Marie Michaud: Fourth Generation at the Head of the World’s Largest Honey Company

Marie Michaud: Fourth Generation at the Head of the World’s Largest Honey Company

A year ago, Marie Lecal-Michaud took over the reins of the family-owned Famille Michaud company, founded in 1920, which has become the world leader in honey distribution.

Last July, Marie Lecal-Michaud, 33, the fourth generation in the Michaud family business, took the reins of their eponymous company, which is based in Gan, in the Pyrénées Atlantiques region. Over the course of the last century, the company, which was founded by Lecal-Michaud’s great-grandfather in 1920 and now has 250 employees, has become the world leader in honey distribution. Before joining the company that was then run by her father, the young woman got an MBA in management and business strategy from the Institut des Etudes Commerciales (Business Studies Institute) in Pau, then worked for three years as a department manager for the sporting-goods chain Décathlon, in La Teste-de-Buch. She decided to join the family business seven years ago, first as a regional director, then moving on to manage accounts receivable. In 2018, she became Delegate Director General.

– A Dynamic Duo

As she takes on this new challenge, Marie Lecal-Michaud will be seconded by her twin sister, Julie Lecal-Michaud, who has been appointed as Director of Human and Financial Resources, and is in charge of auditing the business’s accounts. It’s a perfect partnership to ensure continued growth for the company, which recorded revenue of €154 million in 2020… and didn’t suffer from the health crisis. Quite the opposite, in fact: in the first few months of the pandemic, honey sales shot up 66%.

“To satisfy demand, the company buys 20% of France’s honey production. Famille Michaud’s honey is then exported to 77 countries, for a combined total of 19% of revenue from export, essentially to Sweden, Italy and the Middle East.”

200,000 Analyses A Year

It must be said that management does not skimp on quality control, since honey is a product that is often adulterated. In 1973, the company’s honey laboratory became the first in the world to be equipped with NMRI (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Identification) in order to identify their honey’s origins and to detect any risk of impurity. The goal is ton ensure the honey’s compliance with quality regulations, right from the harvest. To achieve that, 12 technicians and engineers perform over 200,000 honey analyses a year.

In this way, honey from more than a million hives are inspected in Michaud Family Beekeepers’ laboratories 38 quality-testing stations

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