Part of complete coverage on
L'Oreal CEO: European economies need to think like companies to survive
April 19, 2012 -- Updated 1744 GMT (0144 HKT)
- L'Oreal's CEO says that Europe's economies need to find their global niche
- Like companies, they need to find their area of expertise to survive
- Germany has done so succesfully, but Greece has not, he says
- Identifying France's role in the global marketplace should be an election issue
London (CNN) -- L'Oreal harnessed the French reputation for elegance to become a global cosmetics giant -- and the company's CEO says European economies should apply similar logic to escape their current woes.
Jean-Paul Agon, L'Oreal's chair and chief executive, said European countries need to identify areas of expertise to succeed in the global marketplace -- just like companies.
"You have to specialize yourself in some areas where you are going to be [in] the top league worldwide," he said.
European countries had great potential if they could only find their niche, he added. "Europe could be rich (given) the diversity of its countries, the diversity of its expertise, as long as each country is able to maximize its success, its potential in its own field."
If a country, like a company, wants to develop its business -- to grow -- it has to grab business from all around the world
Jean-Paul Agon, L'Oreal's chair and chief executive
Agon has worked for L'Oreal since joining the company in 1978, with stints heading its operations in Greece and Germany -- an experience he said had given him unusual insight into Europe's current predicament.
"Based on this experience, I can see that it is very difficult for these two countries to live under the same currency," he said.
"I think the German economy is successful because they have found their role in the worldwide economy. I think Greece has also to define what they can be good at, and what they will be known for, and famous for around the world."
Identifying France's particular area of economic potential should be a priority issue in the upcoming election, he said.
"France has talents that no other country [has] ... in terms of luxury, in terms of technology. This is something the world needs and France has a great role to play."
Other European countries needed to do the same thing -- then work in unison as a cohesive economic bloc. France and other countries of Europe needed to unite and define objectives and ambitions, he said.
Each economy was now competing in a global marketplace, "whether we like it or not," he said. "If a country, like a company, wants to develop its business -- to grow -- it has to grab business from all around the world."
To that end, Agon said he expected emerging markets would drive L'Oreal's expansion in the immediate future. Growth is likely to come from China and Brazil, he said, where the middle classes are booming.
"You have hundreds of millions of consumers really want [ing] access to these products," he said.
Part of complete coverage on
April 12, 2013 -- Updated 1246 GMT (2046 HKT)
Turkey is a "source of inspiration" to show how Islam and democracy can go hand-in-hand, the country's deputy prime minister has told CNN.
April 5, 2013 -- Updated 1257 GMT (2057 HKT)
Bright, shiny and emblazoned with names like Ferrari and Lamborghini -- these brakes are almost as stylish as the cars they're hidden within.
March 21, 2013 -- Updated 1723 GMT (0123 HKT)
EasyJet's new London to Moscow route is an opportunity to attract more business travelers, according to the low cost airline's chief executive.
March 21, 2013 -- Updated 1745 GMT (0145 HKT)
If you're a business traveller in Europe, you'll no doubt have complained at length about the regions' airlines, be it the cost of a plane ticket or the quality of the food or the delays.
March 8, 2013 -- Updated 1032 GMT (1832 HKT)
European demands for the steel industry to cap emissions by 2020 are "unachievable" with current technology, according to an ArcelorMittal executive.
March 7, 2013 -- Updated 1851 GMT (0251 HKT)
At Oknoplast's production site outside Krakow, Poland, windows of all shapes and sizes are stacked up ready for delivery.
February 22, 2013 -- Updated 1647 GMT (0047 HKT)
We receive them almost on a daily basis; text messages alerting us that our taxi is outside or our dentist appointment is tomorrow.
February 22, 2013 -- Updated 1645 GMT (0045 HKT)
What happens when you mix detergent, cosmetics and a bucket load of adhesives? You get a multi-billion dollar German corporation called Henkel.
February 7, 2013 -- Updated 1824 GMT (0224 HKT)
It is said that the devil would never dare cross the River Tamar into Cornwall for fear of ending up as a filling in a Cornish pasty. The legend, it seems, could just be true.
February 7, 2013 -- Updated 1839 GMT (0239 HKT)
Europe needs to cut back on its red tape and be more competitive if it is to succeed on a global stage, according to Diageo's chief executive.
January 17, 2013 -- Updated 1735 GMT (0135 HKT)
Booms, busts and bubbles are all jargon you might associate with today's troubled Irish economy. But now you can add "beans" to that list.
January 17, 2013 -- Updated 1734 GMT (0134 HKT)
Multinational companies see Ireland as the "gateway" to investing in Europe, says the boss of the country's largest food company.
January 25, 2013 -- Updated 1155 GMT (1955 HKT)
UK Prime Minister David Cameron's voiced his intentions to let the British people vote on Europe. The mayor of London says it's all part of democracy.
January 11, 2013 -- Updated 1326 GMT (2126 HKT)
It started with one man peddling lavender and rosemary oil at local markets -- now it's a business valued at $4.8 billion.
January 10, 2013 -- Updated 1845 GMT (0245 HKT)
Jaeger LeCoultre CEO Jerome Lambert talks about the benefits of being part of a larger group.
December 27, 2012 -- Updated 1507 GMT (2307 HKT)
CNN's Richard Quest explores how European business leaders have dealt with the financial climate in 2012.
December 27, 2012 -- Updated 1451 GMT (2251 HKT)
CNN's Richard Quest looks at how European businesses have performed amid a cold climate of austerity.
Click here to read more of the top business stories from across the continent brought to you by the Marketplace Europe team.
Today's five most popular stories