Interview with Marc Albérola

Marc Albérola CEO of the Eranove group

“Our success is based on a long-term, sustainable vision”

How would you define the Eranove group's management structure?

The Eranove Group is based on an original management structure. For operational work, our management culture promotes the decentralisation of decisions, delegation of authority and empowerment at all levels, from the most humble operations employee to the management at the top.

In this way, each subsidiary develops the in-house skills that are necessary for its work. This expertise specifically calls on internationally recognised technical partners to benchmark themselves in relation to best practice and to develop innovation. The parent company isn’t in the business of taking over the subsidiaries’ expertise. It is committed to its management role, particularly in terms of identifying strategic and potential issues.

And in terms of development, what is the management structure?

The development phase only lasts a few months to a few years, the construction phase lasts a maximum of 4 years, but operation lasts for 25 years or even more! The most important aspect of our development is our ability to run new facilities, that is to say, our management skills. Our core business is ensuring O&M (operation and maintenance) using local skills and expertise that sustain operational performance and the lifespan of the facility.

During the development phase, each project is led by a project director. The project director establishes a structural ecosystem that combines the expertise of the parent company team (particularly in terms of management, contractual and financial engineering with appropriate financing for each project), the expertise of the subsidiaries’ operations, internationally-renowned business partners and local partners that benefit from specific local knowledge. This ecosystem makes all the difference and allows us to offer expertise that takes a different shape in order to respond to the specific needs of each project. This ability now means that we are able to consider projects alongside each other that are very different, geographically and structurally.

As soon as our projects reach the operational stage, they are led by locally-recruited teams. Key skills are identified in the design and construction period and people are trained in these skills in operational facilities and through our training ‘Academies’. We are, therefore, able to bring in and train these African teams, and that makes a difference.

What is the key to success in Africa?

I am driven by several beliefs. Firstly, quality maintenance, what I would call operational diligence, is key. Plants in Africa are subjected to particularly harsh climatic conditions, more so than in other locations. Therefore, maintenance is essential. We have demonstrated our ability to manage government sites and plants in an effective manner. At CIPREL, where we began the fourth phase in February 2016, availability rates of more than 96% over the last three years, outside of scheduled maintenance, are a perfect illustration of the skill that defines us.

This operational diligence is the result of a lot of experience, and it is confirmed each year with QSE certification (ISO and OHSAS) for our entire production base. This is why we place particular emphasis on the group’s mosaic of African expertise. A mosaic that is the result of our ability to foster African talent: all of the plant managers of the group’s companies come from countries on this continent. A mosaic that is also based on training, particularly through our Academies that specialise in water and electricity trades in the Ivory Coast, and that is based on a management policy that prioritises decentralisation of decisions, delegation of authority and empowerment.