10. Maelle Gavet

CEO of Ozon Holdings, How To Win Over (Very) Skeptical Russian Customers

For French-born Maelle Gavet, adapting to life as CEO of Russian e-commerce site Ozon--which is vying to be the nation's Amazon--involved some serious culture shock. She's recovered nicely:

1% E-commerce's share of the Russian retail market

"When online business first appeared, a lot of operations would take your order and then disappear," says Gavet. Every single buyer gets a call from Ozon after placing an order, to build trust.

80% Ozon customers who pay in cash

Rather than fight the trend, Gavet facilitated it by building a nationwide pickup system. At 2,000 facilities, customers can inspect their deliveries before paying.

$100 million Ozon's latest round of funding

Investors respect Gavet's strategy to ease people into e-commerce: Revenue jumped 84% to $303 million in 2011. Once a client makes multiple orders, an Ozon rep makes sure that everything's gone well and asks if they'd like to continue the calls, or if they're comfortable forgoing them.

Timeline

  • 1999

    Enrolls at École Normale Supérieure after being accepted on the second try and preparing for the selective exam for three years

  • 2001

    Drops out of Normal Supérieure's prestigious program after realizing it wasn't right for her

  • 2001

    Starts an event-catering company; cleaning crew goes on strike, citing negligence

  • 2003

    Joins Boston Consulting Group

  • 2009

    Visits a small Russian online retailer called Ozon on a 4-week BCG project; Ozon offers her a job the next January

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