An interview with Mr Thierry Gabarret.
How did you get started in the lottery industry?
I started working in the lottery industry more than 20 years ago when I joined FDJ’s finance department. Previously, I held positions at Société Générale bank where I handled the introduction of the Euro for institutional stakeholders.
How did you progress through the ranks to become CEO of La Pacific des Jeux (PDJ)?
My career in the French national lottery can be summarised in several main stages corresponding to key different challenges and various scopes of responsibilities. After working for the FDJ’s finance department, I joined the sales department as Area Sales Manager. I was then appointed PDJ’s Marketing and Sales Director and became Deputy General Manager of this 100% subsidiary of FDJ. In 2015, I was appointed FDJ’s International Relations Director and became PDJ’s CEO five years later.
You have extensive experience and a long tenure in the industry, what has kept you in the industry?
What kept me in is the industry itself: it is fun, innovative, in continuous evolution. It is also FDJ’s management team: dynamic, with an exciting strategic vision and a true human concern for its employees. Year after year, I gained international responsibilities, being appointed Vice-President of Beijing Zhongcai Printing in 2015, Executive Committee member of CIBELAE in 2017 and, more recently, Executive Committee member of APLA in 2020. This very inspiring international community also played a strong role to keep me in the industry.
For anyone looking at a career in the industry, what advice would you give them?
This question can be phrased in different ways, such as: why do you want to work in the lottery industry? why do you want to work for this or that company? If you want to be excited every time a new game is launched, if you want to see happy faces every time there is a winner, if you are interested in the contribution of lotteries to the economic and social development of a country, you may find your happiness in this industry.
How have you kept your team motivated during COVID? And yourself?
FDJ’s Group has been very supportive during this unprecedented pandemic crisis. The company anticipated government measures by extending its remote working policy allowing most of the staff to work from home. PDJ benefited from strong employee engagement delivering good results. The experience of these new working methods has been very beneficial, with the reduction of commuting having a positive impact on quality of life and the environment. As far as I am concerned, reconsidering the way we travel and work, was very motivating. Our society is now definitely more digital than before, and this is very stimulating for me.
Are there any interesting customer stories from La Pacifique des Jeux that you can share?
An interesting PDJ’s customer story is undoubtedly that of a winner. I remember the launch of the multi-jurisdictional game Euro Millions in French Polynesia. It was an exciting novelty for such a small Pacific territory. With the media hype that had been made a young player, a Polynesian student, tried her luck by betting 2 €. She won 10 million euros! This speaks for itself and testifies to the happiness we can bring to our customers.