Want to hear how the financial world can be exciting? Read from Diane Rolland, our Senior Brand Controller for Rémy Martin & LOUIS XIII, based in Paris.
How did your Rémy Cointreau journey begin?
A few of my former colleagues were working with Rémy Cointreau, and they shared their experiences about how great they thought the people and the company were. As for the business, I found it exciting! I’ve always been into spirits: I love good food, beverages, wine, etc. Essentially, I love to discover, so wine and spirits was a sector I wanted to join. I was waiting for an opportunity, and one day, I had a phone call … and here I am.
What attracted you to Rémy Cointreau?
I’m in finance, so, in order to make my role more down-to-earth (concrete, business-oriented), I need to be able to relate to the product behind the numbers “to make them speak.” In fact, it’s what makes my job interesting and exciting. When I joined Rémy Cointreau in July 2016, I was thrilled. It is my first time in this sector, and I never want to leave it.
Your role now?
I’m a controller for the House of Rémy Martin, so I work on both the LOUIS XIII and Rémy Martin brands. The job is far different than what I was doing before, which were more corporate financial roles. When I joined Rémy Cointreau, I was looking for a business controller position: to not only have financial partners, but to also have operational and marketing partners. We have different jobs, but we’re complementary, working together toward a common goal. I’m very lucky. We’ve built trust and confidence working hand in hand, so it is very fulfilling.
I usually go to Cognac once a month to meet with my boss and see a large number of my team members. I prefer direct contact. Even though we’re working with numbers, it’s very important to see people, because via email, things can get misinterpreted, which can be dangerous.
When you’re working with different company functions, it’s about balancing two worlds. I work closely with operational marketing teams. I did not understand a thing about marketing before working with them! For me, it’s a challenge to gain their trust and form a partnership, but I really like being active in business operations: in the action and feeling useful in day-to-day operations.
Biggest misconception about your role?
When I tell my friends I’m doing financial controlling, they all say, “oh, poor thing,” as they may think it’s boring, but it’s just the opposite! I love my job because every day is different, and I am dealing with a lot of diverse topics.
What inspired you to get into finance?
I am not really a “creative” person; I’m more analytical. I like the excitement, the rush: things you find when you work in finance. Also, you can deal with a lot of topics simultaneously, which I like: You need to be flexible and get “out of the box” sometimes. You are never bored!
What do you love most about what you do?
I feel I have two families in the company: I have my House of Rémy Martin family with the LOUIS XIII and Rémy Martin team, and I have my finance family. I really feel like I’m part of a community when I’m in the office with other financial controllers. We share a lot, and it’s a very positive environment.
What advice would you give to future financial controllers?
In terms of skills, you have to be rigorous in finance. People have to trust the figures you give them, and when you are in operational finance, you need good social skills. We have a duty to explain, to make ourselves clear, and to deliver the right messages. You only know you understand something if you are able to explain it to someone else. Finally, you need to be proactive, have a good sense of anticipation, and make necessary alerts to evade surprising your coworkers.
What’s it like working at Rémy Cointreau?
The people, the atmosphere, the company size, the family aspect, the sector—I love it! The reason I joined the company was because of the people I met. They were great, and the atmosphere carries a spirit of confidence. I was looking for a place with a “taille humain” (human size). When you’re in a smaller structure, you can be more flexible. You can go outside your “box” and touch a little bit of everything, and that’s what I like. Moreover, I am proud to be in a French company: We have terroir; we have a history … Moreover, we have a contender position in the spirits world, so we need to be more innovative, flexible and faster than bigger companies—and that’s also what I like about Rémy Cointreau. There’s a sense that everything is possible!