We had announced the disembarkation of Clément Mousset and Cédric Rivoire-Perrochat from the CFC (Compagnie Française de Croisières) like many fellow journalists. We were sad for the leaders and incomprehensible for such a sudden decision.
The alternative investment fund is English
Cheyne was founded in 1999 by Jonathan Lourie and Stuart Fiertz, who are currently Executive Director and Chairman respectively of Cheyne Important Management (UK). Cheyne Capital created its first fund in 2000, it now specializes in corporate credit, equity and equity-linked funds. Cheyne is one of the largest alternative asset managers in Europe with management mandates from pension funds, foundations, family offices and funds of funds. The group currently employs approximately 140 people based in Paris, London, New York and Bermuda.
A financial decision
Presumably Cheyne’s decision is linked to financial results. We may be surprised by the departure of managers after barely 3 or 4 months of activity. Clément Mousset and Cédric Rivoire-Perrochat thought they had time on their hands. Unfortunately, fund managers only see financial results. It can easily be estimated that the expenses incurred for the renovation of the ship (the Renaissance), the delay in work and operating expenses were higher than expected. The sentence is terrible because if the press release specifies that the two directors of CFC are on the supervisory board; the reality is an outright landing.
Philippe Mahouin’s mission is not going to be simple
He will have to reassure the market about the continuity of the Compagnie Française de Croisières. Philippe Mahouin, although he has been working in the world of tourism for a long time, does not have much experience in cruising. The new boss of CFC, after spending a decade at Club Med, stayed less than two years at Ponant, between 2011 and 2013, as sales and marketing director of the company. He held the same functions from 2013 to 2016 at Seine Alliance. He then went through Vacance select before arriving in 2019 within the Belambra Clubs group, where until last July he was Director of Revenue Management, Distribution and Digital.
Pursue the mission but keep an eye on finances
In the press release, he indicated: “I am very happy to join CFC to write with all the teams the next chapter in its history. Clément and Cédric built CFC on a vision, that of French-style cruising, where the French flag embodies a premium experience with ships on a human scale. The results of the first season initiated at the end of June are very encouraging and validate this concept. The objective for CFC is to pursue this vision, and accelerate its commercial development by remaining as close as possible to the expectations of its customers.
A validated concept
The vast majority of Renaissance passengers, in particular those accustomed to maritime travel, praised the ship, the quality of its service, its gastronomy, its shows and its very original itineraries. The concept of French-style cruises imagined by Clément Mousset and Cédric Rivoire-Perrochat has thus been validated, as CFC recognizes in its press release.
A decision that will not be without consequences
The choice to sideline the two main people responsible for this adventure is risky to say the least. Clément Mousset is a professional known and appreciated by the entire profession. The distribution network is clearly disrupted by this major change. We are waiting for the rest because the investment fund is now focused on the financial results. We may have to reduce spending. Which during the launch period is problematic.
What about Clément and Cédric who will surely not remain inactive?
In the meantime, we wish Philippe Mahouin good luck. He has quite a challenge!