jean-marc SORNIN

Jean-marc SORNIN



A scientist and, above all, an entrepreneur.

Throughout his entire career, Jean-Marc Sornin has consistently managed to combine the world of the entrepreneur and the world of academia. From setting up Ecocéan back in 1987 to his present role as CEO of ABYSSA, he is a leader with a strong belief in the value of collective work and multidisciplinarity.

It was to explore the mysteries of Terra Incognita that drew Jean-Marc SORNIN to study Marine Geology and, more prosaically, the work of Xavier LE PICHON, one of the first scientists to produce mappings of deep-seabed plate tectonics.
A passionate sailor and yachtsman, in 1983 he launched one of the first transatlantic yacht race simulation games. It was a huge success, even attracting interest from Apple. However, his love for Oceanography meant that he was happier pursuing his scientific research.

After completing his thesis in Marine Geology, followed by two years as Consultant Engineer for SCE and four years conducting research at IFREMER, Jean-Marc SORNIN developed an idea that has been his guiding star ever since. Oceanography is not a closed science. Instead, it cuts across several different disciplines.
This focus on multidisciplinary studies is apparent in his company ECOCEAN, set up in 1987. This later merged with CREO, an IFREMER subsidiary, in 1991, to form CREOCEAN SA, with Jean-Marc SORNIN as Technical and Sales Director until 1997, when he became Managing Director and then Managing Director and CEO in 2004.
In 1997, reflecting his strong belief in international collaboration, he was a founding member of EUROPHAR, a European economic interest group, and was appointed International Business Development Advisor for France in 2005. He has always succeeded in pursuing the operational and entrepreneurial side of his career while continuing his research, becoming a member of the Scientific Council of the University of La Rochelle in 2005, and sitting on its Board of Directors until 2011.
He was made a Chevalier du Mérite Maritime (Knight of the Order of Maritime Merit), a mark of rare distinction usually reserved for services rendered by seafarers (from the Navy or the Merchant Marines).

The seeds of ABYSSA were sown when, in 2014, Morgane RAVILLY and Michel COLINET, colleagues at CREOCEAN, came up with the idea for a project to submit for the Concours Mondial d’Innovation (World Innovation Challenge), a project that involved coordinating a fleet of autonomous underwater vehicles to map the deep ocean floor. The project won both stages of the Challenge, obtaining the backing to set up a collaborative research consortium. When the time came to wind down the consortium, a decision had to be made: should they call it a day, or see what would happen next? Jean-Marc SORNIN’s entrepreneurial spirit won the day, and ABYSSA was set up in 2019, together with three co-founders: Morgane RAVILLY and Michel COLINET, naturally, and Jean-Damien BERGERON who was right on board. They were joined in 2020 by Lionel LOUBERSAC.
Drawing on his extensive experience in the private sector and his vast network of contacts in the field of oceanography, Jean-Marc SORNIN was the obvious choice for the role of ABYSSA CEO, with his inimitable vision of leadership as a collaborative and participative exercise with one objective: to develop technical expertise in data acquisition and in interpreting the results to reveal the secrets of the unknown… of Terra Incognita.