PVR’s Renaud Palliere: Gearing up for foreign expansion

Cinemas Features

A Frenchman mingling in an all-Indian executive team? The very notion may prompt some puzzled remarks—but Renaud Palliere would take those in his stride. He lived in Hong Kong for 17 years, serving as chief financial officer of Café Deco Group, erstwhile one of the territory’s largest hospitality groups. And that firsthand experience allowed him to adapt to corporate cultures very different from those of his home country.

While still based in Hong Kong, his first involvement with PVR Ltd. was as a business consultant. In 2005, he then joined the company’s board of directors as an independent non-executive director before, in 2012, taking on his present executive role as CEO of Luxury Collections and international development.

“I have been able to contribute my experience in the hospitality trade by introducing and adapting some of its attributes and business principles to the cinema context as a means to substantially enhance customer experience and differentiate the offering against an ever-growing competitive media landscape,” Palliere says.

Luxury Collections, of course, is a division within the PVR group set up in 2011 to develop and manage the circuit’s premium cinema properties. Palliere had a crucially important hand in pioneering this division through the establishment of “PVR Director’s Cut,” one of the posh venues that have in the meantime helped PVR to make a name for itself as India’s largest cinema chain. He also was one of the driving forces behind the acquisitions of local chains Cinemax in 2013 and DT Cinemas in 2016, both of which further cemented PVR’s undisputed market leadership position.

In his role as CEO of the company’s international department, Palliere at first glance seems to have preciously little to do, as PVR currently is not yet represented anywhere outside of India. But this may very well change in the quite near future, as chairman and managing director Ajay Bijli has already hinted at a possible expansion. (See our opening article.) And Palliere confirms, albeit a little mysteriously, “It is most likely that we will be making an announcement in that regard in the next few months.” Until then, his main role is—and has been—to develop “a pipeline of opportunities overseas, namely in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and selected Western markets.” But for now, PVR’s prime focus will firmly remain on domestic expansion, with an emphasis on further developing the circuit’s luxury venues, as well as driving ahead technological innovation and customer service.

“Perhaps I have been acquainted with the business landscape in India for too long to remember the many challenges that I had to overcome,” Palliere reflects. But he immediately follows up with the proverb: “If you don't inspect it, don't expect it,” a saying that perhaps best summarizes the type of challenges that he had to face initially but certainly has learned to master thanks to his hands-on professional approach and systematic attention to every small detail. FJI won’t be surprised at all to soon see him popping up somewhere, inaugurating PVR’s very first overseas location—wherever that may turn out to be. Our hunch is that it’s going to be a country in the Middle East or in Southeast Asia. But that is pure speculation.

 “I am proud to be associated with PVR and to share this honor with PVR’s world-class team.”—Renaud Palliere