GREENVILLE, S.C.—If Michelin needed any convincing that military veterans make good employees, it only needs to look at its North American president.
Pete Selleck—president and chairman of Michelin North America Inc.—joined the firm 32 years ago after graduating from the U.S. Military Academy and spending five years of active service in the U.S. Military.
“It's part of who I am. I'm very proud of my service and very grateful that I had the opportunity to do that,” Selleck said.
“We have a lot of veterans in this company. We have a large number of senior leaders who have that experience. We find that military experience develops a lot of core skills, particularly leadership, and we certainly appreciate those skills and the veterans we have in our company.”
Selleck said a number of Michelin's employees serve in the National Guard or the Army Reserve, as he did for more than 20 years after his service. When they get activated, Michelin compensates the difference on their salaries if their active duty pay is less than what they make with the firm. It also allows families to remain on their health and benefit programs.
“We don't want their families to suffer. Conversely, we want to recognize that they're doing something very, very important,” Selleck said.
Michelin continues to actively recruit those with military backgrounds to work for the firm. It recently initiated its Michelin Global Leadership program, which reaches out to junior military officers and graduate students in universities to try to assist in the transition into a company such as Michelin either out of a graduate program or out of the military.
It is one way Michelin tries to attract new talent. Selleck said Michelin spends a lot of effort in developing its employees. Ideally, they spend their entire career with the firm as he has.
“Our people generally work with us for their whole careers. I go into a lot of meetings where there are many, many people senior to me. It's important that if you're going to have people for long careers, you're constantly able to increase their skills,” Selleck said.
“Not only do you have to develop so they reach their potential, but also technology keeps changing, so you have to keep bringing people up to date.”