A Chat with Christophe Gaigneux,EVP, Boston Apparel Group,
CS: Where did you grow up?
CG: In Brittany, in the western part of France.
CS: How long have you been with Redcats?
CG: It depends on what you call Redcats. I've been with Redcats since '99 when I joined the PPR group as part of La Redoute in France. La Redoute for us is the biggest brand of the Redcats Group and the daughter group of 4.5 billion Euro group of PPR, of which Redcats USA is a part. I then joined Redcats USA in 2003. I was appointed EVP of the Special Sizes group in New York. And I recently moved to the Boston area. Actually, I'm sort of between positions, as my successor for the Special Sizes group has not yet been named. I've got some work at both places.
CS: Prior to joining PPR in '99, had you had any experience with cataloging?
CG: Well, prior to joining Redcats USA, I got four years of experience in cataloging from 1999 to 2003 at La Redoute. It's a catalog and Web business. Prior to 1999, I was in retail. I spent most of my time prior to that in retail.
CS: What was your biggest challenge in the first few years on the job with Redcats?
CG: Back in '03 when I joined Redcats from France, I had two major challenges. One was related to culture. The big challenge was to understand the cultural differences not just between the two parts of the company, but between the two countries, the U.S. and France. It was my first assignment outside of Europe. A specific challenge was trying to facilitate internal discussions, debates and initiatives. People were not used to speaking up as much as I wanted them to speak up. I had to create an atmosphere where debate was encouraged. I wanted people to come up with their own ideas and initiatives, to be more proactive. Pushing the different departments to work together, the organization was a little bit siloed. Also, pushing mobility and internal promotions.