10 May 2021
Seizing opportunities as they come along
François-Xavier Roger, Grande Ecole 1984, Executive Vice President and CFO of Nestlé
A truly international executive, Francois-Xavier Roger has lived on four continents. He learnt the ropes of high finance by joining pharmaceutical company Roussel Uclaf as their controller in 1986. The Frenchman stayed with the group for 14 years, relocating as mergers occurred, and climbing the ladder to a VP Finance role at Aventis International in Tokyo. From 2000 to 2008, he was CFO Asia for Danone, and later the group’s Head of Finance, Treasury and Tax. He then became CFO of Millicom, a global mobile phone operator based in Luxembourg, before taking up the role of CFO at Takeda, Japan’s largest pharmaceutical company.
He has demonstrated a stellar professional track record, ascending to his current position as Executive Vice President and CFO of Nestlé, the largest food conglomerate in the world. On paper, this trajectory is the work of a calculating careerist. In reality, Francois-Xavier Roger admits that he did not have any specific outlook or dream until late, nor any ambition to reach a certain leadership level. His approach has always been to seize openings as they presented themselves, in an opportunistic way:
I have tried constantly to remain open, seek challenges, and take risks… which is not always easy, but has paid off for me in the long run.
We chat with a leader who exudes an air of humility and gratitude: “Look at this magnificent view from my office, over Lake Geneva with the Alps in the background!” he beams whilst turning his screen for us. And we discover his unconventional views as to what it takes to be a successful CFO and what ambition should really be about.
To mark Audencia’s 120th anniversary in 2020, we have launched our very first iconic alumni collection. Each year we will showcase the amazingly diverse profiles and career paths of Audencians from around the globe. The ten alumni that you will discover in the following pages have very generously given up their time for an interview with fellow alumna, Katia Hérault (GE 2001), for which we are immensely grateful.
Discover the first 10 portraits here