Atos names ex French finance minister Breton CEO
Former French finance minister Thierry Breton has returned to corporate life as chief executive of Atos Origin, abruptly replacing Philippe Germond in what media called a boardroom coup. Consulting-Times E-zine  19.11.2008

The Supervisory Board members decided unanimously to appoint Thierry Breton as CEO and Chairman of the Management Board of Atos Origin to replace Philippe Germond who leaves the Group.

The Supervisory Board thanked Philippe Germond for his contribution at the head of Atos Origin for making the organisation evolve and for returning the Company back to growth.

The Financial Times and French business daily Les Echos reported in early Monday editions that the surprise appointment came in a boardroom manoeuvre carried out on Sunday.

It was the second shake-up in six months at Atos whose chairman was ousted by two hedge funds in June, a move seen as a breakthrough for shareholder activism in France.

Breton was Deputy General Manager and then Chief Operating Officer of Bull group from 1993 to 1996, CEO of Thomson group from 1997 to 2002, CEO of France Telecom from 2002 to 2005. He was Minister of Economy and Finance in France from February 2005 to May 2007.

Atos said it has appointed Breton in order to accelerate the roll-out of its transformation plan, refocus on key businesses and reinforce its market share.

Atos said the Supervisory Board will propose at the next Annual General Meeting a change of the articles of association to transform the Company into a “Société Anonyme” with a “Conseil d’Administration” (Board of Directors), instead of the current Supervisory and Management Boards. Thierry Breton will be proposed as Chief Executive Officer of Atos Origin under the future legal structure.