Even when it comes to being flexible in work, you need to have fixed and consolidated bases.

This is according to none other than Patrick Thomas, known to the general business public for being CEO of leading luxury company, Hermès.

Thomas is a business man who brought a glittering career to an end in 2014. He began back in 1969, in the telecommunications industry, before moving to Pampryl, a company active in the area of food and beverages, controlled by the colossus Pernod Ricard.

It took just over 10 years for Patrick Thomas to scale the heights of the Mother Company, and become the CFO and then CEO of the English base.

From that moment, Thomas’ career hit exceptional heights, conquering the world of luxury: first Hermès, then Lancaster, before becoming the first external manager to be appointed head of the family company William Grant & Sons.

This was an objective, guiding a family company, but this was cut short in 2003 when he went back to Hermes, taking complete control.

The story could well be longer, but with just a few brushstrokes you can draw the outline of this extraordinary self-made man, who really has so much to offer young leaders of the future.

Here are three of his most precious pieces of advice, to gain ground in the labour market in this new millennium and leave a mark.


1. If you have the opportunity, opt for a family company

Patrick Thomas’ career really sped up at the end of the 90s when he was appointed as the head of a family company. From this privileged position he was able to look at the differences between a company controlled by managers and one controlled by members of a family. Putting the classic cons to one side, there were actually more positives that once thought. One which stands out? The long-term vision of a family company which works every day not to create profit for the end of the year, but for harmonious and sustainable growth, with a view to the coming decades. A family company is like a precious gift, which is to remain in and be passed through the hands of future generations. Last but not least, in family companies, professional growth moves with meritocracy, trust and human relationships. Show enthusiasm, loyalty and passion, and you will find you are rewarded more easily with a career in line with your expectations.


2. Have a plan

Just like the way successful companies are based on a clear and defined vision — think of Hermès, constantly looking for perfection and quality, respecting craftsmanship and exclusivity, or Google, inspired by a dream to open the doors of information to the entire world — one’s career must also follow a precise vision.

The pain of getting lost in the chaos of the working world and losing constructive opportunities makes you realise this fully.


3. Make the most of human capital

A successful company is built and run on human resources, every day. A true leader knows how to recognise the potential in their own resources, and how to make to the most out of them, making them feel integrated in the company’s project. A true leader trusts in the skills and talent of their own team, and knows how to calmly delegate tasks, giving the team responsibility. A true leader, ultimately, knows how important information is, and manages it with transparency at every hierarchical level, to motivate their resources from deep down.


Do you also feel inspired by advice from a leader like Patrick Thomas?