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The Amazing Secrets of Couche-Tard's Big Boss

It's not relaxing to be Couche-Tard's big boss. In a stunningly concise presentation for the Canadian Club of Montreal on Wednesday, Brian Hannasch revealed the list of topics that have kept him busy for the past few months. On the menu: burnt-down neighborhood stores, diversity in the management team, registration recognition system and Amazon Go cashless stores, and he slipped a word about the importance of getting rid of idiots as quickly as possible.

Posted Oct 15, 2020 at 11:21 PM

Marie-Eve Fournier
La Presse

The effect of the Black Lives Matter movement

“In the United States, this year we have been at the heart of several unfortunate incidents of diversity. It was very important to us internally. In Minneapolis, a large market, and where a civilian [George Floyd] was brutally murdered, as you know, three of our convenience stores [enseigne Holiday] were set on fire. And 32 were completely looted. No one was hurt, but it reminds us of the challenges facing society. […] It also hit us in Chicago, Kentucky. Many employees have written to me asking what we are going to do to be part of the solution. "


Brian Hannasch, CEO of Alimentation Couche-Tard

The women's house

“Six years ago when I started as President and CEO, there were no women on my team. I didn't think it was good. That is why we have set up a women's council to improve gender diversity. And today we have five women in leadership positions. They are role models for the women in the organization. But what's happening this year makes me say it's not enough. "

Bias and difficult topics

“We need more diversity. I'll be blunt, if I look at the United States for example, 13% of the population is black, 19% is Hispanic and 50% is of course female. When I look in our stores, we are representative of that, we look like our customers. But when I look at the management level, it is not. We have 23% women in management positions, compared to 50% in our stores. And as for blacks and Hispanics, it's less than 10%, so we don't look like our customers. The management team does not approve of this. We believe in a diversity of points of view. And we will improve. We have difficult discussions internally about our prejudices. And we try to tackle these difficult topics. »


Recognition of registrations

“In Norway we have launched a license plate recognition system. If you come by car, we know who you are. You don't have to take out your phone or credit card [pour payer]. All you have to do is take the gun from the gas pump and refuel. And we'll send you your proof of payment by email or text message. "

In the footsteps of Amazon

“Still further, we've announced a partnership with Standard Cognition [jeune pousse de San Francisco] to create contactless stores like Amazon Go. You walk into the convenience store, grab what you like, and walk out. Technology knows what you've bought. first establishment will open in December [en Arizona]. We can't wait to see if this changes the customer experience significantly. "

Take a trip to city centers

“We were mainly a suburban and highway business. We have never been a major player in city centers. Because COVID-19 unfortunately puts a lot of pressure on the retail industry, we have implemented a strategy to go back to city centers. We think there will be more free space in the coming years. We can take advantage of it. We hear that people are moving from city centers to the suburbs, but we think there will always be interest in the inner city and we want to take advantage of that. "

The key to success?

“I am often asked why we are successful. I answer that it is a matter of culture. Alain Bouchard and his partners are still good friends after 40 years. That says a lot about these men, who listen to and respect each other. This is how we try to treat each other internally. We're trying to get out of politics and have real conversations. We'll see the idiots ASAP to get rid of them. We buy companies and quickly integrate the people who make them into our families. This is our secret recipe. "

Written by Rahis

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