Articles

Thierry Morin, Chairman of the Board of Administration, UTC

fr Version pdf Imprimer Holding a sintered high speed train (TGV) brake pad in his hands, Thierry MORIN enthusiastically described the company he has just acquired, Sintertech, with its 450 personnel, producing parts for both rolling stock and automobiles. As a former Valeo CEO, Thierry MORIN reminisces about his first car, quipping that it was “more push than pull” and contending that the future of this sector will depend on new electric motors. Thierry MORIN combines being President of INPI [France’s national institute for industrial property], shareholder of 7 start-up companies and more recently his appointment to preside over the Board of Administration of UTC-Compiegne. His objective in this new academic post is “rather modestly” to offer his understanding of the economic-financial world outside the University.

Thierry Morin, Chairman of the Board of Administration, UTC

“The Cassandras of this world tell us that automobiles are our #1 public enemies: they kill and pollute …We must ensure that they are not right. Yet, over the past decade, the public is convinced that diesel engines are far from clean. The time is therefore ripe for electric motor drives, but we don’t have satisfactory solutions here,” feels Thierry MORIN just before remarking that VALEO was the first equipment manufacturer to invent the Stop & Start car auto-ignition system and likewise the electromagnetic combustion chamber valve.

Pre-conditions conducive to progress

These inventions result from joint research carried out in the group. As CEO of Valeo, I had ensures that the 10 branches really worked together, in a long term vision. Eighteen months later we had invented the “Stop & Start” process”, notes Thierry MORIN proudly. He can go on for reams describing the invention “Innovation does not just result from giving orders. The only route open to a company executive, to a government, to a university president, is to create and enable those pre-conditions conducive to progress. In the early 1980s, when I visited the head-offices of the Microsoft Corporation, my first surprise was to see their young programmers working on the lawns outside, and the I learned that this ‘field-work’ was conducive to achieving considerable gains in productivity”.

“Offering my understanding of the economic and financial worlds”

Thierry MORIN is not arriving at UTC with a” ready-made vision”, but is offering his rich business acumen, an exceptional contact address book and his desire to build bridges between the academic and economic-financial worlds, plus an “obsessive” passion for innovation and new technologies.
“UTC-Compiegne is in a remarkable pole position in these areas. If I can contribute to preserving the level of excellence this university has and add my personal understanding of the economic world, then I shall be delighted”, says Mr MORIN. He is aware of the financial constraints that shackle universities today, starting with day-to-day budget problems that must be reviewed in terms of the increasing competition among the academic institutions.
“Universities must, out of necessity, secure new sources of finance. Personally, I believe immensely in setting up partnerships that bring the academic and the economic worlds closer together. Imagining corporate sponsored chairs does not shock me at all, nor does the thought of carrying out research for private clients, who may in the long run become partners with the university. Renault, for example, would prove an excellent partner for development of future electric batteries”. For Thierry MORIN, the future of automobile transportation lies in the all-electric car. Indeed, he believes it this as much as he does in the quality and used for sintered steel produced at Sintertech, and that he hopes to use to assemble electric motors.
“For the first time in my life, I possess all the shares of a company, given that I was determined to put it back successfully on the rails. I love when things work out, things like beautiful clock mechanisms, or a good motor. I also like to see myself committed to a dynamic vision, combining pleasure and pain, so to speak.” His total aversion to seeing things stagnate and his vision as a captain of industry brought him to focus on recharging processes for batteries. He invested in a French start-up, Nanomakers, who produce silicon carbide nano-powders. How do they work? They reinforce battery anodes and this allows you to recharge a battery is just a few seconds, with wearing them out prematurely. Thierry MORIN has had so many ideas that some are still tucked away under the drawing board. A good example is his project for a taxi like those in London, but equipped with electric motors. “In fact, I stopped short of showing this to investors, but I’d happily give this project to anyone really interested!”

Faith in youth

The President of INPI believes in our younger generations. “We must create a maximum number of companies while students study, i.e., when these young people have high levels of desire, appetite and large, potential capacity to invent. Self-blocking mechanisms come as our experience builds up. I have the honour of sitting on the Boards of 7 start-ups, the founders of which are all in their under 30s, but they have tons of extraordinary ideas. My job is to prevent them from making management mistakes; I provide potential contacts, ways to think and act professionally …” explains Thierry MORIN.
With his own Master’s degree in Management from University of Paris-Dauphine in his pocket, he still lectures there: “to give back some of what I myself gained. My experience may well prove of interest to the students. In addition, might I add that we really should strongly invite our senior citizens to help the young, as a kind of civil service … I myself, I believe in our younger generations and I am delighted to be able to have this new experience at UTC-Compiegne”.