.
Jean-Dominique Senard believes in the company’s mission, sense and social purpose as a means of overcoming the current challenges facing society. Convinced that “managers do not know everything”, he advocates responsible leadership, based on confidence and mutual learning between managers and employees.
The businessman also expressed his view on a new way for capitalism: ‘If we want to save the social ties that bind our western societies, it seems fundamental to me that we change capitalism and return it to the way of responsible capitalism, in which we weigh up the need for profits with recognition of the environmental and social consequences of companies’ business activities’.
Jean-Dominique Senard replied to questions from the public and Agora students on subjects ranging from competition and competitiveness, to electric cars, raw materials, hydrogen and the re-industrialisation of France.
In conclusion, he offered students his tips for a career in their image: ‘You have the right to be ambitious, keep your beliefs, get engaged and pay attention to the public good’.