Presidency of the Medef: Patrick Martin and Dominique Carlac’h, the clash of styles

Presidency of the Medef: Patrick Martin and Dominique Carlac’h, the clash of styles

2023-05-30 19:15:53

In front of the Cinémathèque, large photos of the star couples of “Contempt” by Jean-Luc Godard and “La La Land” by Damien Chazelle welcome visitors. Did the Medef dream of a tragic melodrama or a nostalgic musical comedy for its duo of suitors?

The unusual session which took place this Tuesday in the temple of Parisian cinephilia will ultimately have been a little less colorful. In front of members of the general assembly of the employers’ organization gathered in this singular place, the two candidates for the succession of Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux will have tried to mark their differences before the ballot of July 6.

The positioning game

“We know very well that they are in agreement on the essentials; what mattered was to feel each person’s personality,” said one participant after the meeting. And in fact, Dominique Carlac’h and Patrick Martin will each have tried to make their little music heard despite a rather similar score – no one will have been surprised to learn that they both promised a new reduction in production taxes and less of regulations.

Everyone has their position. Favorite of the ballot, Patrick Martin played without hesitating the card of experience. “It’s a subject that speaks to me”, “it’s a subject that I know very well”: walking around on stage with a microphone in his ear like Steve Jobs – with however a breath betraying a little stress at times – the current number two of the Medef wanted to demonstrate his in-depth knowledge of the files. He has repeatedly promised a “rolling start” if he were to lead the organization, with a program that puts growth at the center.

Before him, Dominique Carlac’h, in a speech delivered in a more classic way at the desk, had taken the opposite view, posing the alternative between a “Medef in the continuity of past years” or “a Medef embracing modernity in a world in profound change”. “The incarnation, it’s not futile,” she boasted, promising a change of era.

The current Medef spokesperson wants to “take head on” certain emerging trends. “To think that the Medef will be able to pretend not to see the new relationship to work is to anchor our organization in the past,” she warned.

It remains to be seen whether this exercise – unprecedented in a race for the presidency of the employers’ organization – is likely to shake up the forecasts, which so far give Patrick Martin the favorite. “We must not forget that an election for the head of Medef looks like a senatorial election with electors to convince”, recalls a member of the executive committee present on Tuesday.

Of the approximately 1,100 voters, only a hundred had moved into the comfortable armchairs of the Cinémathèque, and around 400 were connected remotely. “The auditions are not going to change everything,” admits a member of the Carlac’h clan.

The advance of Patrick Martin

We will therefore have to continue to plow the ground – in the national federations and the territorial Medefs – for the two contenders. “Dominique Carlac’h is a serious candidate, but the balance of power remains favorable to Patrick Martin, with in particular already many garnered supports”, estimates a very good connoisseur of Medef. The current number two can already boast of having many local federations behind him, but also the powerful metallurgy (UIMM) and building federations.

“He looks more like a Medef voter, that can help,” said a member of the executive committee. In his speech, Patrick Martin also multiplied the anecdotes about his experience at the head of his ETI, Martin Belaysoud Expansion.

The camp of Dominique Carlac’h however wants to believe that this advance is being nibbled away. Monday, the president of D & Consultants filtered the first prestigious supports, that of the general manager of Orange, Christel Heydemann, the president of Renault, Jean-Dominique Senard, then that of the president of the Federation of private hospitalization , Lamine Gharbi.

All praise the “dynamism”, the “courage”, a “modern and concrete vision”. “These are supporters, not voters”, we mock in the Martin camp. “I set up the match,” replies Dominique Carlac’h.

In this war of nerves, the two suitors are due to meet on June 26 for a two-hour televised debate on BFM Business, a priori more agitated than the succession of monologues held at the Cinémathèque. This will be a first for an election at the head of Medef.

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