Millet, king of the window but not of transparency

The incident did not reconcile them with public speaking. In 2018, while the Millet company is growing, garners prizes at the Trade Shows thanks to its innovations, Fabrice Millet, president, granted an interview to the “Courrier de l’Ouest”.

He explains that he plans to internationalize this artisanal carpentry founded in 1946 by his grandfather Camille, which became a PMI in the 1970s thanks to his father Claude. Transformed into an industrial group, it has a thousand people spread over eight factories near Bressuire (Deux-Sèvres) and Cholet (Maine-et-Loire) as well as in Normandy and Reunion. During this interview, he discusses the deployment of Millet doors, windows and windows to emerging markets and Eastern Europe. Immediately, the CGT warns against a threat of relocation.

“He fears the media”

Fabrice Millet may defend himself against it, the doubt is instilled. Despite our requests, the 44-year-old entrepreneur refuses to return to this episode. “Under pressure, our union representative did not dare to stand for the next election,” tackle Pascal Lumineau, secretary of the CGT local union in Bressuire.

“Like many of us, Fabrice fears the media, quick shortcuts and the interpretation of messages”, proclaims Olivier Guilbaud, at the head of the manufacturer of cosmetics and hygiene products Science and Nature, who worked with him at the CJD (Center for Young Leaders) in northern Deux-Sèvres.

Fabrice Millet

In fact, the Millet do not consider that we speak for them to the employees. Fabrice Millet started in the workshops. This affable journeyman carpenter, who made a quick detour to a business school, retains his legendary discretion on the outside, while maintaining the heritage of his father on the inside: proximity or even complicity with employees. “Claude Millet arrived before the workers to shake hands with everyone,” recalls Jean Grellier, former PS deputy for the constituency.

Mission impossible today, since they are 600 to frequent the main site in Brétignolles. Always present, without operational function, the septuagenarian lives in a pavilion nearby. He passes from time to time to greet the collaborators.

Green touch

For about ten years, the inflection brought by Fabrice, helped by his two brothers Frederick, 41 years old, and Antoine, 47, deputy managing directors, one in charge of transport, the other of finance, it’s the environment. “Our parents dissociated the economy and the ecology, we ensure a transition”, he says.

Solvents for cleaning adhesive waste are bio-based. Doors and windows are collected from customers, distributors and craftsmen installers, in order to avoid landfill. Millet has developed the reuse of used materials, created a subsidiary, RU Edition, which develops furniture and designer objects. The family even opened a timber construction factory in 2009. “They have a real passion for innovation, their design office is constantly working on new products”, testifies Jean-Marie Fiévet, LREM deputy, who has still not succeeded in showing the main employer in his constituency. to a minister.

Canaries to fill the image gap

In the bocage bressuirais, where the economy flirts with full employment (unemployment rate at 5.8%), success does not appear, the subsidy does not beg, the company does not even have requested the stimulus plan. “This is the state of mind of the bocage, we make our backs round in the difficulty, playing solidarity, but there is no exuberance in the success”, summarizes Fabien Gouault, editor-in-chief de Bressuire of the “Courrier de l’Ouest”.

The rare articles on the Millet family highlight their local involvement, the visits of schoolchildren, the open doors of the workshops for families. “Why care about us? Our products speak for us, ”argues Fabrice Millet, aware however of an image deficit.

Since the end of 2019, the three brothers have become sponsors of FC Nantes to remedy this. Millet also “naturally” joined the initiative of Philippe Plantive, head of the IT services company Proginov, who set up the Collectif Nantais, a company that brings together 80 companies from the region, to support the struggling football club. “Frédéric is the most fan, and lives the matches in the supporters’ stand. All three are well aware of their responsibility for the territory and for this club which is its showcase, ”explains Philippe Plantive.

Key dates

1946: Camille Millet creates a carpentry, cabinet-making and wooden frame workshop in Beaulieu-sous-Bressuire.

1973: his son, Claude, builds a first factory by opening to windows and patio doors.

1989: the company adopts PVC.

1993: construction of the head office in Brétignolles.

1999: creation of a factory in Vihiers (Maine-et-Loire).

2002: Fabrice Millet is appointed general secretary.

2007: new head office in Faye, near Bressuire, respectful of the environment.

2009: factory for wood construction.

2018: Fabrice Millet president, his brothers Antoine and Frédéric CEO delegates.

2020: Acibois takeover in Normandy. 2021: 1,000 employees, 8 factories, unpublished turnover.

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