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Cambodia & Interview : Cyril Girot, new president of the CCIFC, " to promote the country and support the business community ".

After the Ordinary General Meeting of the Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie France Cambodge (CCIFC) on Tuesday evening, Cyril GIROT, Managing Director of Cambodia Airports (VINCI Airports' subsidiary in Cambodia), became the new President of the CCIFC, succeeding his predecessor Soreasmey Ke Bin, who completed two successive terms.

Cyril Girot, new president of the CCIFC (right), alongside outgoing president Soreasmey Ke Bin.
Cyril Girot, new president of the CCIFC (right), alongside outgoing president Soreasmey Ke Bin.

Alongside him, Sarah Lubeigt, the dynamic boss of Mintha Care Co, ltd (Bioderma), has become Vice-President, while Cindy Nguyen (senior manager at BRED Cambodia) will take on the role of General Secretary. We'll be reporting in more detail on the members of this new board and this election in a future issue.

 

Interview

 

First of all, congratulations on your election. Did you expect it, and how do you feel about it?

First of all, I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to each of the candidates for their personal commitment and for the worthy and effective campaign they all ran. I would also like to extend my warmest congratulations to each of the new directors elected in these elections.

I would also like to thank all the voters who chose to vote for me in these elections, thus highlighting both the work accomplished and the prospects outlined for the CCIFC’s future action. Together with the previous Board of Directors, including the outgoing CCIFC Executive Committee, we have worked hard to implement strong initiatives designed to boost the French-Cambodian business community. Today’s results reflect the recognition of our efforts over many years. Our achievements have enabled the CCIFC to develop and consolidate its position as a benchmark among chambers of commerce.

“This is why I would like to pay particular tribute to the work carried out by the previous boards of directors, including their offices, particularly recently under the impetus of the outgoing president, Soreasmey Ke Bin.”

He was very active and fully committed in his subsequent positions as vice-president (2 terms) and president (2 terms).

During the last mandate, we were fully committed to benefiting the chamber and serving the business community. The idea is to build on this momentum and continue to move the Chamber forward. In this respect, we will be keen to capitalise on the success of Samdech Prime Minister’s visit to France last month. It had a special resonance, not only in France, but also in Cambodia. It set a number of milestones for the Franco-Cambodian business world. In the months and years to come, they will help to strengthen the relationship between the two countries in all areas – including the economy. It’s up to us, the Franco-Cambodian business community, to take strong, concrete action and collectively “surf” the wave. The next France-Cambodia Business Forum, organized by the CCIFC and the CCEF, will take place in June 2024.

It’s been said that there was a Soreasmey method, a strong and committed method. Will there be a Cyril method, or will you continue in his footsteps?

Alongside Soreasmey, I was very involved in the previous board, and played a full part in the actions implemented. So, today, the idea is to ensure continuity with everything we’ve already been able to put in place. We have a clear strategic focus on promoting trade between France and Cambodia, encouraging bilateral investment in specific projects, and supporting the development of Franco-Cambodian businesses.

“At the same time, I would also like to emphasise the role that major French groups present in Cambodia can play in supporting the business community. First and foremost, of course, is VINCI.“

VINCI is a CAC 40 company which arrived in the country in 1995 to manage airports. Today, VINCI Airports ranks first among Western investors in Cambodia, with nearly a billion dollars invested in the country’s infrastructure since its arrival here. Its subsidiary, Cambodia Airports, plays a key role in the Kingdom’s development: in the social and cultural fields, in addition to the economic and tourism development it generates, and the leading role it plays in the environment. With the contribution of our know-how, encompassing our partners, and drawing on our local network of Cambodian airports as well as our international network of 71 airports managed by VINCI Airports worldwide, we are making a major contribution to supporting and energizing the French-Cambodian business community.

I mentioned VINCI, but there are also other major French groups that have been present in the Kingdom for several years, such as ACCOR, TOTAL Energies, BRED, Bioderma, Legrand, Veritas, Décathlon and others.

As part of the CCIFC’s activities, we all play the role of a catalyst for French business in Cambodia and facilitator for French companies wishing to invest in the country.

You’ve also been a French Foreign Trade Advisor (Conseiller du Commerce Extérieur de la France - CCE) for some time now

Up until now, I’ve even held three hats: I was Vice-Chairman of the CCIFC and Vice-Chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce (Eurocham Cambodia); I'm also very involved in my role as Foreign Trade Advisor. I’m going to keep these last two mandates, in addition to the presidency of the CCIFC, so I’ll definitely be wearing three hats! It’s true that this represents a considerable personal commitment. Although these are obviously voluntary activities, carried out in one’s ‘spare time’, this personal investment in the service of the community remains key. It’s part of the support that we, as managers of large companies, can provide to the business community.

Foreign trade advisors devote part of their time to missions that are essential to the France-Cambodia relationship. They benefit the business community in general, and French-Cambodian companies present in Cambodia or planning to set up there, in particular.

‘In addition, it is essential that we continue and develop the involvement of the French community within Eurocham. The French chapter is the largest in terms of membership, and was also one of the founding chapters of Eurocham – alongside the other two: the German and English chapters.’

It is therefore important that the French chapter continues to play the dynamic role it has always played with and within the European Chamber of Commerce, from its origins to the present day. I’ll be keen to continue energizing this relationship.

What do you think of tonight’s elections?

Generally speaking, I’m very satisfied with the way the elections were organized, and with the turnout of voting companies (95% of the 118 registered). I would like to pay tribute to the mobilisation and interest shown by CCIFC member companies in these elections, which is a guarantee of legitimacy for the future action of the newly established Chamber.

‘I would also like to underline the hard work carried out by the CCIFC team to ensure that these elections were held under such good conditions, and congratulate them on this. “

I’m also very pleased with the Board of Directors that has been formed, with many areas of expertise represented. We have good representation from the legal side with two lawyers; and the hotel, banking, transport, healthcare, construction and human resource sectors are also part of the panel. So we have diversity not only in expertise, but also in the sector. We are also fortunate to have a Board of Directors and an Executive Committee with equal representation, which we have succeeded in putting together on the basis of consensus and unanimity.

In this respect, I would like to pay tribute to the sense of collective interest we saw during these elections.

 

About Mr. GIROT

The new Chairman, Cyril GIROT, is a graduate engineer from the École Polytechnique and the École des Ponts et Chaussées. He also holds an MBA from the Collège des Ingénieurs de Paris-Torino-Stuttgart.

Career

Mr. GIROT began his career in the energy sector. After working for Marathon Oil in Aberdeen, he joined Total as an analyst in the strategy department in Paris. Based in Dubai, he went on to work for Vallourec as Marketing Director for the Middle East. He then became an industrial strategy consultant at Areva, a French multinational specialising in nuclear power and renewable energies. Mr. GIROT made his first foray into the airport industry in 2016 when he was appointed CEO of Clermont-Ferrand Airport.

Prior to joining VINCI Airports, Mr. Girot worked for VINCI as project manager for a 150 km section of the Moscow-St. Petersburg freeway, and was also involved in the extension of Santiago airport in Chile.

Before joining the VINCI Group, Mr. Girot held positions of responsibility in two French ministries. First at the Ministry of Energy between 2010 and 2012, in the Directorate General for Energy and Climate, where he steered the State’s strategy for nuclear waste and the dismantling of nuclear sites. Then, from 2012 to 2015, at the Ministry of Transport, he was Director of Operations for national roads and freeways in two departments around Paris.

Since 2019, Mr. GIROT has held the position of Managing Director of Aéroports du Grand Ouest, a VINCI Airports subsidiary that operates and manages three airports in western France (Nantes, Ancenis and Saint-Nazaire), where he played a central role in managing the COVID crisis and then (re) developing traffic.

Appointed Managing Director of Cambodia Airports (VINCI Airports’ subsidiary in Cambodia), Cyril GIROT took up his post on August 23, 2022.

 

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