The manager

Out of the shadows and into the light

Born in 1957 in Lyon to frame-maker parents, Christian Lombardet was brought up in an artistic environment, spending his entire youth in Rhône-Alpes.

At the age of 18, he set off to discover Africa. Another rhythm, another culture - he found in this host country an abundance of soul just waiting to express itself. What was at first an initiatory journey soon became an Eldorado for this young French man. While others would have chosen to return to France to continue their studies after this tourist trip, he preferred to stay in the Ivory Coast to educate be trained in the intelligence of common sense.

"Africa was my university; Africans taught me the intelligence of common sense, this thirst for knowledge, for action." For ten years, he had his first industrial and professional experience at the head of a micro-enterprise which made ice cream sticks from simple blocks of wood, then he launched and operated a coated fabric factory which made tarpaulins and imitation leather. The desire to transform and shape things would never leave him. Now he could return to his country to face French capitalism - he, who had provided a living to many families from a block of wood.

In December 1986, back in France, he took over a factory of granite funeral items in Vendée, as a minority shareholder and operational director. It was not easy to integrate into another world, another culture where all the stakeholders were the successors of their fathers, with a firmly established hierarchy. The activity of this market seemed rigid and for good reason - any originality could be suspected as being eccentric. But that was without counting the practicing humanist that he was. "By means of a great deal of creativity, a new perspective and a participative management style, the company experienced good growth."

Returning to the motherland was successful, thanks to his African experience, which taught him "to adapt to any situation, to take a step back, and to always find a solution." Now all he needed to do was become self-employed to be the sole decision maker. "My aim, my dream, was to become self-employed, a majority shareholder, in a business sector which was more suited to my personal expectations. Meeting Roger Pradier in 2002 corresponded 100% with my specifications.

  • A company with a human dimension.
  • Significant know-how.
  • A business sector with room for creativity."

"While I have changed business sector, I have not changed my profession - motivating people, creating new products, astonishing and surprising at each show, the real reward is to observe visitors' behaviour!!!"

"With Roger Pradier and rp design, my ambition is to catch up on lost time, so that Grumo, Equix, Picto, etc. become the Place des Vosges of the third millennium."