The Data4 group strengthens its management team to support its vigorous growth

Our mission at Data4 is to build data centre campuses that are highly connected, resilient and responsible in order to support the growth of our clients in Europe. As a major European operator and investor in the data centre market, Data4 also needs the most talented individuals in its management team to finance, design, build and operate its own data centres.

François Sterin and Laurent Coudert are therefore joining Data4 management as Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Global Data Centre Operations Director. With experience gained while working for major cloud players such as OVH, Google and Amazon, there can be no doubt that they will be up to the challenge of supporting and accelerating the transition of the European Group’s data centres as it expands.

Data4: a European group that is constantly developing

At present, the group designs, builds and operates 29 highly connected, resilient and beneficial data centres in order to support the growth of its European clients. Having formalised its establishment in Poland in January 2022, in February this year Data4 announced the construction of a campus of data centres in Germany, at Hanau, near Frankfurt. This represents an investment of more than a billion euros, which is in line with the group’s ambition to triple its turnover by the end of the decade.

Data4 currently has a presence in 6 European countries (France, Italy, Spain, Luxembourg, Poland and Germany) and significant stocks of land and electricity, with approximately 185 hectares and 843 MW. The group’s ambition is to reach a capacity of 1 GW quickly. Olivier Micheli, CEO of Data4, is very clear about the group’s future: “Our ambition at Data4 is to be the key European player in the data centre sector. To achieve this, and in view of the growth of both our company and our business sector, we need to strengthen the industrialisation of our operational skills in order to expand.”

To support this expansion, the group has revamped the organisation of its management team in order to implement a joint strategy and operational standards for the group as a whole, while leaving each country considerable autonomy.

A fresh management team

The management team is structured around Olivier Micheli: Claire Vandromme, CFO (Chief Financial Officer), will implement the group’s ambitious financial policy; Greg McCulloch, CDO (Chief Development Officer), will be responsible for finding new sites and/or countries in which to set up; Marie Chabanon, CTO (Chief Technical Officer), will organise the construction of the data centres; Adam Levine, CCO (Chief Commercial Officer), will manage the group’s commercial development strategy.

The appointment of François Sterin and Laurent Coudert forms part of this new structure. As Chief Operating Officer, François Sterin will have responsibility for operations and will ensure quality, client satisfaction and sustainable development and will also provide support in structuring the group with the aim of achieving its ambition of strong growth. He will be assisted in particular by Laurent Coudert, Global Data Centre Operations Director, whose role will involve measuring the performance and harmonisation of processes as well as managing relations with Data4’s main operational partners.

François Sterin, a Chief Operating Officer of international standing

François Sterin has more than 20 years’ experience at international level in the field of IT and telecoms infrastructure. After starting his career at Orange, he joined Google in 2004 and embarked on an adventure that would last 13 years, initially at the headquarters in California, subsequently in London and Paris. As Global Infrastructure Director and in response to the hypergrowth of Google’s infrastructure, François contributed to the very rapid development of their data centres, networks and energy purchases. He then joined OVH, in the role of EVP Chief Industrial Officer, and also initiated the company’s environmental roadmap. In December 2022, he made the decision to join Data4.

He is a graduate of the École Polytechnique (2000) and the ENSTA Paris school of engineering (2002).

Laurent Coudert, a Global Data Centre Operations Director with multiple skills

Laurent Coudert started his career at EDF, where he remained for 20 years in various entities working in engineering and nuclear operations. He joined the EDF group in 1996 as a research engineer, became a research group leader in EDF’s R&D department in 2004, before being appointed head of R&D programmes in 2008. Between 2011 and 2014, he directed a nuclear engineering department, working on new EPR nuclear power station projects, then from 2014 to 2017 managed an engineering unit responsible for environmental research in active nuclear plants and research into the dismantling of first generation power stations.

In 2017, he joined the cloud giant AWS, where he remained for almost five years as electrical infrastructure and cooling manager in France then in Sweden (Data Centre Engineering Operations Manager) before assuming responsibility for AWS data centres in Sweden (Regional Infrastructure Operations Manager). Following this experience, he joined OVHcloud in 2022 as Data Centre Operations IT Director, before moving to Data4 in November 2022 as Global Data Centre Operations Director.

Laurent Coudert graduated in 1995 from the Ecole des Mines in Paris with a Masters in Executive Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and also holds a Business MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, awarded in 2011.

As the initiator of a model of hyperconnected, resilient and long-lasting data centre campuses, the objective of the Data4 Group is to support the digital growth of its clients in a sustainable way by providing them with scalable and secure data hosting solutions, ranging from a single rack to a dedicated building. The addition of two highly-qualified new talents to the management team will make an ambitious strategy a reality.