We continue our introduction to the Pouliquen team with a profile of Gérard Quillévéré, the company’s co-director. Since 2018, Gérard has managed the company and fulfilled operational roles, including in our sales department. A specialist in Germany and Italy, he’s the company’s bridge between Southern and Northern Europe. A farmer’s son, a “pure butter” Breton, as we say in Brittany, and a marathon runner: here is the profile of the director.
Fresh vegetable distribution: a natural progression
Gérard grew up on the family farm in Lanhouarneau, only a few kilometres from Pouliquen’s head office. His father produced vegetables as well as potato plants and was a member of SICA, the Prince de Bretagne cooperative. Although Gérard decided not to take over the family farm, he remained in the agricultural sector. He received his technical diploma in international sales and then completed a year of specialised training in fruit and vegetable sales before joining Groupe Demex in Northern France in 1994. He worked for the vegetable cooperatives who sold their produce under the “Perle du Nord” label. From 1999 to 2002, he established Prymex, a company specialising in endive distribution. Then, in 2002, he returned to Finistère after jointly purchasing Pouliquen with Christophe Desmestre, director of Groupe Demex.
20 years with Pouliquen
It’s now been 20 years since Gérard Quillévéré took the helm at Pouliquen. With 5% ownership of the shares at the time of his 2002 purchase, he assumed the role of director of operations. The company, founded in 1917, was making an annual turnover of €3,000,000 at the time. Under Gérard, the business grew significantly and became an official Prince de Bretagne distributor, allowing it to develop its fresh vegetable distribution activity in addition to the existing trade in shallots and onions.
Together with Pascal Jouen (an overseas export customer with Pouliquen for 30 years), Gérard purchased 100% of the company’s shares from Groupe Demex in 2018. As well as managing the company and its staff, Gérard oversees purchasing, especially for Italy—a quickly-growing market over the past few years—together with Stéphanie Della Schiava, our Southern Europe sales representative.
Today, Pouliquen has 27 employees and a turnover of €21,000,000.
Prince de Bretagne: guaranteeing volumes and supporting the local area
“My father was a grower for SICA, so I was raised in this environment. It was a natural progression.”
However, this “natural progression” was also based on practical grounds.
“Prince de Bretagne offers us a wealth of products in almost unlimited quantities. The cooperatives also give us access to the entire logistical infrastructure.”
Gérard Quillévéré is attached to Brittany and an enthusiastic supporter of his region. For him, to be a Prince de Bretagne distributor is to defend growers and their know-how. Being located in the heartland of the Breton vegetable-growing region creates opportunities to build relationships with growers and to be present in the field in order to guarantee customers the highest-quality products year-round.
His watchword: endurance!
In some ways, managing and growing a business could be compared with running a race, and even in his spare time, Gérard keeps up his endurance training. He skis in winter, sails when the weather’s fine, and runs in every season: he’s already completed 14 marathons and is looking forward to taking part in future races.