Introducing PMI’s New President and CEO, Pierre Le Manh15 Sep 2022
This September, the PMI community is pleased to welcome our new President and CEO, Pierre Le Manh!
Let’s learn more about Pierre and his vision for the future at PMI.
Can you share a bit about your professional background and where you’re coming from in your career?
When I first started working, I served the French government in Montreal as part of my military service. A short time after that, I began my career as a consultant at Accenture, focusing on the impact of technology transformation. After a stint in a professional membership organization (a quite different profession than project professionals: actors, singers, and musicians—but there are commonalities) I went on to senior leadership roles and then CEO roles at a range of companies with varying governance systems and cultures, from digital publishing to performance marketing.
Until 2021, and over the previous nine years, I served as Chief Executive Officer North America and Global Deputy CEO at Ipsos, one of the world’s largest research, data, people insights, and analytics companies. I directly led a team of about 2,500 professionals in North America and was accountable for all aspects of the business. During my time at Ipsos, I ran another region (EMEA) and chaired several global practices. In these latter roles, I was accountable for global capability building, product development, and strategy in specific professional areas of expertise.
Over the last few months, I led a project for Galileo Global Education, the leading European provider of higher education currently serving more than 170,000 students across an international network of 54 academic institutions and high-growth education technology platforms. I led the expansion plan in the United States and Canada, building a pipeline of potential acquisitions and leading due diligence processes. Of course, PMI operates in a less heavily regulated environment than Galileo, but I’ll draw on this experience at PMI as we focus on the educational component of our mission.
Can you share more about your personal life? Where are you from, and how do you spend your free time?
I have a multi-cultural outlook—I was born and raised in France by a Vietnamese father and a French mother. I lived in several countries before settling in New York City a decade ago with my partner Alexandrine. I am now a dual US and French citizen. I also speak Italian, in addition to English and French—this is because, on my first day working in Rome, I decided hearing everyone in a leadership meeting talking at the same time in different languages would become total chaos unless I learned Italian!
As for my hobbies, I spend much of my time with friends and visiting family across the globe—I have 51 first cousins on my dad’s side. I also enjoy reading the press and educating myself—most lately with the PMBOK® Guide (both 6th and 7th versions and the Agile Practice Guide!), watching Paris Saint-Germain soccer games, or wandering around Manhattan on my scooter. I also have two sons, one who currently lives in Paris and the other in London.
What drew you to join PMI?
I love the focus on people, the global nature, and the span of the mission in education, lifelong learning, and career advancement; the “for purpose” mentality also resonated with me. Like many PMI employees and volunteers, I love that it is more than just a business.
But I also like challenges, and I sense that PMI is at a crossroads of many interesting challenges and opportunities, for example:
- How to be truly global while addressing specific local needs?
- How to deal with sometimes conflicting priorities and objectives?
- How to avoid creating so much fragmentation and complexity that we dilute resources and lose effectiveness while meeting evolving needs of the profession and of employers?
- How to evolve the culture while staying true to the organization’s essence?
- How to ensure that we will have the financial and talent resources we need to deliver on our ambitious plans?
- How to address increasing expectations in stakeholders' experience, including in learning experience, and leverage technology to transform without losing sight of what the organization must deliver at its core?
- How to mitigate geopolitical risks?
- How to stay relevant, but also different and affordable?
- How to unify our community behind shared objectives for the future of the profession?
While none of these questions are unique to PMI, in a world of accelerating transformation, I love that there is a lot we can do and accomplish together in the coming years.
You have an extensive background in knowledge, education, and technology. Could you share some thoughts on what inspires you about this industry?
I have worked my entire life in content industries, creating, organizing, and disseminating knowledge. These industries have been disrupted by technology and by digitization since the mid-90s. Executives of my generation were the first ones to lead their companies through their digital transformation—in my case, in publishing when I was a first-time CEO.
For multiple reasons that we can discuss, education has been a little slower to adapt. But it is now transforming at full speed. This change has been driven by current and future technologies, the move to hybrid ways of living and working, and by growing global competition for intellectual assets. It has also been accelerated by the need of the business world to upskill and reskill workforces, as well as our aspiration as human beings and professionals to keep developing all along our lives.
Thanks to its global reach and the collective knowledge of its community, thanks to the time generously spent by its extraordinary base of volunteers, PMI has an incredible competitive advantage. We can work together to attract more talented people to our profession, help them be even better at what they do as they mature and develop by focusing on knowledge and skills beyond methods, help them find and achieve their career goals by being a highly reputable and connected education, technology, and networking platform, and by innovating and inventing new ways to create and disseminate specialized knowledge to serve The Project Economy and project professionals.
Is there a particular project you led that stands out in your mind? What did you learn from it?
When you look back, you realize that long-term transformations define your actions as a leader. To this day, colleagues reach out from a company I ran 25 years ago and still talk about how we converted its product line and lifted digital products from 0 percent to 70 percent of revenue in less than four years.
In recent years, adjusting an entire organization to the pandemic left a profound impression on me. As a CEO, you had to cope with a very high level of uncertainty while making tough decisions and communicating calm and determination to your teams, and conveying reasonable confidence. But this period also showed me the incredible response you get from people when traditional hierarchical structures are upset, and they are given the opportunity and autonomy to take the initiative and lead change. This made me even more converted to agile values and principles that I had already experienced first-hand at Ipsos, while working closely with some of our largest clients in Silicon Valley.
You have worked with project professionals throughout your career. What impressions stand out to you?
Nothing transformative ever gets done without people leading projects! Being a project professional requires a comprehensive set of skills, sometimes contradictory, making the job challenging. But what impresses me most is the courage and discipline it takes to stay organized and structured, whatever the methodology, and how reliable and trustworthy project professionals are as human beings.
What will your first few months at PMI look like?
I like being informal and transparent and will provide updates to the community at large as I embark on my first 90 days at PMI. However, in my early days in this role, my first order of business is to get to know as many of you as I can and, in return, for you to get to know me.
I will listen a lot in the first months to build trust and understanding. I have learned, sometimes the hard way, that you don’t know what you don’t know. It takes time to adjust, understand, build confidence, align, and convince. That’s why I aim to get to know as many employees, members, volunteers, and stakeholders as possible. Of course, along the way, I will start putting in motion a few short-term initiatives that can create value for our stakeholders, make sure we nurture a positive and inclusive culture, and then work and align with the Board and the Leadership Team on the next iteration of our strategy.
I’m very excited to have finally started—and am equally excited to work with you all!
For more information on Pierre Le Manh’s appointment, read the press release here.