Aug 21, 1936
|Age||85 years old|
During his childhood, François Pinault regularly came to the Route de Lorient Stadium to watch his local team, even being ball-boy on numerous occasions. At the tender age of 24, he took over the local sawmill of his father, and progressively grew in stature in business, and bought out the groups of Printemps, La Redoute and FNAC at the beginning of the 1990s. Having been a key figure in bringing Laurent Pokou to Rennes in 1973, the Breton François Pinault joined his beloved club as main sponsor in 1993. A year later, Rennes were back in the 1st Division, and fighting for their survival until 1998, when Kaba Diawara saved them. During the close season that followed, Pinault became the majority shareholder at the club through his subsidiary Artémis, and installed Pierre Blayau as President. The first idea was to assemble a squad with a Breton feel to it, with Paul Le Guen as Manager. The 1998/1999 season was a successful one, finishing 5th, thanks to some shrewd signings, a cohesive team, and a party mood among the club’s supporters, rewarded by a prestigious clash against Juventus in the Intertoto Cup. In the summer of 2000, the club invested over 50 Million Euros in new signings from South America who turned out to be flops, and that ultimately cost the pairing of Blayau and Le Guen their jobs. The club would still be paying for their errors until three years later, in 2003 and the arrival of Laszlo Bölöni as manager, and then a year later that of Pierre Dréossi as Manager and Emmanuel Cueff as President. The club underwent a progressive restructuring process. The stadium, the training complex at La Piverdière, the administrative offices, and the Academy setup were put in the hands of close confidants Hubert Guidel, René Ruello, Frédéric de Saint-Sernin then Patrick Le Lay, then Ruello once more. In 2017, he passed on the responsibility to his son François-Henri, and experienced the joy of Rennes’ French Cup Final victory in 2019.