Unexpected deadlock for the appointment of the regional representative of Numeum

“Numeum” is not known to the general public. It brings together the actors of the digital sector in France. Numeum was born from the merger of Syntec Numérique and TECH IN France and represents 85% of the companies in this sector, be they Digital Services Companies (ESN), software publishers, platforms or Engineering and Technology Consulting (ICT).

The purpose of the trade union is to defend the interests of professionals in the sector and to plead their cause in positions of power when, for example, a bill is presented for parliamentary discussion. If this lobbying role is rather devolved to Numeum national, locally, its mission is essentially in the digital animation of the territory but also to be a force of proposal with decision-making bodies or administrations such as Pôle emploi for example to meet the needs of the sector.

In recent days, the regional delegate of Numeum had to find his replacement due to his distance from the Réunion area for personal reasons.

But before passing the baton, Numeum’s regional delegate, Stéphane Colombel, had to find a successor. This process is characterized by an unexpected showdown.

A first round table is organized on 31 March during a face-to-face meeting. Small disappointment that Stéphane Colombel does not hide, only eight members of the twenty that counts Numeum are present that day but, against all expectations, four people are applying to replace him. In view of the number of suitors, which can hardly be decided as it is, Stéphane Colombel suggests to the members present to organize a second round of discussions in order to offer the greatest possible possibility for the development of a common project between all suitors.

Numeum, a powerful nationwide trade union consulted by rulers

The four candidates accept the principle of this designation process which gives them an additional week to discuss and try to bring out common points on their respective programs.

Thus, during this time limit, two suitors, namely Olivier Bénard (Sunlight Media Marketing Agency) and Philippe Arnaud (former president of Digital Réunion), end up agreeing to take sides behind the candidacy of Mike Sihou (Site Location Manager of the Indian Ocean agency of Kyndryl, a company detached from IBM’s IT infrastructure services in 2021).

Yannick Berezaie keeps his candidacy and it is he who is finally appointed regional delegate of Numeum.

But the way in which this designation took place did not fail to upset the three candidates who had chosen to make a joint list. The trio Mike Sihou, Olivier Bénard and Philippe Arnaud had taken advantage of the additional time offered to candidates to get to know each other, find common ground on their vision of digital development in Reunion but also bring new members to Numeum in a short time. A contribution of vital forces that the bankruptcy camp considered crucial for access to the regional delegation. So nothing happened.

First charlatan according to them, “while we said that we had to discuss among the candidates then that the supports would be transmitted discreetly by e-mail to the regional delegate, the supporters of Yannick Berezaie communicated their choice without everyone’s knowledge”, says Olivier Benard. Himself a candidate before taking sides behind Mike Sihou’s candidacy, today regrets that the new members he brought to Numeum were not taken into account in the vote. “Between Tuesday and Wednesday (April 6 and 7, ed), I sign 14 people. I am therefore increasing the number of members from 12 to 26, so I don’t see how they could appoint Yannick Berezaie as regional delegate. “, argues on a strictly arithmetic level. He joins this voting demonstration which he considers cut short by candidate Mike Sihou.

“I respected the democratic exercise proposed by Mr. Colombel: candidates had to declare themselves and then companies should position themselves for such and such candidates. Each company had to send an email to Mr. Colombel to express their support for Yannick Berezaie or me. . Mr. Colombel just wanted the company to commit to joining Numeum to take his vote into account, which he ultimately failed to meet … When he told us about the selection criteria how to show our ability to mobilize and bring in new companies, we took these criteria literally, we got to work “Mike Sihou explains. “After discussions with Philippe Arnaud and Olivier Bénard, he was offered only one nomination: mine with Philippe Arnaud and Olivier Bénard who supported me for the good of the local industry. Yannick Berezaie kept his”. But while he expected a completely discreet voting process, “The voting method bothered more than one because confidentiality was not guaranteed. Some members did not want to make it appear that they would not vote for Yannick Berezaie”adds candidate Mike Sihou.

“A disguise of democracy”

Despite this lack of confidentiality, “A significant number of companies – thanks in particular to Olivier Bénard who did a remarkable mobilization work – joined our project, which showed that our unified candidacy was supported. I think that was when they saw that they did not they had more than the majority who said that the confirmation of membership had not arrived in time, when the commitment was enough “, try to understand Mike Sihou. Without a doubt for him, he participated “a masquerade of democracy. They wanted to keep control of Numeum. To date we have not yet had visibility on the votes”points out.

Faced with these criticisms of short circuit in the voting process, the outgoing regional delegate of Numeum gives us his version.

Stéphane Colombel insists that the process of appointing his successor was by no means like a vote. He preferred to use the term “consultation”. This would explain this misunderstanding between the demonstrators and him.

A “consultation” but not a vote, according to the outgoing delegate

“I could very well have said in Paris: ‘Knight such and such for my property'”explains the significance of his approach to openness when he was faced with a jam of questions (four). “But I discovered that the best thing was to have the opinion of the digital actors of the territory. I could very well not propose this consultation. It was not meant to divide. I take responsibility for my desire to consult also. When I said in Paris that I would have consulted the territory, I was told ‘free for you’ but the regional delegate has all the power to do what he wants’ “, globally reports the point of view of Paris. This controversy, which he considers useless and surprising, leads him to say so “without this consultation”which therefore was not obliged to offer, “would have been better”. So a peak.

“I made a first presentation to which I invited all members to come. Very few came. I thought this consultation that day (March 31, ed) it would have allowed me to find a successor by show of hands but there, surprise, there were almost as many hands raised as there are (laughs). It was a strange consultation… I therefore proposed to extend the consultation to the members. At the end of this consultation, two people reaffirmed their desire to be representatives of Numeum at Reunion “He explains.

Faced with this divergence of readings on the fact that this is not a vote but a consultation, Stéphane Colombel offers an overview of how he envisioned the appointment of his successor.

Last-minute accessions that betrayed a lack of seriousness, according to the regional delegate

“I was thrilled that people were interested, but the purpose of this consultation was not a rush to join. Here, I tried to do my best, to be as enlightening as possible with each other, to open up the debate and not to stay in the middle of each other. He was scolded in some organizations, that’s not what I was trying to do at all. “. It also adds a caveat about the contribution of new members claimed by the unified candidacy. He informs that, for example, an email of intention to join and support Mike Sihou arrived just before the videoconference began on April 8, when another email was sent from someone whose core business is not it was digital.

“Of the fourteen registrations, there are registrations made at the last moment. When I say ‘last moment’ I mean that I received an e-mail which said in short: ‘Here I am a member of Numeum and I want support stuffuche!’ ten minutes before the videoconference (laughs) When I get an email ten minutes before and I don’t even have a screenshot of his membership in Numeum etc, it seems complicated to me … There is also a person who announces his membership when he is not in the spectrum of possibilities members because she is not in the business, her company is not in the digital field. So there you have it, we have not been able to integrate it. “elsewhere, there is at least one member who says’ I support Sihou, but if I can partner with Berezaie , I will. “This was the mood we wanted. We managed to make it a challenge. For me, any member of Numeum is welcome to Numeum, whether right or left, green, blue, … let’s work together. We did not vote to be president of the regional council when it is even! (laughs) We have to put things right. We are in a representation of a professional employers organization, I do not understand all this controversyhe breathes a little surprised by the amplification given by the trio of disappointed candidates.

“Ultimately, what I hope is that Numeum will have more and more members, that it will have more and more weight and that the actions are always better organized. I’ll give you just one example: it is very important that the sector becomes more involved than it already is. , and it is already doing it! And Numeum can carry that weight with Pôle emploi on the aspect of recruiting and implementing training actions. It is a beautiful job that can be marked Numeum, just like Digital Réunion for that matter. “

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