Founded on January 1, 2015, Business France is a public-private body (établissement public national à caractère industriel et commercial – EPIC), which reports to three ministers: the Minister for the Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs; the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development; and the Minister for Housing, Regional Equality and Rural Affairs.
The agency’s public service remit, defined by the Government Decree of December 22, 2014, involves contributing to meeting key targets concerning economic development and France’s international standing: helping businesses to expand abroad; aiding employment and regional development by attracting foreign investors; and promoting France’s business image.
Outside France, Business France operates in accordance with the Government Decree of June 1, 1979 in line with the coordination and leadership responsibilities of the local ambassador or head of the diplomatic corps, who instructs the Head of Department of Economic Affairs in each embassy or consulate to coordinate local business stakeholders.
Business France’s priorities are set out in the current Performance and Targets Contract approved by the agency’s Board of Directors.
Ambassador for International Investment
CEO of Business France
Muriel Pénicaud has been France’s Ambassador for International Investment since May 2014 and the CEO of Business France since January 1, 2015.
Starting in May 2014, she led the Invest in France Agency (IFA), responsible for promoting and facilitating international investment in France, and the French Agency for International Business Development (UBIFRANCE), dedicated to supporting exports by SMEs and mid-size companies. These two companies merged on January 1, 2015 to form a new agency, Business France.
From 2008 to 2014, Ms. Pénicaud held the position of Executive Vice-President, Human Resources at Groupe Danone, where she was a member of the Executive Committee, and also served as the Chairman of the Board of the Danone Ecosystem Fund for SMEs. She held a number of executive positions at Danone between 1993 and 2002. In the intervening period (2002-2008), she was a member of the Executive Committee at Dassault Systèmes, serving as Executive Vice-President of Organization, Human Resources and Sustainable Development.
After starting her career as a local government administrator, she held a number of management posts at the French Ministry for Labor from 1985 to 2002, and was a Ministerial Advisor from 1991 to 1993.
Between 2011 and 2014, Ms. Pénicaud was also an independent member of the Board at Orange, chairing the Governance and Corporate Social/Environmental Responsibility Committee. From 2013 to 2015, she was also an independent member of the Board at SNCF, chairing the Transport and Logistics Committee, and became a member of the Board in July 2015. In 2014, she was appointed as a Board member at Aéroports de Paris.
Ms. Pénicaud formerly chaired AgroParisTech (Paris Institute of Technology for Life, Food and Environmental Sciences), and was a member of the government steering committee for the “New Face of Industry in France”.
She also previously chaired the National Council for the Economy & Education, while in 2010 she co-founded and became Vice-President of TV DMA, the leading academic TV channel for Corporate Management and Business Law.
Ms. Pénicaud was born in March 1955 and is the mother of two children. She has degrees in History, Educational Sciences, and Clinical Psychology and is an executive alumna of INSEAD Business School. She has also been awarded the French Legion of Honor, in addition to the National Order of Merit.
Members of the board
Chairman of the board :Seybah Dagoma (Deputy)
Parliament and State Representatives :Anne-Marie Descôtes (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Laurent Garnier (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Sandrine Gaudin (Ministry of the Economy)
Arnaud Jullian (Ministry for the Budget)
Jean-Michel Thornary (Ministry of Town and Country Planning)
Expected appointments :
1 representative of Ministry of Agriculture
Representatives of Parliament and Regional Councils :Alain Chatillon (Senator)
Valérie Pécresse (Ile-de-France Regional Council)
Alain Rousset (Nouvelle Aquitaine Regional Council)
Representatives of trade organisations and chambers of commerce and industry, and qualified individuals :Frederic Sanchez (MEDEF)
François Asselin (French Small and Medium-sized Employers'Organisation)
Jean-François Gendron (International Chambers of Commerce and Industry)
Arnaud Vaissié (International Chambers of Commerce and Industry)
Alain Bentéjac (French Foreign Trade Advisors - CCE's)
Claudio Colzani (Barilla Group)
Employee representatives :Jean-Baptiste Bodin
Claudia Le Long
Government Commissioners :Thomas Courbe (Ministry of the Economy)
Agnès Romatet-Espagne (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)