Home: San Francisco, CA. Age: 52. Birthplace: Fontenay, France. Profession: Entrepreneur. Organization: Upgrade, Inc. Title: CEO. Pronouns: He/Him/His. Alma mater: HEC Paris.
Current project: As the CEO of Upgrade, I am very excited about the company’s ability to make positive changes in millions of lives. Our 2.5 million customers enjoy more affordable and responsible credit with Upgrade Card, which helps them move in the right direction and accomplish their financial goals. Recent recognition: Of all the awards Upgrade has received, I am particularly proud of the employee recognition, including best company to work for and best company for women, minorities and veterans. Hobbies: Sailing. I still have a world speed record to my name: the fastest time between Newport and Bermuda in less than 24 hours. I also enjoy playing tennis, squash and basketball. Recent travel or adventure: A week snowboarding in Telluride, CO. The conditions were perfect and the resort is lively, but less crowded than Lake Tahoe or some of the popular Colorado resorts. Last book read: The Three Body Problem, by Liu Cixin. Recently viewed and recommended: Designated Survivor (Netflix).
Personality profile: Generous, positive, humble, ambitious. What one word would your closest friend use to describe you? Perseverant. How do you define an ideal business relationship? Fair, balanced, win/win. Taking more than your fair share of the economics will lead to long term failure. What is your greatest joy? My kids. What is your go-to workout? Swimming. It’s a great work out and very relaxing. Far different from what we all do the rest of the day, so it’s a good break from everything else.
What was your first paying job? Sailing instructor in the south of France where I grew up, at 15. What was your favorite college course? Economics. It’s really fascinating how intricate economic forces are and how everything is connected. What was your favorite childhood toy or game? Monopoly. What movie have you repeatedly watched? Interstellar. It took me three viewings to really get it 😊.
Banks are purely financial intermediaries. Many financial transactions can now occur without the banks, with greater transparency and lower cost.
What change are you working on to effect in your profession or field? Financial product innovation that benefits consumers, rather than the big banks and Wall Street as we’ve seen for so many years. What mega-trend most excites you? Artificial intelligence and synthetic biology. In combination, these two technologies can help solve many of the world’s most pressing issues, if applied in the right way.
What title would you choose for the movie about your life? Against All Odds. What actor would you choose to play you in the movie about your life? Tom Hanks. Who would you like to spend an evening with, in heaven? Isaac Newton. He invented calculus, understood gravity, and then he turned 25! As a kid, what did you first want to be when you grew up? An architect. In a way, not far from my current role, architecting companies, teams and financial products rather than bridges and houses.
Personal motto: Be nice with the people on your way up because you’ll meet them again on your way down. Favorite quote: “If you set your goals ridiculously high and it's a failure, you will fail above everyone else's success” (James Cameron).