Patrick Roux: Combining delegation and empowerment to reach greater heights

Executive Patrick Roux believes in the power of his team in the pursuit of establishing a stronger presence in Asia Pacific, including Indonesia.

IMG_2776Patrick Roux is aware that building a solid team takes more than just strong leadership and clear vision. No less important is the ability to balance the differences within an organization.

“Cultural and character differences have the potential to create conflicts within a team. However, if communicated in a right direction, the differences can lead to a collaboration of great values,” said senior vice-president of Air France KLM for Asia Pacific.

He recalled the merger of Air France and Dutch airline KLM in 2014, in which both entities have generated more revenues ever since. Despite the different business cultures, Roux said that the merger had successfully overcome the differences and collaborated toward creating a global vision. The merger was international and so the complexity and stakes were increased.

Roux began his more than 20 years of experience in the airline industry working in the quality management department for all North American stations . Following his vast array of responsibilities, his current position now is where he envisions Asia Pacific as a lucrative destination for the Air France KLM business.

At the helm of the Asia Pacific business, Roux has managed to increase the routes in the region. Currently, Asia Pacific accounts for around 25 percent of Air France’s long-haul flights, with Japan and China leading the markets.

Next is Southeast Asia, which shows tremendous potential for Air France and KLM to further grow. “We have 90 flights flying in and out of the region. And with Jakarta being a new Air France destination, the potential is getting even bigger,” he said.

IMG_2777Roux added that the new destination was an addition to KLM’s daily Jakarta-Amsterdam flight. “It’s a great combination of the two brands. You can fly from Paris to Singapore with Air France and then connect to Denpasar with KLM; or take KLM from Amsterdam to Singapore and connect to Jakarta with Air France. This combination is available daily. In addition to the 14 flights a week to Paris or Amsterdam, there are around 230 flights of worldwide connection opportunity you can take, with destinations such as Africa, Europe, North and South America, and more.”

Roux was in Jakarta in July taking part in the celebration of the inauguration of Air France’s Jakarta-Paris flight. The merger has resumed the route, which had been closed for a decade.

Air France, under the umbrella of Air France KLM, now operates a daily service to Jakarta, continuing on from Singapore. The service is operated at night on both the outbound and inbound flights. Air France operates flights to Jakarta using a Boeing 777-300, with 303 seats comprising eight in la première class, 67 in business, 28 in premium economy and 200 in economy.

Asked what led Air France to reopen the route, Roux said, “Aside from Indonesia’s improved economy and tourism sector, there are many French institutions that are based in Indonesia, especially Jakarta. And let’s not forget the service excellence delivered by both airlines. Combining the strengths of each, we are now merged into a bigger company with a more solid team that delivers better service.”

Seeing Indonesia as a country with a great potential for tourism, Roux said that Air France KLM was currently developing a joint-venture plan with Garuda Indonesia. “The plan will improve the operations of each party toward better future growth.”

In his effort to maintain and continuously improve service excellence, Roux uses a combination of delegation and empowerment in his management approach.

Overseeing more than 1,000 employees is surely no easy task, especially with Roux being based in Paris. There are only 15 people in Paris and fewer in Amsterdam. The rests are in six different offices in Bangkok, Singapore, Sydney, Beijing, Tokyo and Seoul, respectively. Businesses in Indonesia and Malaysia are under the Singapore office.

“I delegate those who are in charge of each office. They all report to me. Delegation is crucial, but it won’t work without putting trust in them. So we need to inject the aspect of empowerment, which can help those who you trust to lead gain power and also become leaders,” he explained.

“Combining delegation and empowerment helps to foster a sense of self-worth. Japan is very different from Indonesia, so are Australia and China. But despite the differences we have in the six offices, we share the same value, which is establishing a global vision to meet the market demand in Asia Pacific. With more routes on the map, the need to establish a stronger team is also increasing,” he asserted.

Roux believes in the importance of setting targets as a key business strategy. “We spend a lot of time in team discussions on what we should achieve in our financial and business performances. But more important is the way we should take the business to achieve the targets we have set.”

Making decisions in a discussion, he continued, should be in a consensus way. “Everyone in a team should be empowered, so each can give their best contribution to ideas. More ideas gathered pave the way for better decision making.”

He also said that he and his team had to contend with far-flung locations, different languages and laws. “With the right delegation and positive empowerment, these barriers can be solved. The right management is the key. But you have to understand that management is not only about the person, but it’s the combination of the people you manage. The result of the people you manage measures your management success.”

Patrick Roux

Place and date of birth

Grenoble, France, April 5, 1966

Experience

Senior vice-president of Air France KLM for Asia Pacific since September 2013. Previously was senior vice-president of Air France KLM for America (Sept. 2010 – Aug. 2013), Air France KLM senior vice-president of marketing (2008-Aug. 2010), Air France marketing director (2002-2008), deputy of the Air France chairman’s executive cabinet (1999-2002).

Education 

Holds an MBA from the International Institute for Management Development (2007) and a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications (1989).

At Ease

Passion for travel 

Traveling is in my DNA. I love visiting cities in Asia. Many cities in this continent have the vibrancy that breathes great spirit. I find European capitals are so fascinating with their rich history, especially the presence of theaters and museums which are great for cultural activities. I also love visiting national parks and natural landscapes in the US. 

Staying fit 

Doing sports is an inseparable part of my life. I regularly run in the morning and also run marathons. Tennis is a fun sport activity. Despite my busy schedule, I always do my best to spare time to play tennis.

Fusion foodie 

I like different types of cuisines; Asian, European, you name it. I consider myself a foodie and food is one thing that I also treasure when traveling. But what I really like the most is fusion food. I like to mix different cuisines into one dish.

Text and photos by  Aulia R. Sungkar. Published in The Jakarta Post on August 9, 2014. 

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