Jean-Hugues Monier, Chevalier in the National Order of Merit
Cher Jean-Hugues, Chère Véronique,
Monsieur le Consul Général, cher Bertrand, Chère Laurence,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Cher amis, dear friends,
It is a great pleasure and privilege to be with you tonight on this very special occasion, as we are gathered here at McKinsey to honor Jean-Hugues Monier, a great professional, one of the most distinguished representatives of the French community here in New York who is also a great friend of America and a personal friend.
I would like to start by expressing to McKinsey my warmest thanks for such a wonderful welcome, with a special word of thanks to Kurt Strovink.
I would also like to thank Jean-Hugues’s family, friends and colleagues who have joined us here tonight to show their support and admiration, with a special word of appreciation to his wife Veronique, to whom I also want to pay tribute tonight.
Let me say a few word about the prestigious award, Chevalier in the National Order of Merit, that I will bestow upon Jean-Hugues Monier in a few minutes. The Ordre National du Mérite was founded by General de Gaulle in 1963 to acknowledge “distinguished services” to the French nation. It is one of France’s highest awards.
You were born in Angers in the Loire Valley, and you pursued brilliant studies at the Ecole Centrale de Lyon, one of France’s best engineering schools, later completed a Doctorate in Economics in 1990, at the Sorbonne University, and then decided to enroll at Notre Dame University in Indiana – which you consider your U.S. Alma Mater – and where you received a Master of Science in Engineering that was the beginning of a true love affair with America.
Fresh out of graduate school, you went to work for the government – nobody is perfect, and began a career as a staffer at the Ministry of Defense office in charge of International Affairs. For years, you contributed your professional skills and human talents to the booming defense industry, which was then undergoing major transformations.
You were part of the group that carried out the privatization and consolidation of the defense industry, a development that eventually led to the creation of EADS-Airbus. And you successfully negotiated a swap of the Ariane rocket capability with the US Department of Defense.
In 1999, you decided to take advantage of a mobility opportunity outside the Ministry of Defense. The original idea was to spend three years at McKinsey and then go back. But it went so well that you decided to stay.
Today, you are a Partner with the Corporate Finance & Strategy practice of McKinsey & Company.
As one of the leaders of this practice in the Americas, you regularly advise large global companies on issues relating to corporate strategy and growth.
As part of this exclusive club of the planet’s most influential executives, you are an authority in the fields of investing, trading strategies, and international capital markets.
As someone whose expertise is acknowledged by so many executives in New York, you have chosen to become deeply involved in various community-based associations. You founded the U.S French Executive Club, an amazing success story that brings the young business leaders of the two countries together. And you are President of the alumni association of your French Alma Mater, the Ecole Centrale de Lyon.
Mon cher Jean-Hugues,
I also want to mention your excellent work as Conseiller du Commerce Extérieur de la France (French Foreign Trade Advisor): in that capacity, you have been tirelessly promoting trade relations between France and the United States, and I wanted to thank you for it tonight. Economic diplomacy is truly in your DNA.
As a specialist on the auto industry, you have shared your experience and expertise through numerous publications, including articles in the McKinsey Quarterly.
To take just one example, you had the opportunity to give a presentation on the French auto industry at the French Consulate in New York in April of 2012, alongside Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault-Nissan. McKinsey tends to be very discreet about their clients, but I received a note from Carlos Ghosn, who cannot be with us today, who is a great fan of yours, and is offering his personal congratulations.
I also want to thank you for your steadfast commitment to promoting French and, more broadly, European culture here in New York.
A distinguished mélomane [music lover], you sit on the board of the Clarion Music Society, one of the most prominent Baroque ensembles in the New York area. Until 2010, you were also a member of the Board of Directors of the New York Collegium. And you have been a board member at the Julliard School, promoting close ties with some of the most prestigious French cultural institutions.
I also want to acknowledge your commitment to the Association des Amis des Grandes Écoles Françaises [French Grandes Écoles Alumni Association], to the Council on Foreign Relation in New York, not to mention the World Economic Forum in Davos, which you attend regularly.
Let me add that you are a Knight of Malta as well as a member of the New York chapter of Legatus. You also serve as Director for the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation USA, which provides research, care, and advocacy to those with genetic intellectual disabilities.
So we can see that you are active on many fronts and on each of these fronts you bring your exceptional professional and personal skills and a big heart.
Cher Jean-Hugues, in recognition of your outstanding achievements and contribution to French-American friendship, it is now my privilege to bestow upon you the insignia of Chevalier in the National Order of Merit.
Jean-Hugues Monier, au nom du Président de la République et en vertu des pouvoirs qui nous sont conférés, nous vous faisons Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite.