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Rémi Cornubert

From Passion to Purpose: Rémi Cornubert’s Impact on the Automotive Landscape

Innovation is the lifeblood of the automotive industry, and exceptional leaders are its staunch advocates. They foster a culture of creativity and risk-taking within their organizations, encouraging teams to push boundaries and challenge the status quo. Whether it’s pioneering new propulsion technologies, enhancing safety features, or revolutionizing the driving experience, innovative leaders drive progress and propel their companies ahead of the curve.

Beyond business acumen and technical expertise, exceptional leaders in the automotive niche demonstrate empathy and compassion for their employees. These leaders foster a culture of inclusivity, respect, and empathy to create a supportive work environment where employees and clients feel valued.

Rémi Cornubert is leading with the same leadership style, where he is committed to delivering value to his clients at Strat Anticipation. Based on his trust, Rémi has built a brand name leading to happy clients like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, and so on.

Rémi’s Journey in the Automotive Industry

Rémi’s journey began with a childhood passion for sporty cars and racing, which only grew stronger as he pursued his studies and obtained a PhD in physics. His career in the automotive industry took off as he delved into developing simulation software for modelling combustion within internal engines, a role he dedicated eight years.

After a stint in research, Rémi furthered his education with an MBA from INSEAD and transitioned into consulting, initially with Mercer Management Consulting, later rebranded as Oliver Wyman. During this time, while working on projects for Renault, BMW & also Renault/Volvo Trucks, he reaffirmed his commitment to the automotive sector, recognizing its challenges, intensity, and innovation as perfect complements to his lifelong passion for cars.

Over the course of a few decades in consulting, Rémi’s focus remained on the mobility industry, which he viewed in a broad sense encompassing not just automotive, but also trucks, railways, aerospace, and maritime. His extensive experience spanning strategy and operations provided him with invaluable insights and a deep understanding of the industry dynamics.

Despite nearly thirty years in consulting, Rémi’s enthusiasm for the automotive field has not waned. He continues to find it endlessly fascinating, with each passing year bringing new challenges and opportunities for bringing valuable insights to his clients while still learning. Particularly noteworthy has been the industry’s response to environmental pressures, which has driven innovation and the emergence of new business models.

In essence, Rémi’s journey is a testament to the enduring allure of the automotive industry, where passion meets purpose and the pursuit of excellence knows no bounds.

The Journey of Strat Anticipation

Rémi founded Strat Anticipation three years ago with several clear objectives in mind. Firstly, he sought greater independence and a chance to spend more time directly engaging with clients, projects, and his teams. Having experienced the administrative burdens of larger consulting firms, he desired a shift towards a more client-centric focus, free from the distractions of internal coordination, politics and reporting obligations.

Secondly, Rémi aimed to establish a strategy boutique specializing in automotive, sustainable mobility, and energy transition. Recognizing the critical role of materials in both innovation and the energy transition, he expanded the firm’s scope to include materials-focused projects, drawing on his experience working with chemical and material companies since 2010. By narrowing the firm’s focus to these key areas, he positioned Strat Anticipation as a niche player with deep expertise and insights tailored to the specific needs of clients in these sectors.

Finally, Rémi wanted to offer personalized consulting services to clients of all sizes, a feat often challenging within the rigid structures of larger consulting firms. By breaking free from the constraints of a corporate business model focused primarily on securing large-scale projects, he has been able to provide bespoke solutions to a diverse range of clients, from multinational corporations to startups and SMEs, as well as professional associations in Europe.

The success of Strat Anticipation is evident in its diverse portfolio of projects within the automotive industry. From batteries and power electronics to e-motors, connectivity, ADAS systems, biomaterials, and material recycling, the firm covers the entire value chain, tackling complex and cutting-edge topics that are driving the future of mobility and energy. Rémi’s ability to deliver tailored strategies and insights to clients across these domains underscores the value of his approach and the effectiveness of his boutique consultancy model.

Leveraging Technology Expertise for Business Growth

Rémi’s extensive background in Research and Development (R&D) has proven to be a significant asset in his transition to strategy consulting. While his passion for technology remains strong, he has leveraged his R&D experience to provide invaluable insights to clients seeking to enhance their strategic initiatives, accelerate growth, and enter new markets, all of which invariably involve technology considerations.

Having spent three decades in consulting, Rémi finds himself drawing on his R&D expertise on a daily basis. Whether it’s delving into the intricacies of a specific technology, analyzing its potential, or guiding clients on whether to pursue or abandon a particular technological avenue, his ability to navigate the intersection of technology and strategy is unparalleled. His nuanced understanding allows him to assist clients in crafting technology roadmaps, evaluating innovation portfolios, and identifying areas for expansion or consolidation within their technological endeavors.

From screening innovation portfolios to recommending projects for acceleration or abandonment, Rémi’s consultancy, Strat Anticipation, consistently delivers actionable insights rooted in his deep technological acumen. Clients benefit from his keen insights and credible recommendations, which stem from years of hands-on experience in the R&D realm. His unique ability to bridge the gap between technology and strategy positions him as a trusted advisor in an increasingly complex and technology-driven business landscape.

Insights into Manufacturing Excellence

Rémi’s professional journey also encompasses significant experience in manufacturing, albeit not as central to his expertise in technology and strategy. During his tenure at Kearney and Oliver Wyyman, he was involved in numerous projects aimed at optimizing operations within manufacturing environments. While such projects are less common in his current consultancy landscape, there is one notable exception: the manufacturing of  E-Powertrains.

In recent years, Rémi has spearheaded several projects focused on the manufacturing processes associated with E-Powertrains. These projects have encompassed various facets of manufacturing, including the assembly of electric motors, power electronics modules, battery cell production, battery pack assembly, and even fuel cells for hydrogen-powered trains. Notably, his consultancy has also delved into the intricacies of manufacturing high-pressure tanks for hydrogen storage, highlighting a diverse portfolio within the manufacturing domain.

Moreover, Rémi recognizes the significance of innovation in manufacturing processes, viewing it as a crucial complement to product innovation. His consultancy remains attuned to emerging trends and advancements in manufacturing, leveraging a focused approach to address manufacturing innovation where it intersects with its strategic objectives. Despite manufacturing being a secondary focus, his expertise and pragmatic approach ensure that his consultancy remains agile and responsive to the evolving needs of clients operating in technologically advanced sectors.

Navigating the Consulting Landscape

Rémi’s leadership style is characterized by openness, a commitment to delivering maximum value to clients, and a reliance on robust, fact-based analysis. At the core of his approach lies a dedication to truthfulness, even when delivering potentially unfavorable news to clients. He firmly believes in providing honest feedback, even if it means diverging from a client’s initial direction.

This candid approach has forged longstanding relationships with clients built on trust, a quality that Rémi considers paramount in the consulting industry. Contrary to his initial expectations upon founding his consultancy, he was pleasantly surprised by the rapid growth of his business, attributing it to the trust clients place in the individuals they work with rather than the brand name alone. This realization underscores the significance of trust in fostering successful client relationships.

Within his team, Rémi cultivates an open culture devoid of hierarchy, where ideas are freely exchanged, and contributions from all members are valued. He acknowledges the unique perspectives and insights that younger team members bring to the table, recognizing that diversity of thought enhances the team’s collective problem-solving abilities.

Over his three-decade-long career, Rémi has honed essential soft skills, recognizing their importance alongside technical proficiency in consulting. Initially steeped in logic and Cartesian thinking, he has come to appreciate the nuances of human behavior, organizational dynamics, and the need for consensus-building within client organizations. This evolution underscores the indispensable role of hard and soft skills in successfully navigating complex consulting engagements.

Furthermore, Rémi has learned to trust his intuition, a skill he once disregarded in favor of rationality. He now recognizes the value of intuition as a complement to analytical reasoning, allowing him to better serve his clients by incorporating a holistic understanding of their needs and dynamics.

Navigating Automotive Industry Challenges

Rémi’s approach to consulting is rooted in a commitment to uncompromising analysis and a forward-thinking perspective on industry megatrends. His role is to help clients anticipate and adapt to these trends, transforming risks and threats into lucrative business opportunities. In the automotive industry, he identifies several pressing challenges, foremost among them being the imperative to reduce environmental impact.

With stringent regulations such as the Green Deal in Europe, which mandates a ban on internal combustion engines by 2035, automotive companies face the monumental task of transitioning to electrification while managing legacy businesses effectively. This necessitates striking a delicate balance between embracing electrification and maintaining market viability for traditional internal combustion vehicles.

Connectivity and associated services present another significant challenge. While electrification and connectivity have seen considerable progress, the adoption of autonomous and shared mobility solutions has been slower than anticipated. As a result, industry players are adopting a more cautious approach, focusing on gradual implementation rather than rapid deployment.

Moreover, societal pressure to minimize natural resource extraction has led to a paradigm shift in product development. Regulations now demand increased recycling of end-of-life products, particularly in emerging industries like battery manufacturing. For example, the European Commission’s regulatory package for batteries mandates the inclusion of recycled materials in battery cells, reflecting a fundamental shift towards sustainability and circularity in product design.

In response to these challenges, automotive companies must rethink their approach to product development, prioritizing factors such as carbon footprint reduction, recyclability, and the incorporation of recycled materials. Rémi and his team assist clients in navigating this transformation, guiding them through the process of reengineering their product development strategies to align with evolving regulatory and market demands.

Overall, Rémi’s consulting philosophy revolves around helping clients embrace change, capitalize on emerging opportunities, and navigate industry challenges with foresight and agility. Through robust analysis, strategic foresight, and a commitment to sustainability, he empowers automotive companies to thrive in an ever-evolving business landscape.

Vision for Urban Mobility Transformation

Rémi’s optimism shines through as he views the myriad challenges facing the automotive industry as opportunities for innovation and reinvention. He sees regulatory changes, threats, and risks not as impediments but as catalysts for transformation and market positioning. One of the most pressing challenges is the need to reimagine urban mobility in the face of growing population densities and escalating traffic congestion, exacerbated by the surge in e-commerce activity.

In densely populated urban centers, the traditional mobility model has become unsustainable, posing environmental, air quality, and productivity concerns. With citizens spending increasing amounts of time stuck in traffic, the need for a paradigm shift in urban mobility has never been more urgent. Rémi perceives this as a pivotal moment—a crossroad where cities must embrace innovation to revitalize their transportation systems.

Rather than viewing this challenge as insurmountable, Rémi sees it as an opportunity to pioneer new services and business models tailored to the needs of modern urban dwellers. By assisting clients in navigating this transformative journey, Rémi and his team are at the forefront of driving disruption in the mobility sector. Their mission is not only to address immediate challenges but also to catalyze a fundamental shift towards sustainable, efficient, and citizen-centric urban mobility solutions. Through innovation and collaboration, he envisions a future where cities thrive as dynamic hubs of interconnected mobility ecosystems, setting new standards for urban living and transportation efficiency.

Driven by Passion

Beyond his professional endeavors, Rémi’s passion for cars remains undiminished, with a collection of classic vehicles from the ’70s occupying a special place in his heart. His love for automobiles extends to devouring car magazines, a habit that keeps him continually learning and immersed in the latest developments in the automotive world. Despite the demands of entrepreneurship, he endeavors to strike a balance between his professional and personal pursuits, finding moments throughout the year to indulge in his automotive interests. However, he acknowledges that the journey of building his own consulting firm has demanded considerable dedication and effort over the past three years—a challenge he embraces wholeheartedly as part of the exhilarating entrepreneurship journey.

Staying Ahead of the Curve

Rémi emphasizes the importance of remaining open-minded and observant when navigating the landscape of industries. Drawing from his extensive experience, he underscores the necessity of robust data analysis and staying abreast of technological advancements. In his view, the next frontier for automotive and various other sectors lies in artificial intelligence (AI), a transformative force poised to revolutionize processes across the board.

Reflecting on recent developments, Rémi highlights the remarkable capabilities of AI tools in accelerating tasks that would traditionally require years of scientific research. He recounts a notable instance where AI was leveraged to swiftly identify promising materials for battery cells—a task that would typically demand extensive laboratory work. Such advancements underscore the imperative for consultants to stay attuned to emerging technologies and assess their potential impact on respective industries.

Rémi’s commitment to continuous learning and foresight is evident in his approach to consulting. He acknowledges the ever-present risk of obsolescence in the field and prioritizes staying ahead of the curve. This forward-looking perspective is encapsulated in the ethos of his consulting firm, which he named through a collaborative process with his daughters. The phrase “Be one step ahead” epitomizes his mission to help clients anticipate trends and gain a competitive edge in their respective markets—a testament to his unwavering dedication to driving innovation and strategic foresight.

Evolving Role of CEOs in the Automotive Industry

Rémi provides a candid assessment of the evolving role of CEOs in the automotive industry, noting the seismic shifts in required skill sets compared to previous decades. Today’s CEOs face unprecedented volatility and regulatory pressures, with a significant portion of R&D budgets allocated to compliance. The landscape is further complicated by intensifying competition, fueled by an influx of new players both within and outside the automotive sphere.

In this dynamic environment, CEOs must navigate a complex web of challenges while remaining agile and innovative. No longer can they rely solely on internal capabilities; partnerships with other industry players and even non-traditional entrants are essential for driving product innovation and market success. Moreover, CEOs must confront societal pressures, including increased scrutiny from NGOs and the omnipresent influence of social media.

Rémi underscores the need for CEOs to possess a multifaceted skill set, blending financial acumen with a keen eye for product design and market trends. He lauds examples like Luca de Meo, CEO of Renault Group, who exemplifies this hybrid approach, driving innovation, strongly influencing product design & style while maintaining financial discipline and providing an industrial vision to Europe. Ultimately, success hinges on striking a delicate balance between shareholder satisfaction and delivering tangible returns on investment—a high-stakes game where missteps can have far-reaching consequences.

Daily Dive into Automotive Innovation

Rémi’s commitment to staying abreast of industry trends and emerging technologies is evident in his daily routine. He immerses himself in a diverse array of literature, ranging from scientific publications on cutting-edge research to prospective studies from renowned organizations like the IEA, ITF, and the World Economic Forum. These reports offer valuable insights into future scenarios and inform his strategic outlook.

Moreover, Rémi actively engages with his extensive network, drawing on their diverse expertise and perspectives to enrich his understanding of industry dynamics. Through meaningful discussions with peers and collaborators, he gains valuable insights into emerging technologies and market trends.

Furthermore, Rémi recognizes the importance of cross-industry learning, regularly studying achievements and best practices from sectors beyond automotive. By identifying parallels and lessons that can be applied to his own industry, he ensures that his approach remains innovative and forward-thinking.

Beyond the Classroom

Rémi’s perspective on learning and development challenges conventional notions of formal education. He emphasizes the importance of informal learning experiences, which he believes constitute more than 50% of one’s career development. In his company, young employees accompany him to client meetings, where they observe and learn from senior professionals’ interactions, problem-solving approaches, and conflict-resolution skills. This hands-on exposure fosters a rich learning environment where knowledge is gained through observation, collaboration, and active participation.

However, Rémi acknowledges the limitations of remote work in facilitating such informal learning opportunities. While digital communication has its place, he advocates for a hybrid approach that prioritizes face-to-face interactions for building relationships and honing soft skills.

Drawing from his observations during the COVID-19 lockdowns, he highlights the adverse effects of prolonged remote work on employee well-being and skill development. Remote work, while convenient, cannot fully replace the interpersonal dynamics and spontaneous interactions that occur in a physical workplace.

Rémi’s approach underscores the value of human connection and experiential learning in professional growth. By fostering a culture that encourages active participation and interpersonal engagement, he ensures that his team members develop not only technical expertise but also interpersonal skills essential for success in the consulting industry.

Making a Lasting Impact

Rémi’s perspective on professional legacy encompasses both explicit and implicit contributions. The explicit contributions are tangible achievements, such as published studies that influence the direction of the automotive industry. These are readily identifiable and leave a clear mark on the field. A good example is his latest battery study, ordered and published last march by CONCAWE from FuelsEurope. In contrast, implicit contributions are less visible but equally impactful. These may involve behind-the-scenes involvement in shaping a company’s strategy or guiding its trajectory, even if recognition for the assistance is not overtly acknowledged.

For Rémi, personal satisfaction stems not only from the recognition of his explicit contributions but also from the knowledge that his expertise has played a crucial role in the success of businesses, even if his involvement remains undisclosed. These unheralded achievements serve as a source of pride and fulfillment, offering a narrative of significant impact that transcends formal recognition.

Moreover, Rémi sees his work as having a broader societal dimension. He recognizes the imperative to address pressing issues such as decarbonizing mobility and preserving natural resources. By assisting automotive players in navigating these challenges, he believes his company can contribute to larger-scale efforts to mitigate climate change and promote sustainability. Even a small contribution to achieving these goals will leave a strong legacy for him and his daughters.

Through his multifaceted approach to professional legacy, Rémi not only leaves a lasting imprint on the automotive industry but also aligns his work with broader societal goals, fostering a sense of purpose and fulfillment in his career endeavors.

President Rémi Cornubert Joins Prestigious French Delegation to China

The company has the honor of announcing that its President, Rémi Cornubert, has been invited to join a French delegation traveling to China this week. This invitation comes under the high patronage of Jean-Pierre Raffarin, former Prime Minister and official representative of President Emmanuel Macron in Franco-Chinese relations, as well as President of the Franco-Chinese Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, the delegation includes Bartholome Francis, President of MOBILIANS, and Luc Chatel, former Minister of Industry and President of the French Automobile Platform (PFA).

The itinerary for this trip is extensive, featuring visits to industrial sites, meetings with key stakeholders in the Chinese automotive industry (including manufacturers, suppliers, and battery manufacturers), engagements with Chinese government officials and representatives from various provinces, attendance at the Beijing Motor Show, and a reception at the French Embassy with members of the Chinese government.

The company is honored to have been asked to present its vision of the evolution of the Chinese automotive market, segmented by market segment and actor. This includes discussing China’s significant role in automotive production, particularly in electric vehicles and batteries, as well as in the development of essential charging infrastructure to support the electrification of the vehicle fleet.

The organization of this visit is being expertly coordinated by MOBILIANS, and the company would like to express its gratitude to Xavier HORENT, General Manager, for his insightful selection of themes for the delegation’s program and his diligent management of adjustments to accommodate the diverse expectations of all group members. The company also extends its appreciation to the dedicated team at MOBILIANS for their tireless efforts in organizing the trip and managing the associated logistical details of the program.