Portrait of Eric Ponchaut, Executive Board Member

When Eric Ponchaut joined the MOBILITAS Group, he was driven by a taste for international business, not by the world of removals. Today, however, he is a member of the Executive Board and a pillar of the company. A portrait.

Eric Ponchaut, Executive Board Member of the MOBILITAS Group

How did you become part of the MOBILITAS team?

I was working as an internal auditor for Caterpillar in 1998, constantly travelling internationally, which left little time to balance my private and professional life. For a long time, I’d been drawn to foreign countries, so I started looking for an expatriate position. I came across an AGS advert, applied for it and was accepted to join the training course for intern managers in Montpellier.


How did the training go?

It was hard, under a demanding and very professional manager. I started out as a mover to get to know the industry, then as a salesman, while learning about administration, management, and operations. As soon as I arrived, I had to take charge of the NF certification for the furniture warehouse. It was a real challenge because we were far from ready, and it was therefore a real pleasure when the renewal was granted.


So right from the beginning, you were given significant responsibilities?

That’s the privilege of joining the MOBILITAS Group. Its family structure means that you are not just another anonymous employee, but quickly recognised and known by your colleagues. Another key benefit lies in the opportunities offered to young people. Right from the start, you’re quickly promoted to a position of responsibility. Being confronted with challenges from the very beginning is extremely educational.


What progress did you make afterwards?

A few months later, even before the training course ended, I was appointed by the holding company’s HR director, who assigned me to a small branch in Rabat, Morocco, as trainee manager. I was to grow sales, run operations and visit the construction sites. After a year, I was sent to manage the branch in Barcelona, with four people under my responsibility. A year later, in 2000, I returned to France to manage the Lyon branch, which was one of the three largest in the French network at the time. I remained in Lyon for a total of five years.


Before returning abroad?

Yes, I was missing it. In 2006, Alain Taïeb appointed me as second in command for the Laser Transport Group in South and Southern Africa, which was acquired by MOBILITAS in 2001. Among other things, my objective was to migrate this group onto our in-house IT tool. This quickly made me “Mr IT” for the Laser Group, as I learnt everything on the job. At the same time, I was managing collection and a number of satellite structures, as well as the contract for the South African Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DIRCO). I developed a keen taste for managing calls for tenders in terms of pricing strategy through statistical analysis. I stayed there until 2011, when I was appointed head of Pelichet in Switzerland, with the aim of making that new branch profitable. Then I left the Group.


Why was that?

I needed to discover another market, to see my worth somewhere else. I also wanted to move away from operations. I left when I was approached by a CEO in the oil industry, but I remained on very good terms with MOBILITAS management, who understood my reasons for leaving. However, this new experience didn’t live up to my expectations and I found myself at the heart of a conflicting operation that went against my values. So, I resigned.


And you came back to MOBILITAS?

I told Alain Taïeb that I was back on the market. We quickly reconnected and I returned to the Group as a member of the Executive Board in September 2014. I went back to South Africa with IT, the French network, marketing and communication, and the expansion of relocation worldwide as my portfolio. In 2017, I added the management of Europe and let go of marketing. Following the acquisition of Noble Mobility, I moved to the Netherlands in 2018. Then, in 2020, I moved to AGS Paris to continue my duties there. These functions expanded at the end of 2021, when I became interim CEO of AGS Paris, due to a change in the CEO at the time.


How do you explain your longevity within the Group?

It’s because MOBILITAS is a family-run company, favouring direct exchanges with shareholders. Over and above the chance to take on responsibilities very quickly, it’s the unfailing support and confidence in your abilities that make you feel part of the family. These are values that I share and apply on a daily basis, providing constant support to my teams. The other reason is my taste for challenges, and I confess never having been disappointed in that respect.

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