In 1964, the group’s parent company, Up (ex-Chèque Déjeuner), was established as a Cooperative (Cooperative and participatory company), a legal form which implies that “cooperators” are involved in every decision made by the company, at every strategic step. The governance of the group is based on three pillars: all employees/members, the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee.
Employees and members
The principle of "one person = one vote" is applied at each stage of development the Up group holding. Awakened throughout the year in the choice of the cooperative through the minutes of the Board of Directors every two months, the employees participate annually in a General Assembly to vote the strategic direction of the group.
All subsidiaries are outside the Social Economy model. But according to its corporate culture, Up group wants to strengthen its cooperative model involving a greater number of employees in the capital and developing the principle of participatory democracy.
Board of Directors
The Board of Directors is elected by the employee-members of the Up cooperative. The Board sets the guidelines for Up Group and monitors their implementation. Every four years, the Board also elects the Group’s CEO.
The Board has 13 Directors. Of these, 10 stem from the cooperative and its various services. The three main unions (CGT, FO, CFDT) that were present since the Group was established are each represented by an external Director. Lastly, 3 elected representatives from the Works Council also sit on the Board.
In 50 years, Up group has had only three CEOs: founder George Rino, 1964-1991, Jacques Landriot from 1991 to 2014 and Catherine Coupet since 2014.
Up group is organized in 5 geographical areas: Northwestern Europe, Mediterranean Europe, Eurasia, North America and South America. The 5 area Managers report directly to the CEO and rely on the Group’s 7 operational departments.
To ensure consistency between local initiative and the Group’s strategy, the members of the Executive Committee, which includes functional managers, area managers and the CEO, work with country teams in a spirit of co-construction.
Head of Public Affairs and Research, is also a member of the Board of Directors
"The dual role of employee and associate/member means to be both a "worker" (the person who implements) and a “boss” (the person who leads).
Reconciling the interests of both parties may seem complex, but is made quite fluid by our organization and our culture. The reason is that the status of employee/member enables us to apply good 360° management practices. These management practices pave the way for an exchange that is fair in terms of wage-earning and egalitarian in terms of membership.
The commitment and involvement of every individual in these exchanges, and this constant dialog, form the basis of participatory democracy in the company. A democracy, the sovereign expression of which takes place every year at the General Assembly.
Representative democracy sets the group’s strategic guidelines, oversees their implementation and manages the commissions that deal with key structural issues.
Furthermore, the members of the Board of Directors are employees who have a direct interest in the sustainability of the common working tool, namely the company, and not shareholders interested only in generating profit from work done by others.
Lastly, in addition to representatives of members, there are representatives of the Works Council who come from the trade-unions, and representatives of three national trade-union confederations.
As for the Executive Committee, it connects the employees and the associates. It implements the strategic guidelines as per decisions made by the Board of Directors, and ensures the dissemination of a form of management that is consistent with the values of the group, at every level and in all countries."
To go further…