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10 Mar 19

Relations presse immobilier
Contact médias : Carol Galivel - 01 41 05 02 02

Thibault de Saint Vincent, President of BARNES, specialised in international high-end residential real estate, has announced the arrival of Virginie Calmels as President of BARNES France, CEO of BARNES International, CEO of BARNES Hospitality and joint shareholder as of 11 March 2019.

Thibault de Saint Vincent, President of BARNES, specialised in international high-end residential real estate, has announced the arrival of Virginie Calmels as President of BARNES France, CEO of BARNES International, CEO of BARNES Hospitality and joint shareholder as of 11 March 2019. She will be tasked with creating the world’s leading major luxury brand in the service sector.

In a little over twenty years, BARNES has become the leading international player in high-end residential real estate in France, while also developing its international presence with branches in fifteen countries. Its 90 offices cover some sixty international destinations. In 2018, the BARNES network generated sales volumes of around €4.9bn.

With the arrival of Virginie Calmels, BARNES is seeking to consolidate and expand its growth, as well as making the brand one of the major ambassadors of “French art de vivre”. The new President of BARNES France will be able to build on the brand’s wide range of complementary business lines and services (art and asset advisory, yacht acquisition and sale consultancy, the sale of vineyards, hunting estates and horse farms, architecture, and interior design).

BARNES is also venturing into public-interest missions through the creation of a BARNES Foundation to promote the safeguarding of heritage and support for the arts and young talent. The company will also place great emphasis on training young people in the trades that comprise this “French art de vivre”.

Virginie Calmels will be working alongside Heidi Barnes, the brand’s Founder, Thibault de Saint Vincent, President of BARNES International, and Richard Tzipine, Managing Director France and Director of Real Estate Expertise for BARNES International.

 “We are thrilled to be welcoming Virginie Calmels on board the BARNES team”, said Thibault de Saint Vincent. “Her extensive experience, her natural leadership and her strong sense of commitment, as well as her understanding of the challenges we face in this changing market will stand us in good stead when it comes to adapting to the internationalisation of our business and its diversification. Our aim has always been to promote French art de vivre. Virginie will be lending her support to this ambition of providing a bespoke global and local service for our clients that goes beyond the acquisition of a primary or secondary residence. But above all Virginie shares the same values that BARNES has always upheld: Global, Vision, Confidence, Excellence and Elegance”

Virginie Calmels gave the following statement: “The success of BARNES in the high-end real estate sector has been truly impressive. I am honoured to be joining this leading brand that has managed to set itself apart with its entrepreneurial spirit and creativity, the strength of its integrated network worldwide, and its perfect understanding of the changing expectations of its clientèle. As a firm believer in the extraordinary potential of the BARNES brand, I am delighted to be taking on this new challenge in a sphere that holds a special place in my heart. What could be more motivating than the chance to promote French art de vivre worldwide? The greatly ambitious growth target set by Thibault de Saint Vincent, particularly on the international stage, and his entrepreneurial and visionary character, combined with his readiness to become involved in education and to create a foundation for heritage have further buoyed my enthusiasm”.

Virginie Calmels, 48, graduated from Toulouse Business School (ex ESC Toulouse) and INSEAD graduate business school, and also holds a post graduate degree in accounting and finance as well as being a certified public accountant.


She began her career in 1993 at the Salustro Reydel auditing and consulting firm before joining the Canal+ Group (1998-2003) where she successively held the position of Finance Director of NC Numericable, Finance Director of the Canal+ group’s international and development divisions and subsequently Chief Financial Officer of Canal+ S.A., before being promoted to Deputy Chief Executive Officer and then joint Chief Operating Officer of the French Canal+ channel. She moved to Endemol France in 2003 as CEO while also acting as Chairwoman of Les Airelles Hotel in 2007 following its acquisition by the LOV Group, then CEO as of October 2007. In May 2012, she was promoted to CEO of Endemol Monde while staying on as CEO of Endemol France, before steeping down from these positions in mid-January 2013.

She chaired the Supervisory Board of Eurodisney from March 2011 up until her resignation in January 2017. She was also independent director of Technicolor from May 2014 to May 2017, and remains an independent board member of Iliad SA (Free) since June 2009 and of Assystem since April 2016.

She moved into politics in March 2014 when she was elected Deputy Mayor of Bordeaux in charge of the Economy, Employment and Sustainable Growth, Vice President of Bordeaux Metropolis and President of the Bordeaux Euratlantique public development agency, positions which she stepped down from on 14 February 2019 following Alain Juppé’s resignation.

She is the Founder and President of the political movement “Droitelib” and councillor for the Nouvelle Aquitaine region.

She is also a member of the Le Siècle association and was named “Chevalier de l'Ordre national du Mérite” (National Order of Merit).

Her diverse and high-level career, her knowledge of the “client experience” and international groups (Endemol, Disney), as well as her personal affiliation with real estate and more generally the protection of heritage made Virginie Calmels the ideal candidate to fulfil BARNES’ expectations.

There is much to look forward to from BARNES in 2019. Hot on the heels of the launch of the BARNES Art Advisory department (consultancy for the acquisition of works of art) by Heidi Barnes, BARNES Vineyards Investment (consultancy for the acquisition of vineyards) with Pascal Debon and Arnaud Lurton, and BARNES Yachts (acquisition, sale and seasonal rental of yachts) with Eric Althaus, the company will continue to boost its growth with the opening of the first BARNES Club in Paris in the autumn to expand its high-end seasonal rental activity in France and abroad.

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