Interview with Richard Ginioux, Director of École de Savignac [fr]
Can you introduce yourself in a few words?
My name is Richard Ginioux and I head a Management School that specializes in training managers and executives in the Hospitality, Tourism and Catering Sector. This school belongs to the Dordogne Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
My career journey is as follows: A degree from Sciences Po Bordeaux then a master’s degree at ESSEC, 12 years of working with luxury hotels, 10 years of entrepreneurship in the hotel industry and soon 14 years as Head of management for L’École de Savignac.
Can you introduce your institution: École de Savignac ?
L’École de Savignac is a leader in hotel management schools in France and Europe and enjoys an excellent reputation not only in Asia and Africa, but also on the American continent.
It trains service and department managers (bachelor’s degree programme) and directors of establishments or networks (MBA degree programme) for large hotel and restaurant groups.
Our degrees are state-recognized and correspond to certifications registered in the National Directory of Professional Certifications. Our degrees are also internationally accredited by such institutes as the Institute of Hospitality.
École de Savignac is not only reputed for its undergraduate programmes; it is also reputed for its postgraduate training programmes for Directors of establishments and Directors of networks (Sector managers, Regional managers, Operations managers for Countries /World regions).
Finally, we have developed Savignac Engineering that caters for the creation of schools, sectors or programmes.
What exchanges have your school had with African countries and how can the Savignac learning experience help the careers of these students?
To begin with, I must specify that École de Savignac is present in all regions of the world, with 22 partner campuses on five continents.
Furthermore, we have a specific strategy for Africa. The reason is both a personal one of an emotional nature and the result of a medium to long term reflection. I will however not elaborate on the first point due to lack of space. Nevertheless, I must say that I love the African continent for her rich culture, her people and the beauty of this continent; the cradle of humanity.
Our strategy for Africa can be more developed easily. Africa has enormous potential; the continent benefits from having a young population, a high population and economic growth rate and political stability despite the persistence of regional conflicts. A group of dynamic emerging countries are becoming the driving forces for the development of the whole continent. Africa also benefits from the renewed interest of the world market for raw materials and the discovery of oil and gas deposits. Today in the business world there is a need to develop a hotel business on this continent. Meanwhile, what we see emerging are luxury hotels that capitalise on the cultural heritage peculiar to some countries and on their ecosystems, which are not the same in other countries. The development of Pan-African tourism on the cultural or religious pilgrimage sites reinforces the international tourism centred on some countries and on some of the theme parks, primarily the Seaside or Safari.
France, shares historical links with Africa, which comprises of a shared language (particularly but not only in West Africa) and her geographical proximity with the African continent also doubles as an asset that makes France a preferred development partner of Africa.
For the Dordogne Chamber of Commerce and Industry and École de Savignac, this cooperation seems to be an obvious one. Our professional partners, major international hotel chains, wish to establish their hotels in Africa in the hope that it will be led and driven by Africans with standards of international quality. École de Savignac has chosen to delocalize its bachelor’s degree programme which seeks to train heads of the hospitality and catering sectors. Again, Ecole de Savignac seeks to contribute to the increase in competent local professionals in our sector of activity, to the expression of local talent, while meeting the expectations of these professional partners. It is with this mindset that we work with Thelma Dakar in Senegal and the Hotel School of Grand Bassam in Côte d’Ivoire and now we are looking for new partnerships, especially in Ghana.
Could you tell us about your projects in Ghana?
It’s a little early to talk about it. Our first meeting with GIMPA (Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration) has established a reciprocal desire for collaboration. What we must do now is to precisely define outlines of this collaboration. We are envisaging first and foremost student and stakeholder exchange. Secondly, we will brainstorm with GIMPA on collaborative programmes.
Do you have a success story to present?
Our pride at École de Savignac is that each one of the career paths taken by our graduates is a success story. I love to tell the stories of those who recently graduated from our school because they show the leverage in skills that our training provides, the prestige they enjoy as graduates of Ecole de Savignac and the strength of the Savignac Alumni network (2500 alumni).
I am especially reminded of Pablo who after graduating with an MBA last June currently manages two hotels for the Accor group in Indonesia. I also think about a couple of other graduates, who passed out less than 5 years ago from Savignac and now occupy executive positions (Revenue Management and Rooms Division) in two of the most prestigious Palaces of Paris. We are happy to know that we have contributed to their success.