Team captain of Unither Industries in Gannat

Stéphane Bourillot? No one is more entitled than his teams to talk about him. For that matter, they did so through internal surveys carried out by Unither. Rarely has one of the group’s plants had such good scores and such good feedback. Clearly, Gannat is a great place to work. And, without a doubt, it is one of Stéphane Bourillot’s greatest sources of pride. This passionate rugby fan acts both as the director of the site and as the team captain. His aim is to instill strong motivation and one shared objective among the complete workforce: customer satisfaction.


Arriving in 2001, Stéphane Bourillot began his career as a production technician on the classic tablet lines, where he was in charge of preparation and coating. Over the years, he gradually moved up the ladder and in 2010 he decided to train as an industrial engineer. A bold decision supported and funded by Unither. And so he studied whilst retaining his position as head of industrial operations. Two years of relentless hard work that demonstrated all the self-sacrifice and determination of a man who is not afraid of a challenge. In addition, Unither proved their faith in him by appointing him site manager in 2013, only a year after he graduated with his engineering diploma. “My career path has been an unusual one, but I’m proud of that,” he says. 2015.

“As a man of challenges, Stéphane naturally shares his energy with his teams to succeed. Such great team leader is almost unique. I’m so proud to collaborate with him.”

Eric Chesnel, Sales Director at Unither


One of Stéphane’s strongest memories of his career is the year 2010: when the French drugs authority, ANSM banned Diantalvic. It was a hard knock for the Gannat site, which was producing the generic version of this drug. The plunge was brutal. In a flash, millions of euros of turnover were gone. And of course, there were consequences. Stéphane Bourillot, the plant’s young manager had to take some complicated decisions, but it could have been a lot worse. “Without the strength of the Unither group, the Gannat plant would have shut down by now. In 2015, the decision to make Gannat one of the main production sites for saline solution in France was on the table. For me, it was another match I needed to win.”


New products mean new production lines. It took 18 months for Stéphane Bourillot and all his teams to implement the transition. That transition, technological as well as organizational, required the assistance of the Amiens and Coutances plants. “Without their help, we would never have managed to convert Gannat in such a short time. For me, that was the biggest success of a cross-cutting multi-site project. We brought in a new culture, and new customers.” For Stéphane, that really is where the success lies, and it has to be said that, after the Diantalvic episode, the employees were well aware that they had narrowly escaped disaster. Today, thanks to the work done by the sales team, the plant’s future is secure: in just 5 years revenues have increased by virtually 200%.


“As plant managers, our job is not just to oversee the technical or commercial aspects of our site. The central factor in all that is people.” For Stéphane Bourillot, quality of life at work is essential. It is necessary to maintain a team spirit, a particular atmosphere, and for that he has a role model: Bernard Laporte (when he was manager of Toulon rugby club). “He can always find the words to remotivate people, always respecting the other person. Like him, I try to ensure that people stick together, in good times and bad.” This motivation combined with a flawless organization enables the 142-strong workforce to meet all their orders on schedule. “That’s also one of the secrets of our success today: customer satisfaction. Everything that we put in place is designed with that in mind. There’s nothing more important that having happy customers.”


“Given this double-figure growth, our ambition is to achieve a billion unit doses by 2022 and to make Gannat the group’s medical device specialist,” explains Stéphane Bourillot. To achieve that, several strategies are being studied at the Unither group’s head office in Paris. At the same time, a dedicated team has set to work on tackling one of Unither’s other big challenges: reducing the environmental impact of polyethylene, the plastic used at the plant. Stéphane Bourillot is well aware that the coming years hold new objectives to be attained and the former rugby player that he is looks forward to them serenely, ready to surpass himself again and again.