Business

Publishing

Two's company— New York

Preface

Husband-and-wife team Martine and Prosper Assouline have built their luxury publishing house by doing what feels natural. Since starting in their Paris apartment nearly 20 years ago, Assouline is now a US-based market leader.

Abbeville, Martine Assouline, Prosper Assouline, Rizzoli, Vendome

Founding and running a global business with your husband may sound like a recipe for disaster but for Martine Assouline – who started her eponymously named publishing house with her husband Prosper in 1994 – it’s clearly worked. “We’re always together – just like two books on a shelf,” she says, from the company’s headquarters in New York’s Chelsea. “There’s no real separation between our work and our life. We’re together, so we can make very fast decisions and it’s great that we share is a common taste.”

Martine looks like the archetype of a chic…

The rules

01: What time do you like to be at your desk?
By 8.30, so I have time to work with the Paris office.

02: Where’s the best place to prepare for leadership, an MBA school or on the job?
I would say that an MBA is helpful because I never had that experience myself.But, if you don’t have the character to be a leader, an MBA won’t help.

03: Describe your management style
When making a decision, I like to ask the people who are involved in the situation – including Prosper, before I make my mind up.

04: Are tough decisions best taken by one person?
I always consult the manager of each team before I make big decisions. I check Prosper is happy with my decision and it’s done.

05: Do you want to be liked or respected?
I want to be respected. But being liked is a bonus.

06: What does your support team look like?
Each department has its own manager and I work with them directly.

07: What technology do you carry on a trip?
My BlackBerry and iPad.

08: Do you read management books?
No. I didn’t have management teaching but my father was an excellent manager. He was very human but at the same time very fair and clear.

09: Run in the morning? Wine with lunch? Socialise with your team after work?
I hate to run. I love to have a good Bordeaux with Prosper every night. I hope our employees do the same and prefer that than socialising with me!

10: What would your key management advice be?
To be determined but to listen and explain well.

Monocle 24

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