Focus on World Family Business Leaders | Marie Christine Coisne Coquette

This week Family Business Office, for its eighteenth edition of Focus On World Family Business Leaders , brings you Marie Christine Coquette, fifth generation heir and chairperson of Sonepar and Colam Entreprendre , the worldwide family business leader of electrical equipment.

Marie-Christine Coisne-Roquette was born on 4 November 1956. Marie’s great, great grandfather, Henri Coisne co-founded Sonepar with Léopold Lambert in 1862; it was a textile family business, and it later became a distributor of electrical equipment.

Coisne-Roquette graduated from Paris Nanterre University, where she earned a degree in English and Law.

Coisne-Roquette began her career as a lawyer in 1980, when she joined Cabinet Sonier & Associés.]She became a director of Sonepar in 1983, and joined the company in 1988. She has served as its chairwoman since 1998 and as its chief executive officer since 2002.

Coisne-Roquette is the founder and co-CEO of Financière de la Croix Blanche. She is also the founder of Roco Industries.

Coisne-Roquette serves on the board of directors of Total S.A. She served on the Executive Committee of the Mouvement des Entreprises de France from 2009 to 2013. She serves on the board of directors of the Association Nationale des Sociétés par Actions.

Coisne-Roquette is married to Michel Roquette, who serves on the board of the Association pour la Recherche sur Alzheimer with her. In 2016, she was worth an estimated €3.6 billion with her family. They are the 20th richest family in France.

In June this year, Sonepar Chairman Marie-Christine Coisne-Roquette was invited to be a guest on the podcast ‘Les Cafés de l’Après’, where she was interviewed by Jean-Pierre Letartre of Comité Gra​​nd Lille, on the subject of ‘Family-Owned Companies in the Face of a Crisis’. During the interview, Marie-Christine Coisne-Roquette spoke of how she was adapting to life in lockdown, Sonepar’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, and how its unique position of being a family shareholding company with a decentralized management structure, worked to its advantage and reinforced the Group’s resilience.

According to the Financial Times, Marie-Christine Coisne-Roquette is among the top 50 women in world business. The main reasons for appearing in such a prestigious ranking are her determination and the management ability that transformed Sonepar into the world leader in electrical equipment distribution. Not only has she been managing a multi-billion-euro company with offices in 35 countries and at least 32,000 employees, but she is also on the board of the oil company Total and chairs the tax committee of Medef, the French business association. At a time when some European countries are imposing female quotas on the boards of big firms she is undoubtedly a role model for many businesswomen.


( All factual and statistical information presented in this blog has been obtained from an extract of an article and ) Follow us on our Facebook page and Family Business Office website at

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