Alumnus of the month: Christophe Chenut, President, Christophe Chenut Conseil SAS
Once a month, we showcase a member of Dauphine Alumni. This month we are proud to present Christophe Chenut.
"Young entrepreneurs have a lightness, a belief in utopia, and even a touch of madness that are the keys to success"
What did you study at Université Paris-Dauphine?
As far as I can remember, I did a Master's in Management (MSG) with a double major in marketing and finance.
What is your fondest memory from your time at Paris-Dauphine?
To be honest, I was not extremely studious nor was I heavily involved in university life; on the other hand, I spent a lot of time on the squash courts in the basement … I improved my game a lot while I was at Paris-Dauphine.
Have you stayed in touch with your classmates?
I have kept in touch with many of my Dauphine classmates, particularly those in the year below me (my best friend stayed back a year).
How did your studies a Paris-Dauphine advance your career?
Paris-Dauphine always made it possible for me to work and study at the same time, thanks to a class schedule that grouped classes two-and-one-half mornings a week. So I was able to gain solid professional experience working in communications agencies and in accounting departments. I really did a sort of "apprenticeship"/work-study before the letter throughout my studies, so that wen I graduated with a Master's degree, I could honestly justify concrete professional experience.
What image do you have of Paris-Dauphine today?
If I were a student today, I imagine that I would never be admitted to Paris-Dauphine, because the university is far more selective than it was in my day. How do I see Paris-Dauphine today? Much more as a grande école like HEC or ESSEC than as a normal French university.
What advice would you give students who would like to create a start-up?
GO FOR IT! I started my first business at 24. You have to start young, because that's when you have very little to loose. A lot of people in my generation think that now's the time to start their own business in order to capitalize on their expertise and know-how … but in reality it's much more difficult to take risks when you have a family, children and a certain standard of living. The younger you are, the less momentous things seem; young entrepreneurs have a lightness, a belief in utopia, and even a touch of madness that are the keys to success. But you also need a good idea and, if possible, business partners, because going it alone is difficult and riskier. You also need to have an entrepreneurial spirit, not be afraid to question yourself, to fail and start over, and be capable of convincing bankers, clients and your team.
Christophe Chenut graduated from Université Paris-Dauphine in 1984, and received his MBA from HEC in 1986. Following HEC, he becomes editor of Création magazine (Groupe Stratégies). In 1987, with Xavier Roommate, he launches Directing a direct marketing agency. In 1993, he sells the company to the DDB advertising group that merges it with their Rapp Collins subsidiary. President of Rapp Collins France, then Rapp Collins Europe, he is appointed COO of DDB France in 2000. In March 2003, he leaves DDB to become Managing Director of the Equipe press group (L’Équipe, L'ÉquipeTV, lequipe.fr, France Football, Vélo Magazine, etc.).
In 2008, after five years with the L'Equipe during which he drove significant growth and diversification (web, TV, creation of Sport&Style magazine, acquisition of the Journal du Golf …), Christophe Chenut is appointed CEO of Lacoste. At Lacoste, Chenut lead the company to realize the highest profits in its history, before stepping down in 2013 following the sale of the company.
In 2013, in partnership with Nicolas Beytout, he creates a new digital and print magazine, L'Opinion, coordinates the launch and runs the magazine for 2 ½ years as managing Director.
Since 2016, Christophe Chenut devotes his energy and expertise to consulting, entrepreneurship and investing via CCConseil (Christophe Chenut Conseil SAS).
Alongside his professional activities, Christophe Chenut was been President of the Stade de Reims from 1996-2004 and has been a member of the Board of Paris Saint Germain, the Paris professional soccer team, since 2009.