Philippe Brassac studied mathematics at ENSAE Paris, and would then join Crédit Agricole as an intern. He worked his way through the organization, being promoted into different sectors before finally becoming Group CEO in 2015.
Philippe Brassac graduated from ENSAE Paris, officially known as the Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de l’Administration Economique with an advanced diploma in mathematics in 1981.
Brassac joined Crédit Agricole in 1982, shortly after his graduation. He began as an intern, but soon worked his way up the chain, becoming head of Finance, banking, and marketing. In 1994, only 12 years after he began, he was appointed Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Crédit Agricole des Alpes Maritimes. In 2001, he was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Crédit Agricole Provence Côte d’Azur. In 2008 he was elected Deputy Chairman of the Crédit Agricole Federation, and in May 2015, finally, he was named as CEO of the group, at Crédit Agricole S.A.
One of his key actions has been to reduce the group’s complexity. When he joined, the group owned a 25% stake in the regional mutual banks which then held 56% stake of the group. Brassac allowed the regional banks to buy back their 25% stake for a total amount of €18bn, in a plan he named ‘Eureka.’
In February 2020, the Crédit Agricole group announced its highest profits since 2006, a result driven as much by its investment bank activities as by its retail banking activities.
Brassac is a firm believer in environmental action, and under his leadership the bank carried out a complete withdrawal from investments in coal-based activities and even asked clients to eliminate any involvement with the fuel.
Brassac is well aware of the optics of the banking industry. He has said he knows the profession suffers from a negative image, and that in many cases that is deserved. He believes the reputation hit taken by the 2008 crisis continues to taint banking, and that although they have collectively progressed, there is a long way to go to regain trust of customers.