Interview

Interview with Alexandre Boin, new director of the Club des Résidents Etrangers de Monaco

alexandre boin crem
© CREM

The 31-year-old Monegasque, who previously worked for the Monaco Government, hopes to develop new synergies between the Club and the Principality’s institutions.

The Club des Résidents Etrangers de Monaco (CREM) has a new director. Alexandre Boin succeeded Chris Dhondt, who left the position for professional reasons, on January 3.

At just 31, this young Monegasque has solid international experience. This is an undeniable asset for his new responsibilities.

“After my school years in Monaco, I went to business school in Nice and obtained a master’s degree in marketing and management,” he told us. “I went on an Erasmus exchange to Vilnius, Lithuania, and carried out internships in Spain, Madrid to be precise, and then in Saigon, Vietnam. I wanted to continue to work and live in Vietnam, and the advertising agency I was working for was willing to offer me a contract. Unfortunately, I had to return to Nice to present my thesis. In the meantime, the law changed, and I could no longer settle there as an expatriate.”

A blessing in disguise: back in the Principality, in 2014, Alexandre Boin joined the National Council in the communication and press relations department. Two years later, he joined the Welcome Office: a Government department responsible for providing information to anyone wishing to settle in Monaco on a private and/or professional basis.

“I was often in contact with private sector organisations and potential future residents or entrepreneurs. That’s where I discovered CREM,” he said.

A Monegasque with an international profile

But before running the prestigious Club, Alexandre joined the government’s “attractiveness” unit, headed by Frédéric Genta, last July. A position he thought he would hold for a long time, until a phone call arrived a few months later.

“I got a call from Chris, who unofficially informed me of his imminent departure and asked me what I thought about taking over as Club Director. He felt I had the right profile. I was very honoured that he had thought of me. I asked him why he chose a Monegasque, when it’s a Club for Foreign Residents,” he explained.

The answer was simple: his international experience, his fluency in English and Italian and his missions with the Government to help foreigners arriving in the Principality, all made Alexandre the ideal candidate for the job, including in the opinion of Louisette Levy-Soussan Azzoaglio, President of the Club: “Chris’ departure obviously saddened her, as they had a very good relationship,” he confided. “But I think she trusted Chris when he recommended me. She and I have often swapped ideas, she makes herself very available for the Club, she’s very proactive (…) I wasn’t scared of the challenge, I was rather excited. I know Monaco and its different stakeholders well, and having worked in government can help develop synergies.”

This is the aim of Alexandre Boin, who accepted the position without hesitation. Even if he did not want to put his “attractiveness” unit colleagues in a difficult position, since he had just joined, Alexandre knew that this was an opportunity not to be missed. “Everyone I spoke to said I was right for the job,”  he says.

A strong support for the residents

He had already met members and staff through his previous dealings with the Club. “I could see the potential for the Club itself. Chris has done a remarkable job, both in terms of developing activities and managing the budget and the Club’s evolution. It’s always nice to take over a healthy organisation. This is even more of a challenge for me as I have to keep the bar up high, to satisfy the Club members who were, and still are, very attached to Chris.”

The aim is not “wholesale revolution” but to keep the Club in line with what Chris Dhondt has put in place. “We will continue to create and organise events, conferences, which bring residents together, with gastronomy, culture, art, music. We are lucky: Monaco organises more than 700 events per year and the Principality has a lot to offer in all areas. There is something for everyone, and we can select events that will satisfy all our Members,” Alexandre promises.

And while the new director intends, at first, to “observe and digest”, he especially wants to bring his network and experience to bear, for the benefit of CREM’s members: “what I can bring is the experience I gained in the Government. For example, my knowledge of administrative procedures, for residents, investors and entrepreneurs. I know the local economic setup well, so if residents have any questions, for example about renewing a residence permit or setting up a business, I will be happy to listen to them and discuss their concerns. I want to be a strong support, a real conduit of information for the Club.”

Alexandre Boin has already had the opportunity to meet most of the members, who gave him a warm welcome during the Christmas cocktail. “They all seemed pleased and eager to see what I was going to suggest. What matters to me is to meet with them, to swap ideas. Without members, there is no Club. It is important to listen to them, to discuss what they like, their hobbies, their interests, in order to suggest things that fit,” he concluded.