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Mathieu Beaujon: around the world with Serimax

07/12/2020 - Careers

Now Director of Strategic Planning, Mathieu Beaujon has been working at Serimax, our specialized welding subsidiary, for twelve years now — which has given him the opportunity to see the world and explore our business lines.

How did you come to work for Vallourec?

I was already working for Serimax when it was acquired by Vallourec ten years ago. As a young engineer, what drew me to Serimax was its extensive international reach, its dynamism, its employees, and its industrial creativity. As with Vallourec, technological advances were part of the foundation of the company, and this DNA is still present. It's essential for doing well in the metallurgy business, and for continuing to support our customers.

And there are amazing examples of innovation scattered throughout the company's history, starting with the 1980s, when Serimax developed a unique system called Saturne, which operates eight welding torches automatically, allowing our customers to save invaluable time offshore. The innovation continued over the years, with a more recent example being CleverScan, an automatic laser measurement system that sweeps through the inside of a tube to map out its exact geometry. This information is then retrieved and put to good use in order to find the best way to arrange two tubes during welding. This is the technology that later inspired Smartengo BestFit, a digital solution from our new service offering, which makes precise pipe-end measurements and unique pipe-end identifications.
CleverScan, an automatic laser measurement system that sweeps through the inside of a tube to map out its exact geometry

What has your career been like at Vallourec?

First I studied materials engineering at the École Polytechnique de l'Université de Nantes, where I specialized in metallurgy and welding. As you might expect, it's a fairly niche degree, since there are only two schools that offer it in France — and the best of them is of course right here at Serimax! (laughter)

For my part, I started my career in the nuclear industry at Endel (Engie Group), then I worked for Saipem, a contractor in the energy sector, where I eagerly tackled the technical challenges of working on deepwater projects, like AKPO in Nigeria. I joined Serimax with the help of a good friend from school, who got me in touch with them for a position in Singapore. That's where my time with Serimax began.

Later, I became Project Manager, which required me — as the name indicates — to manage projects and assist customers with their operations. Their successes led us to expand a bit more into the Pacific and open an office in Perth, Australia. So I picked up my family and moved to Western Australia in January 2013, in order to set up the company's permanent offices, and I spent four years there. Later, I was appointed Commercial Director for the Asia Pacific region, which required another move to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

I moved up to Head of Projects for the Asia Pacific region for two years, before finally returning to France in 2020, where I took over strategic planning.
Career
Mathieu Beaujon

My career path shows all the potential ways you can advance in the Group. Even though I have a background as a specialist engineer, I was able to hold many different positions.

Mathieu Beaujon Director of Strategic Planning at Serimax

You've worked in quite a few countries: France, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia… What cultural differences have you noticed?

When you work in Singapore or Kuala Lumpur, there's no one culture, there's a mosaic of cultures. It's also essential to know how to adapt to the various personalities in our own offices, given how much of a mishmash they can be.

In Australia, for example, dealing with others is very natural. Drivers, vendors, and cashiers will almost always ask you how you're doing — G'day mate, how ya goin — and will strike up a conversation. Even meetings with customers can be very informal, occasionally taking place on a café patio.

In Malaysia, their relationship with food is a product of the multiple cultures that live there. Food isn't just a source of nourishment, but an integral part of social life. Every religious holiday sees people exchanging gifts... which are very often food baskets. 

You are the Director of Strategic Planning. What does that mean?

This position implies driving the preparation of the strategic plan, under the guiding of Serimax’s Directorship (Mickaël Dolou, Marketing, Business Development & contracting Director, and Guillaume Graindor, Operations Director), to monitor and measure the ensuing strategic actions and to steer initiatives directly, either by defining or implementing them, which will be transferred to regions once they reach maturity.

The current context implies that we keep a strategic approach to our initiatives in order to ensure that we invest our energy appropriately.

In the short term, the challenges posed by the health crisis are numerous and will completely reshape the way we work. In the medium term, the geopolitical crisis caused by the oil price war will once again test the resilience of our companies. Finally, in the long term, the energy transition remains a critical factor in our strategic development. The way forward is clear, as are the challenges.

On a side note, the word "crisis" in Chinese is composed of two characters: one represents danger, the other opportunity. Crises act as catalysts for change, and push companies to evolve more quickly than they had planned. Serimax has an opportunity to continue diversifying, identify growth markets, and press forward.

One of the most obvious changes, which is also a major strategic factor, is the digital revolution that rapidly unfolded during the lockdown. This is a fantastic opportunity that all of our employees have seized.

What are your interests outside of work?

My free time has dwindled over the years, as my family has grown from one country to another. Right now, my children are discovering the French winter, and are already sleeping with their snow boots on. 

But mostly I'm a big wine lover, being originally from Anjou, an (almost) famous wine region you won't find in the Parker Guide.

What advice would you give to young people today?

It's natural to have questions when you want to leave everything behind to go someplace else. But if there's one lesson to take away, it's that you have to create and seize opportunities, instead of living with regrets. Be bold and go for it!