Working women receive a slew of advice — lean in, lean out, be aggressive, but not too aggressive. We’re constantly inspired by the women who are paving the way and taking charge in the ever-evolving world of technology. Welcome to This Woman’s Work, a series highlighting how various women are advancing the tech industry, both professionally and personally.
This month, we’re chatting with Corinne Mrejen, Directrice Générale, Groupe les Echos – Le Parisien.
IX: Can you tell us more about Les Échos-Le Parisien?
CM: Les Échos-Le Parisien is the media branch of LVMH. It was the first group of national daily newspapers in France, including two large dailies, Les Echos and Le Parisien. These papers truly have have their finger on the pulse of French society, reaching 25 million readers monthly (in France alone), two-thirds of whom are reached via digital devices.
Right now, the group is working on developing a diversification strategy, allowing all of our brands to reach new readers and users through emerging formats (podcasts, video, etc.)
IX: And when did you join the company?
CM: I joined in September 2016 to help merge Les Échos and Le Parisien, after Le Parisien was acquired by LVMH.
IX: What does your role as Managing Director involve?
CM: Last year, Pierre Louette (President and General Director of Les Échos-Le Parisien) entrusted me with establishing a new pillar of the business, dedicated to monetization activities and growing our presence in new territories, called ‘Les Échos-Le Parisien Partenaires.’
This division aims to offer companies long-lasting and structured partnerships with Les Échos-Le Parisien through media, content, and events (while, of course, maintaining the complete independence of our newsrooms).
IX: What are your daily challenges?
CM: The main challenge is working to transform a consolidated business and understanding how best to prepare for the future. We — as a company, but also as an industry — are in a period of transition. It’s important that we listen and test out different approaches, while also staying close to the projects we’re working on day-to-day.
IX: Before stepping into this role at Les Échos-Le Parisien, where had your career journey taken you?
CM: I went from an agency to an advertiser and then to a media company. I first started at Ogilvy, then joined the group SFR – Cegetel (a telecom group) as Media Director, before returning to agency life to lead Publicis Groupe Média.
In 2008, I became Director of Groupe Figaro’s management, and in 2011, I became President of M Publicité (Group Le Monde) before joining Les Échos-Le Parisien.
IX: You’ve been a lecturer in several schools. What importance do you attach to sharing knowledge and your life experience? And how does this translate into your current position?
CM: Sharing insights from my own experience is really important to me, just as I feel it’s important to constantly be open to learning.
I have three grown children. For me, sharing this knowledge is not about shaping them, but rather about sharing a sense of values, culture, and experiences with them. In short, my goal is to open them up to the world, make them curious, and give them a taste for things outside of their immediate environment. Conversely, I have also learned a lot from them.
The younger generations have made us aware of the urgency of environmental issues, for instance, and the need to act and ensure we’re working towards a sustainable future.
I take this state of mind, this openness to learning, with me when I go into schools to lecture, and I strive to apply it to my daily life as well. Within my teams at work, we work to share insights and feed each other knowledge. I like to give my teams a great deal of autonomy, and I’m very open to any and all new ideas and projects that can help us evolve and advance as an organization. My goal is to provide guidance and support to help everyone succeed in bringing these new projects and ideas to life.
IX: In the theme of constantly learning, what’s something you wish you’d learned earlier in your career?
CM: To be bold and audacious! In the words of Véronique Sanson (a famous French singer), “Celui qui n’essaye pas ne se trompe qu’une seule fois” — one who does not try is mistaken only once.
IX: The digital advertising industry is stereotypically known as a “masculine” industry. In your opinion, how can we advocate for more diversity and parity?
CM: In terms of parity, I support policies that help us achieve a better balance. And the good news is that this trend is already underway, largely thanks to women who are moving the needle in larger organizations, like Maud Bailly, the Chief Digital Officer at Accor, or Lubomira Rochet, the CDO at L’Oréal.
IX: To that end, can you tell us more about the women who inspire you?
CM: I admire Simone Veil and Elisabeth Badinter (two outspoken figures in the French feminist movement) for the courage they’ve shown and their sense of conviction. I also admire Françoise Giroud for throwing herself into the world of journalism when it was almost entirely male-dominated, and lastly, Laurence Bloch for transforming radio network France Inter.
If I were to add two others, I’d say Nicole Notat, who was one of the first to defend the idea that companies should also contribute to society, and Isabelle Kocker, one of the first women to lead a CAC 40 group — ENGIE — which places the environment at the heart of everything it does.
IX: That’s great to hear. On a lighter note, we’d love to end by hearing what you enjoy doing outside of the office?
CM: I read everything — really, everything in the press! I read physical newspapers, but also on my phone (which I’m never without). More generally, I’m a big fan of films, books, and visiting exhibitions — especially after having a green tea at Village Saint-Paul.