Sacha Rosenthal: “Sport in the workplace, a vector of achievement”


lhe work is health. This is the philosophy of Sacha Rosenthal, CEO of the Xefi Group, leader in IT services for VSEs/SMEs. An experienced sportsman and passionate about triathlon, the self-taught entrepreneur has chosen to integrate sports practice not only into his daily life, but also that of his company and more particularly of his employees.

In particular, Sacha Rosenthal has built a sports temple within his company headquarters: a 108-meter running track, three training rooms with a physiotherapist and full-time sports coaches. A successful initiative as he now claims “53% compliance with the Group Health and Sport” and a “real improvement in employee wellbeing and performance”. But the passion is so overflowing that out of a business challenge, the Rhone entrepreneur has launched a crazy bet: to set up an international event, the YOTTA XP, from scratch.

ALSO READExercise is also good for the eyes!

A success story french style

Xefi is the story of an SME that has grown into a major player in IT services in 25 years. The culmination of a long-distance race that the CEO has led for 25 years. Without a degree, Sacha Rosenthal began his professional career at age 17 as a video game salesman before enlisting in the military. Three years later, he left La Grande Muette and moved to Lyon (Rhône) to set up a computer repair shop with savings of 50,000 francs. History is on. Little by little the company went through a growing development. Twenty-five years later, Xefi has more than 700 employees throughout France, a turnover of more than 260 million euros in 2021 (more than 50% growth) and aims for 320 million (15% growth) in 2022.

“It’s a great story, a great adventure,” admits Sacha Rosenthal. “We have remained a family business and 100% independent from the start, because I never wanted to bring investment funds into the capital. I never predicted such success. But the most important thing is that the fundamentals have remained the same since I started,” the entrepreneur exults. It now ambitiously aims to become a European leader in VSE/SME IT services. “The plan? Triple our revenue in the next 5 to 7 years to become a continental leader. We target 400 locations in 2025-2026 (versus 151 today). »

Three times less absenteeism due to sports

Sacha Rosenthal, that’s why it’s a success story French style. The real battle of the self-taught, however, is that of sport. “Within my group I set up a sports health program with 26 coaches, including 3 full-time employees and a nutritionist,” explains the person concerned. “We take care of the individual versus the collective. The visible side are the sports sessions, but there is also nutrition, tailor-made diagnostics and a physiotherapy center. In all our agencies throughout France (excluding franchises), we make sure that employees are not left out: showers, infrastructure and a coach. We are even developing an application to make it easier to control all this. †

At the company’s headquarters in Rillieux-la-Pape (Rhône), 70% of the employees attend sports classes and the absenteeism rate is three times lower than that of the profession. “I am convinced that satisfaction and achievement are two things that are connected. I see the well-being of the employees who have been working there for several years and I can tell you that their overall average health is extraordinary. It builds loyalty and it provides tremendous collective dynamics. I have no doubts about the profitability, the return on investment – ​​although that is not the objective. †

ALSO READThe ABCs of essential vitamins for sports

The YOTTA XP, an international race

From the top of his nine Ironmans, the adventurous CEO wanted to take on a new challenge by creating a new race from scratch: the YOTTA XP, which will start on July 23 in Vichy. The idea for this extraordinary challenge came to Sacha Rosenthal and his coach Éric Villena, during a triathlon outing. So, the two athletes came up with a race consisting of completing the same course consisting of 1 km of swimming and 8 km of running to be repeated five times, improving performance with each lap. If the first loop is to be completed in less than an hour (+ 5′ for women), participants will have five minutes less per lap to complete the loop.

As far as race management is concerned, Gaël Mainard, creator of the Challenge Vichy, and longtime race director of the Ironman Vichy, will be at the helm. “I told myself we had to make it a big international race. I’m an entrepreneur, I always say you have to think big,” explains Sacha Rosenthal. “No project sees the light of day without ambition. The idea is to make this event a big event so that it becomes a World Tour, with about twenty races around the world. †

ALSO READWhere has the taste for exertion gone?

And the first edition is already tempting, as the best top athletes, often from the triathlon, crowd there. “It is an organization of international level”, the founder of the event rejoices. “We have a very strong elite field, which shows that the format is popular, while the prize money is equal to that of the other major international races (66,000 euros in total). Among the big names rushing to grab their bibs, we find in particular the triathletes Antony Costes and Dylan Magnien or the new European Ironman champion Denis Chevrot: “The YOTTA XP inspires me especially with a lot of curiosity because we don’t really know what you can expect.Having a new format is really great.It will challenge the world of triathlon.It is necessary to manage the series of loops well, so as not to burn all its cartridges at the beginning.I am going to prepare really specifically for the YOTTA because when I start it must be as efficient as possible In addition it is not far from my home and for my supporters I want to be good The level will be very high I would like to say that the cards will be redistributed , but because it’s a new format, they’ll be distributed instead.”

Finally, the less seasoned athletes will not be missed. The event also features a reduced version of the race: the YOTTA XPS, which can be done solo or in a relay, and consists of a 0.5km swim and 4km walk. “The small size is a race aimed at less experienced athletes and families. The idea is for the event to be family-friendly in the morning, before turning into an international show in the afternoon. It’s something that doesn’t exist anywhere else. That’s the YOTTA XP! concludes the entrepreneur.