Francois Feuillet has been with Lexmark since its formation 13 years ago. Having occupied roles in Portugal, Africa and Russia, Feuillet is now general manager at Lexmark Middle East. As the vendor strives to enhance its market share in the region, Channel Middle East thought it was time to "get to know" Francois Feuillet...
What is your career history to date? How did you end up working in Dubai?
I have been working in IT for nearly 30 years now; 13 years with IBM and the last 16 years with Lexmark since it was created. At Lexmark I was given the opportunity to structure new entities and help with restructuring in Portugal, Africa and the Middle East — my third such assignment. I was also sales manager for the export division in non-western Europe countries from Russia to South Africa.
What do you enjoy most about working in the Middle East IT market?
What I like about the Middle East is that it is an expanding market — full of promises in terms of geographic expansion and customer needs. For Lexmark, being a frontrunner in the printing industry, it gives us huge motivation to perform better, sell better and share our benefits with the customers.
What do you dislike most about working in the Middle East IT market?
I believe that there are too many deals that have nothing to do with product quality, cost savings or customer benefits. These areas should be the basis for any progressive relationship. Some companies miss out on real business opportunities in favour of the profit of individuals.
Which IT industry figure do you most admire and why?
I can’t say I admire one person specifically, but throughout the years I had several managers from Lebanon and I must say I learnt a lot in terms of business approach, business attitude and business efficiency. I must pay tribute to that business approach because its not Anglo-Saxon, it’s not French — it’s more Middle-Eastern and I really appreciate that way of thinking.
What are your top channel tips for the next 12 months?
We are issuing a channel distribution programme in January and if channel partners want to make more margins they should look at Lexmark’s offers. We want to partner for mutual benefits — we will really dedicate our offers for the best ones that really want to push for Lexmark.
How would you describe your management style?
I try to give targets to my employees. I help them to achieve their targets by being independent. As long as they succeed in their targets I can help them in structuring but I don’t do their work – they must find the energy and the skills within themselves to achieve the targets. I employ macro-management in that I supervise and then push them to achieve their own success.
What is the best deal you have ever closed?
Before coming over here my last assignment was large account sales director in Lexmark France and during that period we signed with France Telecom. On top of the revenue it created, it was a huge account that was trusting our ability to offer more and manage our customer needs better than anyone.
How do you like to relax outside of the work environment?
I always travel with my running shoes wherever I go. I have memories of early morning runs in the bush of South Africa, fields of England or sands of the Sahara and I keep on running even in the summer of Dubai. I also like to read about history, but in terms of really relaxing to the maximum it has to be running.