Le Cross-Channel Institute est un think tank indépendant, un groupe de réflexion à but non lucratif, visant à favoriser les relations d’affaires économiques Franco-Britanniques grâce à des études, analyses et débats, et à apporter une vision innovante et pérenne aux entreprises françaises et britanniques, à nos membres et aux institutions.

Joint Interviews

The Institute, whose objective is to facilitate business flows on both sides of the Channel, presents here the best practices implemented by companies - whether French or British - to ensure their establishment and growth in the neighbouring country.

These "success stories" confirm that, whatever the political context, the priority of companies is the importance of the market, an ambitious vision and strategies adapted for sustainable development.

Business segment : Aeronautics

Le Cross-Channel Institute est un think tank indépendant, un groupe de réflexion à but non lucratif, visant à favoriser les relations d’affaires économiques Franco-Britanniques grâce à des études, analyses et débats, et à apporter une vision innovante et pérenne aux entreprises françaises et britanniques, à nos membres et aux institutions.

Michel Dubarry
President, Rolls Royce Motors

Rolls Royce Engines In a few words:

I am fortunate to work for a group that is called the "pioneer" of innovation. Audacity and agility are the key words of our 50,000 employees. Our group operates in strategic markets through its three divisions: Civil Aerospace (civil aeronautics), Defence (aeronautics and naval defence industries) and Power Systems (power generation systems for various land, rail and maritime applications, as well as civil nuclear). In 2018, our turnover exceeded £15 billion (€17 billion). In France, Rolls-Royce has approximately 800 employees at 6 sites. A resolutely European company, our group employs around 10,000 people in Germany and 3,800 in Spain.

What is the history of your development in France?

Our history with France is in line with Franco-British relations, and in particular the "Lancaster House Treaties". Among the historical examples, I could mention the first aircraft engines produced by Rolls-Royce at the beginning of the First World War, some of which were licensed by Renault. Or the role of Rolls-Royce in the Battle of Britain - the turning point of the Second World War - which powered the Royal Air Force fighters, including the famous Spitfire, and then many Free French Air Force aircraft. Our relations are therefore very old with, in particular, many aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce within the French armies. We were also pioneers in the Aerospace adventure, powering the first Caravelles, the Concorde with Safran, and today all the large Airbus aircraft: the A330, A350XWB and A380. This explains why we currently power part of the fleets of many French companies operating aircraft developed by the world's two leading aircraft manufacturers, Airbus and Boeing.

Who are your main clients?

While Rolls-Royce is generally known for its aeronautical activities, we are also very active in the field of energy and power generation, particularly with land, rail, maritime and naval applications of MTU diesel engines, but also civil nuclear power. In France, Rolls-Royce is a true partner for major industrial players and civil and military operators. We are constantly developing our partnership relationships with French airlines, armed forces and contractors, including our partner Safran. In addition, we also have many French suppliers, generating with them a turnover of approximately 300 million euros.

The keys to success

We want to be the world's leading industrial technology company. It is in this spirit that we continue to invest. Our investments in innovation amounted to more than £1.4 billion in 2018. A considerable part of this budget is devoted to the development of environmentally friendly propulsion systems. We also support a global network of 31 university technology centres, positioning Rolls-Royce's 16,500 engineers at the forefront of scientific research, and we also participate in R&T projects with major French players, particularly in the context of the EU's "Clean Sky" programmes, particularly with Safran, which demonstrates the importance of our relationships with major French players.

How important is the export market in your business segment and for your company?

Our group supports the major projects of the main export clients in many markets. This is also the case in the context of major European defence programmes. As you know, in both the civilian and military sectors, our industry is based on exports. This year, moreover, is one of the aspects of the subject of the USAIRE Student Awards, a student competition that I created 14 years ago, then President of the association: "The defence aeronautics industry in the face of the return of protectionism in a multipolar world: from civil to military and vice versa, which industrial strategies? ». Perhaps we will have the pleasure of discovering new solutions in the students' work to address these issues. 

A word for the future

Two words if you will allow me: Europe and Youth.First of all, because it is necessary to recall what Europe really represents and to improve communication on European projects. Secondly, because it is on youth that the future rests. We are actively engaged in the recruitment of apprentices and young graduates as well as in the development of our employees' skills. We are also very involved in the promotion of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) activities to attract young people to industry. In France and Europe, with the USAIRE Student Awards in the aeronautics sector, we are bringing today's leaders closer to tomorrow's leaders. In the same way, we support a similar action in the field of energy, as with the "Spark! Contest" with Fance and Great Britain. The future of our industry depends to a large extent on the attractiveness of new talent.

A testimonial about the Cross-Channel Institute?

These personal and professional interests have prompted me to put my experience to work for the Fondation Bordeaux Université, of which I have been President since December 2017. With my team, we are helping to bring universities closer to industry, innovation and youth. As such, as a representative of Rolls-Royce, I consider the initiative of the Franco-British Chamber of Commerce & Industry to be a promising one, and I am honoured to participate in the launch of the Cross-Chanel Institute. The activities of my company, like those of many others, testify to the richness of the exchanges and friendship between France and the United Kingdom. And in this context, the creation of the Institute takes on its full meaning, in particular for the preparation of future relations. In my opinion, part of its activities could be devoted to industry and youth.

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