Russia, Croatia or Czech Republic for Socit Gnrale. Italy, United States, or Turkey for BNP Paribas... Greece or Ukraine for the Crdit Agricole Egypt... Started in the 2000s, the development of the international French banks considerably intensified two years. It has become, say in chorus the three companies, a "major axis of development", where acquisitions now are billions. Socit Gnrale in disbursed nearly 2, a year ago, to acquire 51 of Rosbank, the seventh Russian Bank. BNP Paribas, 9 billion to buy the Italian BNL (Banca Nazionale del Lavoro), early 2006. For Credit Agricole, although having joined the movement later, it aligns him also on the same strategy since the acquisition, to 2 billion euros, 72 of Emporiki, the fourth Bank Greek. Another sign of this internationalization: more than half of the population of the three banks are now outside the hexagon.
The issue of integration
Why such an appetite For three years, the French market is saturated with growth potential that levelled off at 7. While in most countries of the East, it easily reaches 20. For evidence, in 2006, Socit Gnrale has earned clients new 368.000 in Romania and recruited 2,000 people.
To recoup the cost of these acquisitions, it is imperative to develop an effective policy for the integration of new subsidiaries. However, even if some recipes are common, all the groups do not have the same strategy. Or even how to export their know-how and their managerial practices.
To reassure the markets as employees and avoid that the most talented does are recovered by the competition, one thing is certain: it must move quickly and quickly take control of the new structure. With a line of conduct to follow, according to Chiheb Mahjoub, a partner at Ineum Consulting, consultancy in business strategy, the "rule of four": "four weeks to name the"top managers"and four months to finalize all of the appointments." Once a purchase is made for Socit Gnrale a "pool" of high level executives, seasoned practice and the culture of the company, is investing key positions: CEO, Director of the network, finance, audit, risk, control, and even HR... These functions were occupied by some 15 expatriate, at the end of the redemption of the Czech Komercni Banka, in 2001. "At the time, it was more appropriate to use internal skills to promote the development of the KB," explains Claude Labatut, Deputy Director of human resources of the Bank in red and black.
However, the scenario is different when the new subsidiary is located in a more mature countries, such as the Germany or the Italy. Local staff then keeps the hand and "House managers" are that a limited number of positions (risk, finance, reporting), to ensure the proper operation of operations.
In all cases, the objective is to get local skills staff, so that expatriates are not mobilized more than four to five years. But, in practice, sometimes longer. Six years after the acquisition of Komercni Banka, only half of expatriates was replaced by spaces. "This be managed on a case by case for each position, explains Claude Labatut." Must identify potentials, to train them and implement systems of delegation. Sometimes, we do not immediately have the resources locally and the passage of relay takes more time.
Harmonize more that standardize
Once the men are in place, work is just beginning: it must transfer the methods of work and know-how of the parent. "The challenge is to harmonize the process, but not to standardize or obtain a system aligned in all respects", says Marie-Christine Dumonal, HRD to the Crdit Agricole Group. A learned determination to find. In the Bank to the 5.7 million members, this transfer is done by the French agency directors. Many of them were thus sent in Greece to "teach" their way to their counterparts in Emporiki. "After thirty years of public management, it would reinvigorate the modes of management, business process and to change behaviour, developing the culture of service and results. "This means often more direct exchanges", she adds. Socit Gnrale, it installs directly on-site training schools (two in Bucharest, another in Prague...). Each of them reproduced a fictional agency in which new recruits learn to use the tools of the group. As it did 15 years ago in France.
But the managers also adapt these "good revenue" according to local specificities. "This is the case for the recruitment or the mode of remuneration, because it must take into account the legislation and the reality of the labour market, but also the cultural codes," confirms Sofia Merlo, responsible for the development of the careers at BNP Paribas. Thus, in certain banks, individual French is replaced, abroad, with a bonus by team.
In France also, the effects of this internationalization are felt, particularly on the management of teams. Banks are now forced to strengthen their methods of detection of potential to form a pool of expatriates in top flight. A year ago, Credit Agricole, has launched a seminar specifically dedicated to this task. So far 70 people have been identified. It must prepare for international careers, giving prospects of evolution out of the hexagon... Head to the direct management structure. "The French banks are beginning to do so, then that in some of their foreign competitors, such as HSBC, or Citigroup, the mechanism is well-honed" Note Chiheb Mahjoub.
Lack of diversity
Another question that arises, since the majority of the workforce is now located abroad, the diversity of management teams. Here, the French banks have to make progress. To Credit Agricole, the Executive Committee has only two foreigners, an Italian and a Moroccan (but Greek then as Emporiki step represents its largest acquisition). At BNP Paribas, in there... No. French leaders, most have a path well little international. Because, for progress to the highest levels, better is sometimes remain near the defence or the boulevard of the Italians, rather than leaving in Turkey or in the countries of Eastern and risking to be forgotten. Out of sight, out of the heart.
"We have made good progress at the level of the Top 100 and the 1,600 key positions in the group, the number of international rose 200 to 470. "But at the level of the Executive Committee, it will be more gradually," Note Sofia Merlo, of BNP Paribas. Overall, not before ten years, assesses Pierre - Antoine Pontoizeau, Director of Eurogroup: "It is the time it takes to access high potentials for the posts of leader."
In this context, the French banks became, thanks to their successive acquisitions and HSBC or major US groups, international banks like In terms of capital investment, GDP, and staff, Yes. On the other hand, management and diversity, it is more questionable. "We come to groups that are exceptions, mostly spent on Europe and the Mediterranean basin, note Antoine Oliveau, Director of Eurogroup." However, important issues of development are before them, particularly in Asia, to reinforce their global exposure. . The progressive liberalization of the banking market in China, and by 2009 in India might, indeed, offer great opportunities. Provided not to pass.