[Interview] Damien Raby, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Naviris

15 November 2023 International Group Human ressources Defense Naval

Created in 2019, Naviris is a joint venture equally owned by Naval Group and Fincantieri. For both groups, Naviris represents the opportunity to improve their ability to serve the French and Italian Navies, to develop new technologies and to increase the competitiveness of the French and Italian naval sectors on the global naval defence market. Damien Raby, the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) briefs us on the latest business and operational news from Naviris.

Naviris, operational since January 2020, is now in its fourth year. What’s the progress so far and what are the company’s current challenges?
The first years of Naviris were dedicated to three main activities. Firstly, the coordination of a group of six Research & Development (R&D) projects, co-financed by both Italy and France, and by the parent companies, Fincantieri and Naval Group. These projects are now on the verge of completion and discussions are underway for others with both countries.

Secondly, preparing to respond to the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation’s (OCCAr) invitation to bid for the mid-life refits of Horizon air defence frigates including two Italian ships and two French ships. These preparations concluded successfully on 28 July with the notification of a contract between the OCCAr, on the one part, and Naviris and Eurosam, on the other.

The third main activity during this period consisted in coordinating the bid relating to the European corvette project, in response to a call for expression of interest by the European Commission.  The corresponding contract, associating Spain and Greece in addition to France and Italy and with a two-year calendar, was recently notified on 24 October.

All of these activities called for a broad skill set taking Naviris’ manpower from about 30 in the spring of 2023 to approximately 60 in the spring of 2024. While this ramp-up has taken off well, nearly half the vacancies still remain to be filled.

What kind of profiles are you on the lookout for?
We’re mostly looking for technical profiles, with, for example, specialists in communication or other systems. Some profiles however call for program management skills, such as vacancies for Document Management Leader, Export Control Manager, Scheduler or Program Package Management Controller. These vacancies concern job openings on the sites of Ollioules and Genoa. Certain jobs call for a blended skill set. Take for example, Purchase Contract Managers, who are in charge of relationships with our main partners, or Methods and Tools Managers. 

Why join Naviris?
Naviris is one of the rare exceptions as far as European cooperation in the shipbuilding industry goes, given its position as a long-term joint venture versus a temporary consortium.  The company stands strong thanks to a long collaborative history between France and Italy for various programs, right from the MU90 torpedo to multimission frigates (FREMM) and Horizon frigates. Moreover, the company also enjoys the support of its parent companies and nations, firmly committed to developing this collaborative relationship with the view to using it as a springboard for a broader scope of cooperation.    

While this is a rapidly growing subsidiary, it remains small enough to preserve a “familial” quality combined with a spirit of solidarity and curiosity.  The French and Italian cultures don’t merely co-exist side by side but make the most of their proximity to blend their cultures into all aspects of work and activities beyond the professional sphere. This is particularly enriching!     

The feeling that we’re all part of building something big together is a sentiment shared by all Naviris employees. 

The financial conditions are at least as interesting as those offered by Naval Group providing company employees who’ve joined Naviris with the option of returning to their parent company.

What are the subsidiary’s upcoming business priorities? 
Our first priority is to provide the deliverables we’ve committed to in our contracts, while respecting the defined time and cost framework. As far as the EPC (European Patrol Corvette) is concerned, we’re anticipating another four-year contract to follow with the first bid expected late November. With respect to R&D, it is up to us to give the sponsor nations good reason to assign a new portfolio of major projects to Naviris by 2025.  Lastly, in the beginning of 2024, we intend dedicating time to reflect on Naviris’ Purpose and eventual possibilities for broadening the scope of the company’s activities.   

To consult Naviris job offers, click here !