Naouri received his baccalaureat degree at only 15 years old. He then studied in classes préparatoires at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand before entering the École Normale Supérieure in 1967. He also attended Harvard University, before returning in France and completing a PhD in Mathematics in only one year. He is also an alumnus of the Ecole Nationale d’Administration (1974-1976).
After graduating from ENA in 1976, Jean-Charles Naouri joined the Inspection générale des finances (France), the auditing and supervisory body of the French Administration. From 1982 to 1986, he served as chief of staff for Pierre Bérégovoy, both at the Ministry of Social Affairs and National Solidarity and the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Budget. During this period, he was the Architect of the reforms implemented in the French financial markets, which included the creation of the MATIF futures and MONEP options markets and the introduction of certificates of deposit and commercial paper. In particular, he helped drive the financial market liberalization with measures to ease currency controls and eliminate credit restrictions.
In the early 1990s, Jean-Charles Naouri shifted his investment strategy from opportunistic to acquiring strategic stakes. As part of this new strategy, in 1991 he acquired the Brittany-based retailer Rallye, which at the time was facing serious cash flow issues/challenges. Convinced of the Future potential for Retailing and the benefits of combining the two companies, in 1992 he engineered a merger of Rallye with Groupe Casino, thereby becoming Groupe Casino’s largest shareholder.
In 1997, a hostile takeover bid for Groupe Casino by rival retailer Promodès was thwarted by the successful counter offer from Jean-Charles Naouri, the Guichard family and Casino management, thereby maintaining the Group’s independence.
In March 2005, Jean-Charles Naouri became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Casino Group, leading a substantial transformation of the retailer’s profile by disposing of underperforming Business segments in Poland, the United States, Taiwan and the Netherlands and strengthening the Group’s presence in fast-growing markets. This made Casino the leading food retailer in South America (especially Brazil and Colombia), the Indian Ocean and Vietnam and the second largest in Thailand.
He is also Vice Chairman of the Groupe Casino corporate foundation, which he founded in 2009 to improve access to culture and knowledge for children who are disadvantaged or suffering from illness. In addition, he is Honorary Chairman and Trustee of Ecole Normale Supérieure’s Institut d’Expertise et de Prospective, which is responsible for developing ties between the school and the corporate world.
In June 2013, Jean-Charles Naouri was appointed by France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be a special representative for Economic relations with Brazil.
In 2014, Jean-Charles Naouri was ranked by the economical magazine Challenges as the 53rd largest fortune in France, with 1.2 billion euros.