Jérôme Cazalbou, rugby player and entrepreneur since he was 20

When Jérôme Cazalbou began his playing career at Stade Toulousain, rugby was still an amateur sport. At 20 years old, the former scrum half joined Societe Generale, where he still works today as head of sports partnerships in the southwest of France using the formulae that worked for him on rugby pitches.

Jérôme Cazalbou's career reminds us that rugby only became a professional sport in 1995, just twenty years ago. Back when this sport was still amateur, players had to combine their sporting life with a paying job. When he was a promising starlet at Stade Toulousain rugby club and having got his high-school diploma, Jérôme Cazalbou joined Societe Generale in 1989 aged 20 within the framework of the collaboration with rugby clubs initiated through the partnership signed two years earlier between the Group and the French rugby federation.

Jérôme won numerous titles with Stade Toulousain (seven French Championships and one European Cup) whilst working part-time at Societe Generale. "My job changed as my sport evolved", he says. "I worked full-time when rugby was still amateur. Then, when rugby became semi-professional, I worked part-time with the Bank between 1995 and 2002. And when I ended my rugby career in 2002, I began working full-time at Societe Generale again."

Now, as it has been the case for the last 26 years, the former French international is still working for the Group and is still in charge of organising and structuring the Group's sports partnerships for the Bordeaux regional office. And his experience as a captain and scrum half, the real link in a rugby team, is a real advantage. "It's a pivotal role; you need to keep your eyes on everything and control things", he adds. "It teaches you to work well, delegate, trust others and control things. It teaches you how a group of people work together, and I've been able to apply this experience in the corporate universe." At one time an investment advisor for rugby players, on top of his heavy workload with the bank, he is also a consultant for France Télévisions.

Jérôme has a guiding principle that he has continually applied, both on rugby pitches and in the business world. "You should never forget those who aren't in the spotlight, as they are just as important. The goal is to emphasise the collective aspect by rewarding and highlighting individual talent."

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