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Jean Mullor: Making plans for Nexo [interview]

With Yoshi Tsugawa returning to Japan after three-and-a-half years at the helm, Nexo has a new CEO – who plans to plug gaps in its product range and expand its global training programme

In product terms alone, 2014 may be regarded as a landmark year for French loudspeaker manufacturer Nexo, with the latest addition to the Scale Through Modularity (STM) series – the M28 omni module – and the GEO M6 compact arrayable cabinet reaching the market to an enthusiastic response. But it was significant on an organisational level, too, with December bringing the news that CEO Yoshi Tsugawa was leaving the role after three-and-a-half years to return to parent company Yamaha Corporation as head of the band and orchestra product departments.

Stepping into his place at Nexo is another Yamaha stalwart, French-born Jean Mullor. Trained as a lawyer and spending the first few years of his career at oil giant Mobil, Mullor (pictured) soon opted to pursue his keen interest in MI (he’s played guitar since his early teens), joining Yamaha in 1992. He’s been there ever since and, for the last four years, has served as MD of Yamaha Music Europe, overseeing the domestic distribution of instruments, commercial audio products, audio video products and music schools network development.

Then, in December, he got the “surprising but exciting” call about the leadership role at Nexo…

How closely had you tracked the development of Nexo since Yamaha acquired the company in 2008, and what do you think you can bring to the role of CEO?
I can well remember the positive response to Yamaha’s purchase of a 100 per cent share as there had long been good communication and cooperation between the two companies, as well as a history of some Yamaha people becoming Nexo employees. With Yamaha assuming full control of Nexo, there was the opportunity to build on this creative synergy.

Taking on the role of CEO, I can see that the market expects more collaboration between Nexo and Yamaha in terms of both technological integration and co-marketing. In particular, I think I can look to establish a stronger structure like that in place at Yamaha. Nexo has grown very quickly over the last 30 years and it seems to me there is space for improving the connections between R&D and production, and between administration and quality management through the use of my Yamaha know-how.

Product-wise, how is this increased cooperation likely to manifest itself?
We have been talking about whether Nexo should conceptualise a very nice speaker to be distributed by Yamaha, and that has already been a topic of discussion since I came onboard at the start of January.

More generally, I feel that the Nexo catalogue is currently rather limited compared to that of some of its competitors, so I plan to address that in the coming months. Our range for the live sound market is very strong, but there are gaps in the installation market. It’s my observation that although some people are very happy with the existing products, some are approaching us with special requirements that we are currently not able to fulfil or represent in our product offer.

One of the things that people should look out for this year is more smart, market-led solutions that I believe will attract many fresh users to the Nexo brand, especially installers and integrators.

In your initial remarks about the role you’ve highlighted the importance of education, so what developments can we expect to see in 2015?
Nexo runs a very extensive training course, ETC (Education, Training, Certification), which is designed to offer training and certification in general electroacoustic principles and the practical operation of Nexo line array and point-source systems.

I am aware that they have had excellent feedback from customers, so I am hoping to attend one of the courses soon. In 2015, I hope that we can look to accelerate and extend the programme in markets throughout the world, making it possible for all of our customers to join in on a regular basis.