In the third episode of The Choice Makers, Frank Bournois meets Caroline Parot, CEO of Europcar Mobility Group, a company specialising in mobility solutions with operations worldwide. Passionate about mathematics and economics, Caroline Parot recounts her career development, gives perspective on the evolution of the world of mobility and shares with us the lessons learned from her professional journey.
What are the essential skills needed to succeed as a leader in a rapidly changing industry?
Becoming a crisis management specialist
The profound evolution of the mobility industry was accelerated by the Covid-19 crisis. As an example, the group’s turnover lost 70% in three weeks, so it was necessary to adapt very quickly and adopt the right position for the survival of the company:
“In crisis management, a crisis comes to you. The question is: Are you considering that the company or the business unit deserves the fact that you need to fight to overcome the situation? Either you decide you will win over the crisis, whatever the development will be, or you die with the crisis.”
“When you consider that you are leading a company or an industry which could go on and even do better after the crisis then you start to say: ‘Ok, we are not going to fall. We are going to either survive and transform or win the story.’ And then you tell your team that the situation is painful, but we are going to survive and people start to believe that there is a life after a bad moment and the energy comes back immediatly.”
Combine a helicopter view with the ability to delve into the operational details
To be effective over the long term, this ability to manage crises must be combined with two inseparable skills: the ability to deal with strategic issues and, at the same time, the ability to deal with operational details, which often have a huge impact on the business. Caroline Parot is known for combining both to excellence. Where do these skills come from? Caroline Parot explains:
“My finance and audit background helps a lot. When you start your career in finance or in an audit firm, you start to learn from the bottom and you build your vision. Fundamentally, the beginning of my career helped me to be able to look at the details, but we were also exposed directly to the executive committees. So at the early stage of my career I was managing both aspects.”
In my type of company, if you are not able to know the starting point, you can have the best vision in life but you are going nowhere.
After six years at the helm, Caroline Parot will be leaving her CEO position to take on new challenges outside the organisation. What’s up next?
To learn more about Caroline Parot’s secrets of success, but also about the place of digital in tomorrow’s mobility challenges, the place of eco-responsible transport in professional and private uses, or the transformation of service industries, connect to your podcast platform to discover this episode of The Choice Makers.