This week Family Business Office for its sixth edition of Focus On World Business Leaders brings you Vitalie Taittinger, president of the eponymously named champagne house, and fourth generation heir.
Notwithstanding , being in existence in excess of a century the family business goes from strength to strength and in its quest for becoming a world family business leader, we reach out to look into the newest fourth generation family member taking over the reins of this global family business.
Vitalie Taittinger is the daughter of Pierre Emmanuel and grand daughter of Jean Taittinger and great grand daughter of Pierre Taittinger, founder of the Champagne house of the same name. Vitalie’s father, Pierre Emmanuel joined the family business in 1976 and became Chairman in 2007 after taking over, with the help of the Northeast regional bank of Credit Agricole, the champagne business of Société du Louvre, previously sold to the U.S. pension fund Starwood. Pierre Emmanuel declared that he would not stay at the helm past the age of 65 and true to his word and as recent as January 2020 enter new president Vitalie.
Vitalie Taittinger is the eldest daughter of Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger. She has always been passionate about drawing, painting and design, and has a degree from the Emile Cohl School of Design in Lyon. She formed her own business promoting clients in the Champagne and gastronomy sectors, then joined Taittinger in 2007.
Today Vitalie uses her artistic talents at Champagne Taittinger. Her mission embedded in the family business motto: to develop and reinforce the image of the Champagne House. She embodies the unique style of the Taittinger Champagne House and pursues those everyday moments of joy. “As soon as you decide to live your life each day to the fullest, every day will quickly become more special and meaningful”. She lives in Reims with her husband and children.
In his final year of presidency, Pierre-Emmanuel announced that he was handing over the presidency of the house to Vitalie; Clovis, Vitalie ‘s brother, was named general manager. Asked whether this was a difficult decision, given that Clovis is the male heir and that Champagne houses tend to be somewhat conservative, Vitalie admits that this was a year-long process involving Pierre-Emmanuel, as well as chef de cave Damien le Sueur and other directors.
‘It’s been interesting. We have traditions in France, and as a father you project yourself more into your son. But at the same time, you’re thinking about him and feeling maybe this won’t be the best gift. It has to be a decision for the right reasons, and this is the moment when, more than ever, personal feelings have to be subdued.’
For Pierre-Emmanuel, the decision to cede control was easy. He had always intended to step down at 65 or 66, and did it. It can be a disaster for a company when the boss wants to stay too long. As he tells it, sharing out the senior positions was no more difficult. The company structure is democratic. ‘No single role is more important than another; every decision is taken by six or seven people. Clovis is running the global business, Damien is in charge of production and finance – he is a tower of control – and Vitalie carries the general spirit of Taittinger.
The Family Business Office will on a frequent basis be offering insights into World Family Business Leaders through our ‘Focus On’ features. Follow us on our Facebook page and the Family Business Office website at www.familybusiness.org.mt
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