Business Development Manager
First off Matthieu, will you tell us a bit about yourself, your current job and career leading up to your current residence in Melbourne?
Well, the people who know me best say that I am committed, passionate and a bit stubborn. I would like to believe that’s a compliment.
I was born in Normandy, France, where I did all my studies until I moved to Marseille. After finishing my degree in international trade and logistics at KEDGE Business School in Marseille, I joined CMA CGM head office to work as an area manager for the east coast South America to Europe lines. Even though that role and the accompanying opportunity was great and allowed me to understand how shipping works, my intention, since my business school days, had always been to work overseas. This was so that I could develop myself personally and professionally by discovering and learning about other cultures and markets.
I guess if you really want something, you’ll get it, and after six months, CMA CGM offered me the opportunity to move to Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania, with the task of developing sales. Luckily for me, at that time, CMA CGM were pushing hard to build their network through landlocked countries and develop their intermodal activities. I ended up spending three years in East Africa, developing intermodal activities through the East Africa region, from roughly southern Sudan to northern Mozambique, and covering countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Zambia, Malawi and Uganda.
After three years in East Africa, I was then appointed as commercial manager for the Cameroon agency and contributed to the opening and launching of agencies in landlocked countries, such as the Central African Republic and Chad.
After spending five years in Africa, I was offered an opportunity to move to Sydney, Australia, to develop and grow sales for CMA CGM. I ended up spending four years there. It was only recently, exactly a year ago actually, that I was offered the opportunity to join Melbourne’s leading brand here in Oceania, ANL, and develop the group activities over the Oceania region while setting up an ANL breakbulk desk.
So far, I must say that I feel I’ve been extremely lucky regarding the different opportunities I have been afforded by the group. These opportunities have allowed me to develop my competence in different areas, while learning about different cultures. What a journey so far!
You have travelled the world, I know. Where would you say was the best holiday experience you ever had?
Among all the destinations I’ve had the good fortune to visit, I must admit that I keep a secret list of the places I would like to revisit someday.
Tanzania holds a very special place in my heart, and I remember so many great moments. The variety of landscapes is amazing. There are activities for everyone, whether you like hiking or sunbathing, the landscapes are breathtaking and have remained untouched. Mt. Kilimanjaro is one of the tallest mountains one can climb with no oxygen assistance. Tanzania also hosts one of the oldest African national parks (Ruaha/Serengeti) that allow you to discover so many amazing landscapes (the mythic savannah, the bush, the jungle and one of the oldest and deepest lakes in the world). While saying that, should you prefer sunbathing, Tanzania offers several tropical islands, such as the magical Zanzibar and Mafia islands. Your stay there will allow you to see nature at its best, whether it’s the big five or whale sharks!
Moreover, the richness and kindness of the Swahili people will just nail it and make your experience there unforgettable.
What exactly are you looking for when you go on holiday?
First and foremost, I like to consider a holiday to be an opportunity for me to focus on my fundamentals. This is precious time given to you to do the things you love and recharge your batteries. Whether I’m spending that time with my family, my friends or by myself will determine what I want to do and what I am looking for to refresh myself the most.
But no matter what, I just want to quickly disconnect from work and any stress and just enjoy every moment.
Tell us about your worst travel or holiday experience ever?
It’s very hard for me to pick any, to be honest. Travelling is always an experience and there are always things to take out from it. Whether it was a positive or a negative experience, you always learn something.
I also try to have no or low expectations, because by doing so, you tend to avoid any disappointment.
If I must pick one: South Africa was a bit disappointing. For some reason, my image of that country was very focused around ‘the rainbow nation’, but once I got there, the overall atmosphere, particularly in Cape Town and Johannesburg, prevented me from connecting with it. It’s a beautiful country, don’t get me wrong. But yeah, that didn’t ‘click’.
Many people nowadays need a holiday after the holiday to recover – in other words, they have trouble relaxing. Is it hard for you to fully relax during your holiday?
As I mentioned earlier, being driven by challenges and career, I tend to invest myself a lot in my work, therefore I try to switch off when I’m on holiday, so that I can relax and enjoy that time. I have learned to put the phone away. Still, sometimes with the industry in which I work and the associated pressure to react quickly, I have had moments where I couldn’t disconnect and therefore had a feeling of not being relaxed and in a need of a second holiday. Now I always put my phone away.
The only time I need a holiday after a holiday is when I go back home to France. It’s not for a bad reason, totally the opposite actually, but when you haven’t seen your family for a year, trust me, it’s intense! I always leave with my heart full of love, but yes, in a need of some time to relax.
What is next for you on the holiday front? Where do you intend to go and why?
After the incredible time I had at Burning Man, my next short holiday planned will be in Byron Bay. My best friends recently moved there, and I think the place has some sort of unique vibe and energy that is perfect to recharge your batteries. I will also get the occasion to practice my surfing skills and in warmer water than in Melbourne!
Also, in December, I am travelling back to Europe for ten days (Normandy and Lisbon, where my wife is from) to enjoy Christmas and the good food that goes with it, with our families.
Since you are in shipping and many of our readers are shipping and logistics people who might want to get more information from you, would you mind sharing with us your contact details?
I’d be happy to connect with your readers. It’s a small world!