Human Resources

A new adventure for Virginie Nopeo (*)

(*) The names of the interim manager and client have been changed for confidentiality


The story begins in the French city of Basel in 2018.
A Swiss global pharmaceutical company with a fast-growing site. Located on the Swiss border, it employs 550 people and produces active ingredients for its own cosmetic products. When the HR director announced his departure following the Compulsory Annual Negotiations, the company turned to WAYDEN to resolve this urgent dilemma while waiting for his replacement: a German director promoted internally.

For six critical months, the General Manager would need to ensure the full continuity of the HR department. The requirements were both clear and demanding: they needed someone who was perfectly autonomous and well-experienced in the HR challenges of industrial sites.


Faced with the reactivity required for this project, Benoît Durand-Tisnes, Associate Director at WAYDEN, identified the most qualified candidates from the WAYDEN Selection network. And he chose Virginie Nopeo, an HR expert specialised in industrial sites and able to take over the entire HR function, including development, training, recruitment and legal.

The interim manager’s background

With a degree from France’s ESCP and a Master’s in psycho-sociology from Dauphine, Virginie Nopeo quickly rose through the ranks to HR Director for the school division of AVENANCE, where she led a major project to work with local suppliers. She later became HR Director France of GEODIS LOGISTICS following the merger of the brand’s two companies, then HR Director France of Christian SALVESEN where she was taked with implementing the new HR policy in a turnaround context.

After four years at BRINK’S France where she held the position of Director of HR Development, Virginie turned to interim management where she successfully completed several assignments. Her efficiency, kindness and sense of equality make her a highly sought-after professional.


Virginie Nopeo efficiently managed three actions simultaneously:

  • Organise the social agenda for the first quarter of 2019 in a context of ongoing negotiations and pre-electoral planning
  • Restore trust in the HR function among employees, for whom its image has been severely damaged
  • Prepare for the arrival of the new HR Director – a German transfer with very little knowledge of HR social particularities in France – train him and ensure a smooth transition

WAYDEN provided automated reporting so the client could closely monitor the project at any time.


After six months, the project was a success, the new contract terms were voted, and the elections took place smoothly and efficiently. Only the new director’s training took more time than expected, which extended the project a few extra weeks. But then again, adapting to French labour laws is no easy task!