The benefits to our French-language clients of co-ordinated cross-border cooperation.

7 April 2022

“You are not well positioned to meet client needs effectively as an independent service provider to the domestic market only. Not at the level we operate.” That’s Nicolas Rogier, Managing Partner of AIMS International France, who says the big players in international executive recruitment meanwhile only focus on multinationals and other very large organisations. 

“We take a third approach by offering our expertise as a global boutique. We are on the ground in several countries, where we can directly interface with our French-speaking clients, but we are supported by an international network of partnerships and global practice groups.”

Nicolas Rogier is explaining why the combined forces of AIMS partnerships in France, Belgium, Morocco, and Switzerland are more than the sum of their parts. The group currently comprises 15 people: 10 Managing Partners and consultants and five in the back office. 

All of the constituent partnerships have a strong executive search offering. Senior consultants have typically held managerial roles in the private or public sectors. They have been recruiting all of their professional lives and have a firm idea of what effective recruiting processes look like. Talent management is a particular focus of the Swiss office, but France and Belgium also provide it, and they are actively working to expand their capacity in that area over the next couple of years. The French office has expertise in corporate governance and social responsibility too. 

The partnerships contribute to all of AIMS International’s global practice groups but are nonetheless recruiting new consultants to cover a wider range of industries. Consultants generally have 10 to 20 years experience in sectors ranging from industrial, automotive, manufacturing, defence, and life sciences to finance, media, FMCG, human resources, and sales and marketing – at multinationals through to SMEs, at home and abroad. Together, they speak 10 languages. The idea is to build on that diversity of experience so that the partners in France, Belgium, Morocco, and Switzerland, can offer clients who are active in the widest range of markets both deep industry and cultural know-how and the agility or flexibility that results from close cross-border cooperation. 

“Our priority is to build an efficient network with our AIMS colleagues from other countries,” says Nicolas Rogier. “We believe in the importance of closer collaboration for the benefit of AIMS clients everywhere, as many of them have interests in France. We are excited to cooperate with our peers and create synergies based on our complementary backgrounds and expertise.”

Our team in Morocco on: foreign direct investment

Morocco became independent on 7 April 1956, but French continues to be an important language in business there 66 years later. French has no official status (Arabic and Berber do), but it is a compulsory subject at school, and about 35 percent of the country speaks the language. Several French companies have back-office functions located in Morocco as a result. (Spanish companies have sometimes done the same because there is Spanish-language proficiency in the north of the country.) Morocco’s location, relative political stability, and business friendly policies are other factors driving foreign direct investment. The pandemic has made Morocco more attractive to European companies that want to shift production from China to better maintain supply chains, and the country’s engineering talent has aroused interest from businesses moving out of Russia and Ukraine.

Our team in Belgium on: remote work

From the right to be offline and the so-called four-day working week to providing greater flexibility to working parents and protecting gig economy workers, Belgium has been actively advancing work–life balance in the public and private sectors. The trend has been there for a while, but the Covid-19 pandemic sped things up. Remote work didn’t hurt productivity, but it did force leaders to adjust the way they manage. If they had continued as before, digitally-engaged workers would have burned out fast. Another priority was to provide alternatives to the Kaffeeklatsch – the kinds of informal interactions at the workplace that build bonds and spark new ideas. A related concern, shared by companies around the world, is how to maintain a company’s culture when co-workers rarely if ever meet physically.

Our team in Switzerland on: global competitiveness

The International Institute for Management Development ranked Switzerland the most competitive economy in the world last year. The landlocked country’s economic vitality and diversity result from government policy stability, public–private cooperation, strong emphasis on R&D, great infrastructure, excellent education, and deep talent pools, as well as a long-term international orientation. These benefits have sustained the technology, machinery and automation, life sciences, chemicals, and luxury goods sectors. They – especially technology – will drive growth in the coming years and boost the country’s attractiveness for top talent, even as the financial services sector suffers from regulatory changes.