Chairman & CEO at Ipsos MENA
Edouard Monin first established Stat in Lebanon in 1988, providing market research services, including media and consumer research, to diverse clients. In 1992, the company evolved and joined forces with French multinational research player Ipsos. Soon thereafter, Monin became the Chairman and CEO of Ipsos in MENA – a title he still holds today.
Throughout his tenure, Monin oversaw the geographical expansion and market growth of Ipsos in the region, either by setting up from scratch or by acquiring leading local research companies in 14 markets: Lebanon (1988), Syria (1996, but closed at the beginning of the war in the country), Kuwait (1997), Jordan (1998), UAE (2000), KSA (2001), Qatar (2001), Bahrain (2002), Egypt (2006), Iraq (2006), Morocco (2008), Pakistan (2011), Algeria (2012), and Tunisia (2012), employing a 900+ strong workforce.
Monin also continued to push the envelope in the world of research, creating the first Television Audience Measurement (TAM) in MENA in 1999.
Over the past 35 years, he has gained in-depth knowledge in all research and advisory disciplines, covering marketing research, media research, opinion polls & social research, advertising research, customer experience research, healthcare research, social intelligence analytics, and the deployment of technology in the different fields of market research.
Monin is a member of ESOMAR, the organization for market, social, and opinion researchers. He was also an active member of the International Advertising Association (IAA).
How would you define leadership today?
Leadership is primarily about empathy, agility, and trust. But it is also about being a motivator, firm in your conviction, and clear in all communications. Today’s leader is exposed to multiple and rapid changes, and many confuse entrepreneurship with leadership. An entrepreneur is a trendsetter, a visionary, able to identify the waves of change early on. However, these attributes do not define a leader. A true leader is always a source of inspiration to his or her team.
What’s the most important decision you have taken as a leader?
Always build on the positive side of each threat and move forward. We live in a very unstable region with unpredictable events happening every year. All successful decisions are thus taken with care and calculated risks, based on previous experiences. The most important decisions I have taken as a leader were in selecting the right leadership teams who work with me.
What’s the one decision you wish you hadn’t made as a leader?
I never regret any decision; they are all based on a specific situation or environment. Sometimes, I delay pulling the plug on certain issues, but in an unstable environment like our region, you have to think twice about key decisions that you take.
In your opinion, who’s the most powerful leader globally today?
I don’t believe there is ONE most powerful leader globally; there are few in each sector of activity. One of the best leaders I look up to, who is one of the most respected in our industry, globally and in France, is my partner and mentor, Didier Truchot, the founder of Ipsos.
Who’s your role model?
My parents, without any hesitation. What they did to facilitate my business start, and what my mother continues to do for me, is unmatched. They have motivated me every step of the way, and they continue to be an inspiration for me.
What’s the most important quality that every leader should possess?
As I mentioned, a leader should care, inspire, and be able to get the best out of his people. If you don’t, you are just a manager.
What’s the one mistake that leaders most commonly make?
They let arrogance and egos take over their decisions. Leaders become strong when they capitalize on their people’s strengths. One-person shows will always fail.
What’s the most critical threat that every leader in our industry should pay attention to today?
Not to underestimate the continuous market transformation and customer evolution that are taking place today and that have been expedited by the pandemic.
What’s the most important risk you took?
Business risks in MENA are non-stop. You can only manage them and be smart and efficient in how you react to them. If you are not capable of doing that, you shouldn’t run a business in this region.
What resources would you recommend to someone looking to become a better leader?
Learn from others. Learn from all people. Learn from previous situations. You need to always be hungry to learn more to be able to face the future in a stronger way.
What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow as a leader?
I rely on, trust, and give responsibilities to my senior team. I always listen to my team and build my decisions with an open mind to all opinions and ideas.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve ever received?
Always know that there is a lot that you still don’t know and always work hard to know more.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve ever given?
Listen, watch, analyze – learn before you build, before you make your move.
You can see the full ranking and methodology here.