“Choose France!” summit focusing on France’s attractiveness to business

The President of France will be attending the “Choose France!” summit at the Palace of Versailles on Monday January 22, where distinguished guests will include nearly 140 business leaders representing some the world’s biggest businesses in a wide variety of sectors, from the automotive industry to new technologies, agri-food, financial services and healthcare.

The “Choose France!” summit is another key stage in the promotion of France’s attractiveness as a business location after several months of far-reaching economic reforms by the French government. The aim of the event is to highlight how France stands up as an attractive business destination, underpinned by the announcement of various investment projects in France and the presence of 140 business leaders, many of whom are on their way to the World Economic Forum in Davos (Switzerland), who will discuss their ambitions in France with the President, Prime Minister and 16 ministers.

Five multinational firms will use the summit to announce major investment projects in France. Each of these will serve as a symbolic illustration – due to either their size, the sums being invested, growth or jobs being generated, or their excellence and significance for sectors of the future. A handful of smaller projects will also be announced during the event.

As part of a day largely given over to France’s attractiveness to business, the President of France will also pay an early afternoon visit to Toyota’s industrial plant near Valenciennes (north-eastern France), where the Toyota Yaris is made (3.5 million units produced since opening in 2001) and 3,800 people are employed at a site driving employment in the local area. It is also the 25th largest factory in France, turning out 30% of Toyota’s total output in Europe.

Following his visit to Valenciennes, the President will travel straight to the Palace of Versailles, where he is scheduled to arrive around 6pm. He will take part in several bilateral meetings, including with Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google Inc., Vasant Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis, Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP and John Chambers, formerly Executive Chairman of Cisco. The bilateral meetings will be followed by a dinner, preceded by an introductory speech from the President and a question-answer session with the invited business leaders.  

  1. “Choose France!” summit agenda and participants

140 business leaders from nearly 30 countries are taking part in the “Choose France!” summit, including: Sundar Pichai (Google), Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook), Dominic Barton (McKinsey), Stuart Gulliver (HSBC), Jesper Brodin (Ikea), Bill McDermott (SAP), Lloyd Blankfein (Goldman Sachs), David Abney (UPS), Guido Barilla (Barilla), Jason Chen (Acer), Alexandre Dayon (Salesforce), Warren East

(Rolls Royce Plc), Michael Evans (Alibaba), Jeffrey Harmening (General Mills), Lars Fruergaard Joergensen (Novo Nordisk), Joe Kaeser (Siemens), Martin Lundsdedt (Volvo Group), Antonio Neri (Hewlett Packard), Shunichi Miyanaga (Mitsubishi), James Quincey (Coca Cola Company), Young Sohn (Samsung Electronics), Richard Liu (JD.com) and Jonas Prising (Manpower Group).

Various French business leaders will also be in attendance, including Thomas Buberl (Axa), JeanLaurent Bonnafe (BNP Paribas), Ross McInnes (Safran) and Emmanuel Faber (Danone).

There are four parts to the schedule for the afternoon at the Palace of Versailles:

  • 00pm-2.30pm: Arrival of business leaders for lunch with the French Prime Minister
  • 30pm-6.00pm: Bilateral meetings and topic-based workshop sessions held in parallel: o Tony Estanguet – “Paris 2024: sharing optimism!”  o Bruno Le Maire – “Economic reform in France”  o Cédric Villani – “Artificial intelligence”  o Mounir Mahjoubi – “Digitalization of the French economy”  o Muriel Penicaud: “Social transformation in France”  o John Chambers: “Innovation and start up ecosystem”
  • 00pm: Arrival of the President of France and bilateral meetings
  • 00pm: Dinner, preceded by an introductory speech from the President of France

•           More than 30 countries represented (approx. 50% from Europe, 25% from the United States, 25% from Africa, the Middle East and Asia).

•           A dozen job-creating investment projects.

•           The President and Prime Minister of France joined by 16 ministers: Jean-Yves Le Drian

(Europe and Foreign Affairs), Bruno Le Maire (Economy and Finance), Muriel Penicaud

(Labour), Agnès Buzyn (Solidarity and Health), Gérald Darmanin (Government Action and

Public Accounts), Florence Parly (Armed Forces), Nicole Belloubet (Justice), Françoise Nyssen

(Culture), Stéphane Travert (Agriculture and Food), Elisabeth Borne (Transport), Laura Flessel

(Sport), Mounir Mahjoubi (Digital Affairs), Brune Poirson (Ecological and Inclusive Transition), Delphine Geny-Stephann (Economy and Finance), Nathalie Loiseau (European Affairs) and Benjamin Griveaux (Government Spokesperson).

•           Around 300 bilateral meetings scheduled during the afternoon at the Palace of Versailles, between business leaders and:  o Members of government.

o   Institutional participants (French telecoms regulator ARCEP, France’s public investment bank Bpifrance, French state investment fund Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, French government Treasury Directorate DG Trésor, etc.).

o   Meetings are also scheduled between French and foreign business leaders.