A way of preparing for tomorrow’s challenges

Between July 2013 and July 2014, the first ever participants from SNCF Group finance personnel followed the #NewCFOs programme. The aims of a development programme designed for the financial community. The SNCF Group chose ESCP to help create a pool of potential top financial executives.
The goal: to reinvent the finance function to support the company in its business and organisational transformations.


Paris Campus

+33 (0)1 55 65 56 30

Why this programme?

Finding solutions to the growing economic pressures to develop new services, looking for growth opportunities internationally: these are the economic challenges facing the SNCF Group. This is why SNCF Group wished to prepare our best financial personnel, not only to support change, but also to initiate transformations. SNCF Group wanted them to learn without "starting from zero" and by capitalising on their existant skills.

A climbing exercise, 6 modules, a study trip to London, practical workshops... so many highlights within the programme. The teaching methods were designed to promote awareness, openness, the development of financial skills across all the themes taught and the creation of a network.

Elodie CAPITAIN, Head of Université Finances – Finance and Development Department, SNCF Group ESCP offered us the best combination of solid theory and innovative methods in content and teaching.

It had the advantage of experienced professors who suggested new  topics and formats. Thus, the programme began with a team-building session on a climbing wall (followed by a debriefing with a ESCP teacher) and ended in a study trip to London. Between the two were 6 modules combining financial matters, talks by professionals, practice-exchange groups, discussions on the positioning of each player in relation to the others...

The network effect has also played a role: most of them not knowing each other at the beginning of the programme, they now do not hesitate to call each other to solve complicated situations ... or discuss opportunities.

Elodie CAPITAIN, Head of Université Finances – Finance and Development Department, SNCF Group

Cédric LAROCHE, Finance Manager of EPIC SNCF, One of his close associates participated in the programme I wanted my associate to follow this programme even though they already had a strong background in financial matters, as I do think that a network is an essential tool of the financier.

It has not always been easy to reconcile the programme with the workload involved, but we have worked on it because as a manager, I am convinced that I must support the Group's interests in the medium and long term by helping my team to develop. Today, this associate is one of those who has accessed higher responsibilities in the Group and it is clear that participation in the programme was a major factor in their promotion.

Cédric LAROCHE, Finance Manager of EPIC SNCF


What participants said?

This training provides a large opening on the issues relating to the role and the place of finance and the CFO.
The creation of a financial network in the SNCF Group; a real group adventure.
Training that fosters the understanding of the position of financier, self-knowledge and therefore of others, and which is open to different modes of thought, in opposition to preconcieved ideas and traditional processes

The Academic Director’s point of view

The objective of this programme was to place future CFOs at the heart of value-based management.

To this end, we sought to develop the participants’ capacity to act and think on both a managerial level and a professional technical skills level. The programme content was largely co-built with the financial management of SNCF and based on a triptych of knowledge/expertise and… critical skills.

Our educational project attaches great importance to individual and group work. In particular, we have implemented a complex cooperative teaching approach in the form of workshops on participants' practices. These workshops are designed for group work using research to develop innovative solutions for each participant’s specific problems. This specific approach of ESCP - whose mission as a player in Executive Education is to use the contributions of clinical research to help future leaders to find innovative solutions – enables the participants to develop their problem-solving and creative capacities. In this way, it aims to activate the skills of the 21st century manager as defined by the OECD.

It was a pleasure to lead this programme and to work with open and motivated high-level participants and I am delighted that we have achieved a link between research, teaching and participants’ challenges.

Olivier SAULPIC,