Awards & RecognitionsBack
However, Lindsay Owen-Jones has never forgotten that his company was founded by a researcher. He insists on the technological quality of his products, which guarantees a long market life. “We have increased research budgets in good years and bad,” he points out. This strategic choice is a way of favoring long-term investments rather than immediate profit.
Mr. Lindsay Owen-Jones adds, “Our corporation depends on women, and not only as clients. Two thirds of the L’Oréal researchers working on long-term projects are women. Moreover, to promote new scientific vocations the world over, L’Oréal and UNESCO have created a joint five-year program called “For Women in Science”. The purpose of the joint program is to encourage women to take up careers in science and in fundamental research. L’Oréal’s President has also opted for quality in terms of organization. He doesn’t hesitate to entrust his younger managers with important projects. Another example of the forward-looking spirit that earned L’Oréal’s CEO the respect and admiration of Europe’s financial and economic journalists’.
The title of “Best European CEO” most particularly honors Lindsay Owen-Jones' qualities as a visionary. In his own words: “Ours is a useful profession that helps people feel better about themselves and in their relationships with others. This is a profession in which you must be half administrator and half poet.”
“Born To Be President”
...L’Oréal’s President tells us about his life and his priorities.
“I was born in Wales in 1946. My father was a very strict engineer and my mother was a rather Bohemian Latin professor who played the piano. I inherited something from both of them.”
“When I’m in Paris, I get to my office at 9:00 AM. I get up early, but before going to the office, I go running in the Bois de Boulogne. That relaxes me so that when I arrive at the office, my head is clear.” He divides his twelve-hour days into three distinct parts: “I dedicate one third of my time to territories, brands and sales, another third to the most difficult and most important part of my job—people and promotion from within, and another third of my time to stockholders, media contacts, legislators and to the outside world in general.”
“I’ve done many foolish things that the stockholders don’t appreciate. I have taken part in motorcycle races...and I almost killed myself on the Jarama circuit while driving a McLaren that I was going to drive at the race in Le Mans.” Lindsay Owen-Jones also pilots helicopters, but he prefers sailing races.
His says his weekend are “almost sacred” and he spends them with his wife, who is from the Piedmont region in Italy, and his thirteen-year-old daughter. His wife loves to ski as much as her husband does. In his words, his daughter is, “ cute, studious and athletic...so far so good.”
and, of course, L’Oréal
At L’Oréal, “I didn’t find a job, but an entire life.” Thirty-two years ago, when he was selling Dop shampoo on the routes of Normandy, had he already thought about becoming President of L’Oréal one day? “Actually, I think I had. Perhaps I shouldn’t say so, but I think I thought about it from the very beginning.”