Mr. Pirio, could you tell us about your professional career?
Antoine Pirio: I’ve followed an atypical path. First, I got an engineer’s degree. I worked for 10 years in the subcontracting of automobiles in Haute-Savoie and Lyon. I had to manage teams of 300-400 people.
Then I took the management of two ALPES factories that manufacture ventilation systems, each with 100-150 employees, for 6 years.
At the same time, I did an MBA course between 2013 and 2015 in Lyon to improve my skills in strategy and finance.
I started the venture by co-founding the startup Lyon Factoryz, a company that provides labor and equipment loans between companies, until the end of 2018, when I left my partners to embark on a new adventure. The development of our startup was at a turning point, and we were entering a phase that didn’t interest me that much.
I looked for opportunities and the Compagnie Des Alpes (CDA) was looking for a different profile for the direction of Deux Alpes Loirs. It was a good combination of circumstances.
Two elements were the triggers:
– The domain of the activity: I ski since I was very small. I love the mountain both in summer and in winter. This is an area of activity that attracted me a lot.
– The particular context of Les 2 Alpes, which is a resort and ski area in full change, with a project to transform the destination. Today there is a real challenge to get back on track.
What are your goals as the head of Deux Alpes Loisirs?
Antoine Pirio: Today I have very clear goals, as I take the ambitions of the CDA group to the site.
We have to deal with 3 main transformation problems:
– The first one refers to the ski area. The latter is aging, so we must modernize it entirety and extend it. We have to look for skiing on the sides of the area. We need to provide customer service, and the area has barely changed in this section. Customers no longer ski all day from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m, they are looking for new experiences and more fun activities in the area, both for children and adults. The digital tecnologies must also be more present in order to bring a new experience to the customer within the ski.
– The second refers to the transformation of the resort. This is a project that we are carrying out with the municipality of Les 2 Alpes on the ecosystem of the resort. The resort has been really delayed in this area. For example, we don’t have an aquatic fun center, while today that has become a basic requirement for any great destination. We also want to increase the number of hot beds. We strongly support real estate programs and the CDA funds many rehabilitation projects or new projects of this type. In recent years, 20 million euros have been invested in real estate. We have programs that are being implemented to convert cold beds into warm beds. Cold beds represent around 20-25% of all beds in the resort. Deux Alpes Loisirs is a very present actor at the resort and it works closely with these projects.
– The third concerns the company and its operation. The company must evolve in its practices. I want to contribute rigorously, but also contribute with agility and collaborative practices. We currently have 450 employees in high season, and great professionalism in the teams. With my training and my professional experience, I will have to adjust my administration mode, since my goal is to gain efficiency and generate innovation.
What are your motivations? Why do you get up in the morning?
Antoine Pirio: I like challenges. I must admit that I have the soul of a competitor. My ambition is to change the tourist destination.
It’s necessary to wait a lot and pay attention to the different actors of the resort, and there is a certain need for momentum.
I feel good in this role of pushing everyone. I am here to give this impulse.
Up to date, what has been your greatest professional achievement?
Antoine Pirio: It’s a bit early to talk about professional success. The fact that I don’t come from the mountain world has raised many questions to the various stakeholders. I’m from Nantes and I settled in the Lyon area for 15 years. I think I have managed to integrate myself into this world, which is sometimes a bit closed. I have been interested in different trades, I have tried to understand.
Due to my training, the technical side of the lifts has not been an obstacle, since we find the same modes of operation per process than in the industry. I have enjoyed discovering new trades, especially those related to maintenance and safety on the slopes.