Leading Across Cultures at
Over an 18-year career at the company, he had held several top-level management positions in
different business units in six countries, including heading the company’s Spanish operations in
the late 1990s.
In 2002, he joined an international automotive spare parts company headquartered in Paris,
where he headed a large globally-positioned business unit and helped set up a number of
Famous the world over for its road atlases, restaurant and hotel guides, and its iconic mascot,
the Michelin Man, the company’s reputation was built on technical innovation and a focus on
The company was organised along eight major product lines, including the car and light truck
product line, the truck product line, and the specialities product line.
In 2004, the North American business unit to which he was assigned faced several challenges:
the company was trailing competitors in the aftermarket business and had experienced sliding
sales and poor financial results several quarters in a row.
Michelin had hired Chalon to lead a division with several plants and 4,000 employees under his
It could be the culmination of two decades of hard-won experience motivating people and
Chalon considered himself a tough but fair manager – he was results-driven, disciplined, and
he demanded complete accountability from his team. That was precisely why Michelin had