“This is a great opportunity for businesses to prove the validity and authenticity of their corporate purpose in terms of responsibility,” Patrice Caine, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Thales, says

The COVID-19 crisis has presented itself as a chance for every company to give a thorough reality-check to its corporate purpose and put it to the test. An exercise such as this can be revelatory and present a case of introspection for many.

Thales, a French company is a global high technology leader investing in digital and “deep tech” innovations – Connectivity, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Cyber Security and Quantum Technology. The company provides solutions, services and products that help its customers – businesses, organizations and states – in the defence, aeronautics, space, transportation and digital identity and security markets to fulfil their critical missions, by placing humans at the heart of the decision-making process.

Following are excerpts of an interaction with Patrice Caine, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Thales.

Thales has defined its purpose as “building a future we can all trust”. Can you elaborate on this?

The purpose of a company goes much beyond its mission, which is reflective of what it does. The purpose defines why the company exists.

Thales has defined its purpose as “building a future we can all trust”. This is the exact embodiment of the DNA that has shaped the Group since it was founded more than a century ago. The purpose of Thales is reflective of its deepest motivations and about the needs of society, today and tomorrow, that Thales can meaningfully address.

Customers must share the purpose of Thales. Why is this so?

Thales’s customers are those critical entities that form the nervous system of our societies. True trust for the future can only be built in concert with those customers of Thales who make the world go round. This is an ambitious vision and it cannot be executed by Thales alone.

What does Thales’ Purpose mean for its customers and society at large?

Thales has defined its purpose as building a future we can all trust. Trust is a crucial aspect, and a challenge, for societies. Everybody must play a part in building a future that can be trusted.

For Thales, its purpose revolves around three components of a future that can be trusted by all – autonomy, resilience and sustainability.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the world in a manner that is unprecedented. During the height of the pandemic, Thales was working alongside customers to carry out their vital operations and retain their autonomy even as the world around them was grinding to a halt. Some of these customers were providing critical services like telecommunications, transport and healthcare.

The second aspect of Thales’s purpose revolves around resilience which is all about helping partners overcome the crisis and return to growth.

Lastly, society’s demands for social and environmental responsibilities must be met. Sustainability is a key aspect of Thales’s purpose as it looks towards reducing the carbon footprints and environmental impact of itself and its partners.

A company’s corporate purpose is its moral compass in this crisis. It is the one that helps companies to identify the issues that are crucial for their customers and employees. It is what determines how their tangible actions and solutions can help them most effectively while preserving their safety and security.

What are your thoughts on companies aligning their ‘Purpose’ with society’s changing demands?

Changing times present new challenges for corporates. With the altering demands of societies, companies need to adapt and further align their purpose and values to the newly presented dynamics. The pursuit of plain profit without being mindful of the society tends to offer no advantage to any corporate.

A company needs to embrace purpose and consider the needs of a broad range of stakeholders in order to achieve long-term profits. With a strong sense of purpose and a commitment to stakeholders, companies can connect more deeply to their customers and adjust to the changing demands of society.

Technology providers such as Thales will need to show material evidence that their resources and capabilities effectively address these changing demands. The purpose is, at the end of the day, pivotal to sustain long-lasting profitability and businesses have come to realise the sheer scale of the challenges facing our complex world. This provides material evidence of their responsibility to society and to adapt to its changing dynamics.

Lastly, as a company present in India for many decades and being a partner to the Rafale program, can you give us an update on Thales’ offering onboard the Rafale?

For decades, Thales has been a trusted partner of the Indian armed forces. We remain steadfast in our commitment to the “Make in India” vision of the Government of India. “Make in India” is an enabler to accelerate our growth momentum and today we can proudly state that through local partnerships, under the aegis of this transformative vision, we are developing more products and creating more jobs locally in India.

The Indian Air Force’s Rafales fly with state of the art Thales technologies such as the RBE2 active electronic scanning array (AESA) radar and the SPECTRA electronic warfare system. Other Thales technologies onboard the Rafale include the front-sector optronic systems, the CNI system (communication, navigation, identification), the majority of the cockpit display systems as well as power generation systems and a logistics support component.

We remain committed to supporting the modernisation program of the Indian armed forces and help them to prepare, achieve and maintain tactical superiority and strategic independence over any form of threat.