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01 Jun.

Interview with Salvatore Iannello

reading time 2'

Salvatore Iannello took the helm at Galler upon his return from a long sailing trip. Interview with an inspired and inspiring captain.

Salvatore Iannello and Galler go way back. Initially Jean Galler’s independent financial advisor, this passionate traveller acquired Galler International in 1999. With his small team, he would take Galler chocolates to the 4 corners of the world, as far as Japan and the Middle East.

He became the CEO in 2006, when Galler restructured as a group… before selling off its shares in 2011, to embark on a sailing voyage around the world with his family.

What drove you to literally sail away in 2011?

It was a dream of mine as a teenager! Travelling has always been a part of me. In the 10 years prior, I had regularly rented boats, so I felt ready for it. Other than exploration, I craved a truly adventurous life.

Did you think about potentially returning to Galler?

No, not at all. At the time, I felt that I’d given Galler all that I could offer. We simply took different paths.

In the end, this long ocean voyage lasted nearly 4 years. What did you get out of it?

A feeling of peace. This trip allowed me to come to understand myself and my beliefs. It was an opportunity for me to tidy up my soul, to structure my thoughts with relation to things which I did more intuitively. Like the idea of working collaboratively with my teams, for example.

I clarified my idea of companies, of the way they work and how they should evolve. For me, it’s time to leave, to change the paradigm: historically, companies have been founded on the balance of power. I believe it’s time to adopt a more equitable model, based on shared interests.

You returned to Galler at the end of 2018. What brought you back?

On one hand, I felt that the company was in trouble and that I could help it. On the other hand, the majority stakeholder contacted me asking if I could bring some solutions.

We therefore established an action plan to straighten things out and reach a level of operating profitability. Afterwards, with the teams and the help of outside partners, we began thinking more seriously about Galler as a project. We redefined its core mission, its way of working, its practical commitments, etc. to attain a real collective purpose.

After months of working from the inside, the new Galler project is being unveiled to the general public. How do you feel?

I sometimes feel like I’m living in a dream: it’s the successful realisation of a long-term goal. I almost expect to wake up and find myself on my boat, at the time to take the watch!

What makes Galler strong today?

Above all, “the Galler crew”, all the people who work within the chocolaterie. We also find strength in the legacy of Jean Galler: the passion for chocolate, taste and quality products.

A great challenge which Galler will face in the coming months?

Our ability to communicate with the consumer in order to make them consumer-actors, without using a guilt-tripping narrative.

A message for those who’ve followed Galler for a long time?

Thank you for your loyalty! We are happy to share the passion for chocolate and taste with you. Taste, the key to our strength, is still there. But we are aiming higher: especially nutritionally, so that you can treat yourself whilst doing good and bite into a chocolate bar for a better world.

Thèmes

  • Chocolaterie's life. Interview

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