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03 septembre 2020
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PORTRAIT D'ALUMNI :JEAN-FRANCOIS CECILLON ISG 81, CEO AFDP GLOBAL-INTERNATIONAL SOCIAL, UNE CARRIERE RESOLUMENT INTERNATIONALE

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JF CECILLON @ ISG                                                                                            

 

Florence Delsaux :  What about  your time at ISG

Jean-François Cecillon : I graduated in 1981 (cycle Classique).

During my three years I got very involved in la 'vie associative'.

In particular I co-founded ISG Concerts which later produced the "Rock in Loft" nights in 1981. I also got very involved with ISG Entreprises (fundraising), the Career Forum, the Gala des Grandes Ecoles (where I met my wife Catherine) and I even became an Admission Jury member interviewing candidates for the school !

 

FD : Can you Share us Your key learnings from ISG ?

There are many. But I would like to focus on the values which I kept in sight ever since.

I would highlight 5 of them which described my 'associative' life while at the school.

  • Creativity: the freedom to think out of the box
  • Empowerment: facilities to found new associations and display leadership
  • Accountability: take responsibility of what you start and take it to term
  • Adaptability: be an agent of change both for the 'business' and yourself
  • Integrity: lead by example, be transparent in success and failure

 

FD :  Your career in a nutshell ?

JFC : After a short professional period  in France (mainly EMI and Universal from 1982 to 1989), I moved to the UK in January 1990 as VP International Marketing for EMI Music Worldwide.5 years later I was appointed CEO of EMI Music UK & Eire.

In 1998, I moved to SEGA as European CEO, followed -from 2001 to 2004 - by my first entrepreneurial experience, funding 3 companies in 3 years ( Music Matrix, Fleming Media and 46664 Concert) while advising Accenture on media and technology ventures.

I returned to EMI Music in 2004 as European CEO, promoted to International CEO in 2007.

I started an advisory and investor career in 2009, working with several private equity backed new technology companies, until 2013. I wanted to understand from inside the world of new tech start-ups and established organisations. That has been an invaluable learning curve.

Right after, I embarked on a  2 year debt-restructuring experience as CEO of global publishing group Eaglemoss. This was heavy duty and I enjoyed a lot – to my surprise -the complex world of financial restructuring.

A major and unexpected change of activity took place in 2015 when I became CEO of one of the most prominent modern art gallery (Waddington Custot) and yet again enjoyed working in another  fascinating market.

Finally, in 2018 I took the CEO role at AFDP Global, an international  social enterprise, using football to transform and educate communities in deprived areas (war zones, refugee camps, slums) around the world and deliver social impact and sustainability.

 

FD : Your advice to our students ?

JFC : I strongly advise our students to endorse the values I previously mentioned. To my own eyes, they make ISG very special and grow newcomers into school citizens.

ISG is not a 'conventional' business school. It is a terrific place for young talents with special pedigree as it will bring the best out of them. You may not have to be hyper-academic, but your energy and positive entrepreneurial abilities will be enhanced to very high levels if you embrace the school culture and values.

The world of disruption we live in will force you to be flexible, to develop a spread of skills well beyond a single diploma. Diversify your personal portfolio with masters and internships. Two more quick advises if I may: whatever you do, make sure you understand technology and its evolution: not how it works but what it does. And be fluent in English.

Accept the fact that you will have a 'volatile' career in many different industries, countries, jobs.

For some reasons that’s what happened to me and I wouldn't change anything to it.

Specially as there are so many jobs I still have not done.

The best is yet to come!

 

Thanks a lot Jean-François!

Florence Delsaux & Alumni Team

LONDON AUGUST 26, 2020



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