A group of executives and entrepreneurs appointed by the French government to boost the country’s economic profile in the Southeast has named its latest member.
Claire Collobert Angelle, while being a familiar name to many in the city’s international community, is the newest face among the Conseillers du Commerce extérieur de la France, a global network 3,000 strong with 300 across the U.S. and about 25 in this region.
The former City of Atlanta international affairs director and French consulate communications lead received word Aug. 27 that French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe had approved her nomination.
A letter from the CCEF president reads in part:
This nomination recognizes the role that both you and your company play in regards to the development and strengthening of international exchanges between France and the rest of the world. It showcases your commitment to participate in a network which supports France’s international trade activities.
The appointment caps a yearlong nomination process that originated locally, passed through the embassy in Washington and was ultimately vetted and approved in Paris.
The Council of French Foreign Trade Advisors, as they’re called in English, are volunteers who seek to boost business interactions between their localities and France, and to raise the visibility of French innovation and industry, which is sometimes overshadowed by investment from other European and Asian nations.
The small group in the South includes representatives of major companies, some French and some from other countries, such as Orange, Dassault, Bollore, Pearson, Randstad, National Cement and more.
“As a CCEF, I’ll provide pro-bono support to French companies interested in establishing/strengthening commercial ties in the U.S. Southeast and beyond,” Ms. Angelle told Global Atlanta in an email. “Due to my experience and expertise, I’ll particularly focus my work on companies operating in the smart cities/urban innovation space.”
Ms. Angelle could be viewed as a departure from the standard executive tapped for the council.
She joined Worth Cities upon leaving government in 2017 to help cities adopt innovative tools and strategies, then parlayed her experience into her current firm, Angelle Consulting, which focuses on a variety of cross-border work including capital raises and corporate expansion but has had a particular focus on urban initiatives.
She was instrumental in organizing a Georgia Tech Smart Cities summit earlier this year and served as a panelist during the recent inaugural Smart City Expo Atlanta, which looked at ways to redefine the term to make room for technology becoming a driver of equity and inclusion.
Iwan Streichenberger, president of Pearson Online Learning Services, who leads the Southeast CCE chapter, said Ms. Angelle’s expertise is well suited for the task at hand.
‘We’re very keen to get Claire to join us because she has critical experience both in the U.S. and globally, great wisdom and knowledge on advanced topics like smart cities, innovation and global relations, and we felt like she would be a fantastic addition to the team to bring fresh perspective.”
A knowledge deficit exists in the minds of French people about the opportunities available in this region, Mr. said.
“We haven’t done the job as well as we should to really explain why the Southeast is such a great destination for French companies,” he added.
Business France, the country’s foreign investment agency, closed its Atlanta office in recent years.
Mr. Streichenberger hopes the CCEF group will help spur more interest in France from Georgia investors and recruiters.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp recently showed an openness to global connectivity by traveling to Korea, but it was his predecessor Nathan Deal who went to Paris to close the deal for the headquarters investment by Groupe PSA, the French auto maker managing the Peugeot brand and others. Georgia’s investment office for Europe is in Munich, Germany.
During her four years at City Hall, Ms. Angelle was intimately involved in the City of Atlanta’s global investment outreach, hosting trade delegations, traveling abroad on the city’s behalf and arranging the Atlanta Sister Cities Startup Exchange with Toulouse, France.
Both there and in her previous position at the French consulate, she worked on economic agreements between Paris’s Charles De Gaulle Airport and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson and played a role in the annual France Atlanta series of innovation-focused events at Georgia Tech.
The series will celebrate 10 years in October. Among the flurry of French activity will be the French-American Chamber of Commerce’s Crystal Peach Awards, which honor the contributions of French companies in the region.
Ms. Angelle’s appointment also comes as a new French consul general, Vincent Hommeril, takes up an Atlanta post that covers six states in the region.
Learn more at https://www.cnccef.org/en/home.