The Capgemini group founder, Serge Kampf, has passed. The company’s board of directors issued a statement announcing the death of Kampf, in his home city of Grenoble (France) at the age of 81.
Kampf was also vice-chairman of the board and honorary chairman of Capgemini.
Capgemini Group chairman and CEO, Paul Hermelin, said Kampf was an extraordinary man, an entrepreneur, the likes of which are rare.
“Since the early beginnings of our industry, he understood that the business value of technology comes from and through people. At our first meeting, I was struck by his entrepreneurial mindset, his ability to form and inspire committed teams and his unwavering insistence on high performance.
“I will never forget all that Serge has taught us, his quest for excellence, the intellectual stimulation that one felt in his presence, as well as his faithful and loyal friendship. He will be greatly missed. He created a solid framework around the values on which the company is based today,” he said.
Kampf achieved great success with the group over a number of years – some of which include the following:
- He began his professional career in 1960 at the General Direction of Telecommunications in Paris, which he then left to join the Compagnie des Machines Bull, where he discovered computing and its implications for corporate organisations.
- Kampf created Sogeti with three former colleagues from Bull, in Grenoble, in a two-room apartment converted into an office. Here, he combined services with technical and organisational consulting and customer proximity, in light of the future role that IT would play in the business world. He was instrumental in the company’s growth in Europe.
- By 1975 it had an established presence in 21 countries, following the acquisition of two major IT services companies, CAP and Gemini Computer Systems. The group then joined the CAC 40 in 1988.
- Kampf rapidly built an international dimension to the group by a series of strategic acquisitions in America and Europe, including United Research (1990), Data Logic (1990), Hoskyns (1990), the Mac Group (1991), Volmac (1992), Gruber Titze and Partners (1993), Bossard (1997), Ernst and Young Consulting (2000), Transiciel (2003), Kanbay International (2007) and CPM Braxis (2010).
- In 2012, Kampf announced his departure from the presidency of Capgemini, 45 years after beginning his entrepreneurial journey. He entrusted Hermelin, who had worked with him since 1993, as a successor.
- As vice-chairman of the board, Kampf continued to closely monitor the life and strategic direction of the group.
“We have always put the client at the center of our thinking and our actions. The fundamental principle is – take the time to listen. The phenomenal flows of information we have today will never replace deep, eye-to-eye, human interaction.
“I have a reputation for being a man of few words. This is because, for me, you have to start by listening if you want the other person to hear you properly. This is vital if we are going to meet the constantly changing needs of our clients,” Kampf said in a letter to Capgemini and Sogeti team members in April 2015.