Address book

Octavie Dexant’s style and dining choices

Octavie Dexant: “I find defeatism terrible”. Photo: Guy Wolff/Maison Moderne

Octavie Dexant: “I find defeatism terrible”. Photo: Guy Wolff/Maison Moderne

The new CEO of Axa Luxembourg likes to share simple pleasures that bring her family together and says that she has “a serious problem with books”.

A graduate of a Franco-German programme at Sciences Po Paris, Octavie Dexant approached insurance through the prism of finance, starting as an auditor at PwC, for three years, before joining Axa group’s strategy department in 2010, where she conducted research for the management committee.

In 2014, she joined Axa Creditor, its global entity dedicated to loan insurance, as head of strategy. She led the acquisition of Genworth LPI, a major player in the market, and was appointed corporate secretary of the new entity. In 2017, she joined the commercial department at Axa Partners Holding, where she led the tender for a global digital partnership with ING.

The tender was won in 2018 and she was appointed deputy CEO of this virtual joint venture. She succeeded Mirjam Bamberger as CEO of Axa Luxembourg in January 2022. She is married and has three daughters.

Aurélie Boob: What is your favourite meal?

Octavie DexantOctavie Dexant: Sunday lunch. The one we prepare together and time is never taken into account.

What is your favourite restaurant in the country?

I have a very limited view at this stage, but it turns out that Atelier Windsor, which is just downstairs from my office, is a very good place. The produce is good, the dishes are fine and varied, and the chef’s passion is infectious.

What’s a must-have item on any good menu?

The dessert. It’s impossible not to end on a sweet note.

Do you like to cook? And what is your speciality?

Yes, especially pastry. I like its precision with a tangible and aesthetic result. I tend to take on new challenges every time, but the basic one that always comes back is the family rice pudding covered with a thin layer of dark chocolate.

What would you say is the must-have accessory for any self-respecting wardrobe?

A delicate perfume, not too flowery, not too sweet. I come from a family of perfumers in Grasse and I have inherited the family nose and an olfactory memory.

What is your favourite piece of jewellery?

Rings, they always tell a story.

What do you consider to be the most unforgivable lapse in taste in clothing?

Out of principle, to each their own...

What is the last piece you added to your wardrobe?

A very nice scarf given to me by my former team when I left for Luxembourg, combining Klein blue and orange, in the colours of Axa and ING.

What is your dream destination and why?

The Cape of Good Hope, [which gives] a feeling of being at the end of the world with a mysterious and poetic name.

Who or what inspires you in your daily life and why?

My paternal grandfather. He had an immense propensity for happiness and a very deep sense of commitment, care for others and ethics. He was definitely my northern star.

A quote that resonates with you?

“You cannot, on the pretext that it is impossible to do everything in one day, do nothing at all” [said by Abbé Pierre].

I find defeatism terrible. I like the courage to commit oneself and the awareness of the impact one can have, however small.

What is the phrase you repeat to your children?

That I simply love them and that they have everything in them to be happy.

Are you more of a bookstore or Amazon person?

Bookstores. I have a serious problem with books. I have an incompressible need to own more than I can read. I could spend hours in a bookshop.

Do you go to museums and if so, which ones?

My first museum in Luxembourg was of course the Mudam, of which Axa is a patron. The architecture of the building is a work of art in itself; it’s magnificent. In Paris, I have a particular affection for the Jacquemart-André Museum and the exhibitions at the Atelier des Lumières, where you are immersed in the works.

What was the last piece of music you downloaded or bought physically?

I’ve just added three to my playlist at the moment, La Bonne étoile by M, Monde nouveau by Feu! Chatterton and Lost on you by LP.

When do you listen to music most often?

Every morning and every evening when I’m on my way to and from work. It’s my special time, a time just for me. I also often listen to music when I need to concentrate. The rhythm of the music gives a rhythm to my thoughts and I am always more efficient.

Apart from a phone, what is the one piece of technology you can’t live without?

A GPS. I dreamt about it before it even existed. When I was a little girl, I was convinced that turn signals told us which way to go.

Originally published in French by Paperjam and translated for Delano.