Interview with François-Xavier Hotier, General Manager Russia, Parfums Christian Dior

Selection_210What is the main difference between French and Russian Business Cultures?

Definitely you find a lot of energy in the Russia, with young people improvising and becoming businessmen or entrepreneurs, implementing new ideas and projects they import from abroad. Young managers are eager for success and making money quickly. It’s a pity that we have lost this energy in France, where people are looking forward to securing their jobs in a very competitive market, in the context of crisis, and are obsessed by the quality of life.

What are the main differences that you have noticed in terms of living here?

There aren’t really that many differences. The active generation in both countries enjoys restaurants and bars, cinemas and theatres, exhibitions and concerts… Maybe it’s more about a lifestyle in France, while in Russia it’s about showing off your status to yourself and your friends… You know, in a cool place with a nice lady and a bottle of wine, we French and Russians are all the same!

Is it important for a French business person to live in Russia in order to understand the way of doing things here?

There is no other choice if you want your stay and career here to make sense. Now you can work in Russia like in any other country. There are big corporations here, you follow procedures, speak English to your team, etc. It’s another story if your job is to deal with Russian partners, speaking the language, traveling to the regions and being challenged everyday in this huge country with such a strong identity! Drinking vodka is not enough! You must also enjoy the Russian banya!

Where do you go in Moscow when you want to be reminded of France?

I fly quite often to Paris so I don’t miss France so much. And I’ve been in Moscow for 13 years now so I organize myself quite well so as not to feel homesick. My apartment is a small French territory in the big Russian capital, open the fridge and you’ll find wine, cheese and Dijon mustard. You’re in France!