"Becoming what we’ve dreamed of becoming"
Twenty-five years after the legendary desert experience in the Ténéré, where a handful of men and women laid the foundations of what would grow to be one of the world’s biggest insurance groups, the moment has come to capture a lasting record of the sequel to this extraordinary story.
Remember: just one generation ago, in 1980, the AXA name had not yet been invented; the Group had just been born. In 1996, it bought UAP (Union des Assurances de Paris), a company twice its size. Then came the 2000s, when AXA consolidated its achievements while expanding its presence in fast-growing markets, all the while enduring two major crises, the one at the end of 2001, and the crisis from 2008 to 2010.
Today, AXA Group is the global leader in its industry and employs more than 214,000 people in sixty-one countries. We are working to become what we dreamed of becoming a few years ago: a group of pioneering, innovative entrepreneurs always on the alert, and never accept defeat.
This extraordinary spirit, a culture that strives to overcome challenges, a set of shared values and consistently high standards are what makes AXA and makes its strength. Above all things, this is the crux of our tale.
I have the privilege of being at the head of this group for about a decade now. I have watched it grow, consolidate, reconsider its strategy, endure several crises and then move forward, again and again. Because it has taken place in a tumultuous global environment and because it is absolutely unique, AXA’s story is fascinating. We wished to continue to share it with our different audiences. To enhance our narrative, we turned to our key witnesses, listened to them avidly for hours, cross-checked our sources, gathered hundreds of anecdotes and searched for the most vivid photographs to richly illustrate this 25-year saga.
Of course, the adventure continues. It is being written every day, and I am convinced that the AXA Group of tomorrow will continue to build on its roots of yesterday.
Most of all, this book pays a special tribute to all the people who make up the Group and with whom I am proud to work every day.
Henri de Castries
AXA Group Chairman and CEO