Florian de Joannes: A Story of Passion and Invention

18 MAY 2020

Florian de Joannès is an entrepreneur at heart and also in his genes. His career is a blend of the agility of digital start-ups and the expertise of large industrial companies. This wealth of experience has enabled him to head the operations at Grundfos, the world leader in hydraulic pumps, in seven countries around the world.


Entrepreneurship and invention are all in the family for Florian de Joannès. One of his ancestors was Ampère, also from Lyon, who was a pioneer in the measurement of electricity. And his family is very much a part of the French industrial landscape. So when he started his working life, he quite naturally turned to innovation and entrepreneurship. He divides his professional life between France and the United States where he supervised marketing and web development for nearly 10 years for promising companies such as Adobe, Macromedia and Esker which are behind some of the most widely encountered solutions today.

He came back to France determined put his digital knowledge to good use in the service of large industrial companies. “I wanted to work in what I considered to be the real economy and help these companies to do business with the new digital tools,” says Florian de Joannès. He was first spotted by Carrier, the inventor of air conditioning, where he first took charge of digital and then the marketing department for France and Belgium. He joined Grundfos A/S in 2011. This Danish family group employs 19,000 people worldwide and has been manufacturing hydraulic pumps since 1945. He reorganized sales methods and the way they are followed up, and then took over the management of operations in 7 countries.

The big gap between the digital and the industrial worlds became his daily concern. He innovates, makes people flexible and pushes them to perform. He appreciates being able to rely on a proven structure, processes and methods to give more impact to his actions.

Education with the emlyon business school Executive MBA

In 2018, Florian de Joannès turned to education and chose the Executive MBA offered by emlyon business school, attracted by its "maker" mindset. Something he had been wanting to do for a long time. “I'd been thinking about it for ten years or so. I wanted, and needed, to take a step back, go deeper into certain subjects and share things with my peers. It was also important to obtain an internationally recognized qualification, since my initial studies were relatively short, like many entrepreneurs," adds Florian de Joannès.

The personal development modules enabled him to take that step back, and also improve his self-knowledge. Florian de Joannès learned how to delegate better to his managers, and how to do more in the area of environmental management where teams with very different profiles - the combination of which is the true key to the success of companies - need to be helped to work in synergy. He profoundly changed the way he works and improved his skills in managing complex, international sales. He worked on his abilities in the field of strategy, long-term risk management and business disruption scenarios. He also bonded very strongly with the students in his year and met some exceptional people who were to become real allies in his life, both on a human level and in terms of complementary skills.

Maker Bridge Corporate Executive

When it was time to choose his second year specialization, he turned to Maker Bridge - Corporate Executive. This course enabled him to deepen his skills in finance and international development. Florian de Joannès also took part in a week-long learning trip to Shanghai to meet entrepreneurs and major local companies.

This Maker Bridge offered by emlyon business school gives participants the opportunity to orient their learning according to how they wish to pursue their career. For Florian de Joannès, it was about becoming more firmly rooted in the general management of large groups. “I chose this specialization because it was broad enough to give me a good understanding of the world. It has given me the necessary perspective for management functions in large groups, with a capacity for more informed decision-making. I was also able to look inwardly and understand how to marry the qualities required of a director of a large group with those of a director of an SME. In large groups we too often forget what makes small companies successful and agile. And for their part, small companies are not familiar with the ratios and methods of large companies that would allow them to save precious time as they grow," Florian de Joannès points out.

With the emlyon business school Executive MBA completed, in addition to his role, he took on responsibility for innovation and finding new business models for Grundfos. “My role is to anticipate what tomorrow's world will look like,” he says. And that is an exercise in invention that has become indispensable in these times...

Maker Bridge Corporate Executive course
Leading in an international environment

Large international companies operate in multiple environments that are complex to grasp. Directors are able to identify strategic opportunities and understand the processes and relationships between the people involved. The requirements are high and mastery of the various areas of expertise is indispensable. Through the Maker Bridge Corporate Executive, emlyon business school supports Executive MBA participants in their skills development, helps them to quickly reach a high level of influence and increase the impact of their strategic decisions.