Chief Executive Officer, Groupama SA
51-year-old Thierry Martel has been CEO of French Insurance Giant, Groupama, since 2011. He has worked for Groupama since 1990.
Martel is a graduate of Paris’s École Polytechnique, Institute Des Science Politiques, and the Institut des Actuaires Français.
After graduation and qualifying at the French Actuary Institute, Martel’s first job was as auditor/commissioner controller for the Commission de Contrôle des Assurances (Insurance Control Commission), a role he held for 3 years.
In 1990, at the age of 27, he joined Groupama as their legal and technical director. He stayed in that post for five years before being promoted to be director of Gran Est Mutual, one of Groupama’s nine regional mutual assurance companies. In that role, he oversaw the company’s human resources, finance, and communications for the entire region.
His next promotion came in 1999 when he became director of insurance, still at Grand Est Mutual, remaining in that role for a further four years.
His ascent continued in 2003 when he joined the Groupama SA teams as group general audit director, staying in that post for only two years before again being promoted, this time to general manager of personal insurance, Groupama’s second most important area of business after their property and liability insurance division.
Over the next five years, Martel moved within several areas of Groupama’s business, including time as Director of Insurance and Individual Services, Director General of Insurance France, and finally Director General of Insurance and Bank France, and commentators saw this as obvious grooming for one of the most senior roles. And when Jean Azéma, who had been CEO of Groupama for 11 years, retired in 2010, it was Martel who was announced as his successor.
Martel has been nicknamed Groupama’s “cleaner”. While his predecessor had over-expanded the company’s partnerships and investments, something that had led to losses of 1.8 billion Euros, Martel began removing the company from many of those relationships, with figures for the end of 2018 showing income of 450 million Euros and an assets portfolio of some 74 billion Euros.