Find a boss for EDF, the state challenge
It was one of the most prestigious posts in the republic. From now on, the candidates will no longer jostle for the leadership of Electricité de France (EDF). So much so that the public sector is planning to break the ceiling of 450,000 euros per year, which, as has become known, limits the remuneration of the heads of public companies by decree The Echoesto facilitate that key recruitment at the top. A generosity that risks being taken as a red flag by public opinion at a time marked by tensions over purchasing power and wage demands. Which also destabilizes local bosses, who are subject to this rule unless they are also supposed to benefit from wage inflation.
The state announced on July 6 that it had initiated the succession process for EDF CEO Jean-Bernard Lévy, who had been in office since November 2014, with the aim of inaugurating new management at the start of the school year. In reality, the reflection had been initiated months earlier, without a suitor having prevailed since then. First names began to circulate. That of Henri Poupart-Lafarge, CEO of Alstom, comes back forcefully. “Today he is fully committed to the development of Alstom and the integration of Bombardier and intends to continue this mission.”stated, at World, the train builder. According to our information, Catherine Guillouard, CEO of RATP, who is regularly quoted, has indicated that she is not running for any position at EDF.
Other profiles are mentioned, such as those of Cédric Lewandowski, director of EDF’s nuclear and thermal park, Marianne Laigneau, CEO of Enedis, or Thierry Mallet, CEO of Transdev. But their ways don’t align with the mission that our sources say Bercy entrusted to headhunting firm Heidrick & Struggles: find an industrial personality at EDF.
Clearly, you recruit a big industrialist, not a big civil servant, after that repeated incidents in the nuclear fleet, which was running at only 40% of its capacity on Friday, July 29. Solving the problems of the aging fleet and ensuring connection to the EPR network in Flamanville (Manche) are major challenges both for EDF and for France’s energy independence.
Other French flagships in the state portfolio have been in bad shape in recent years. To get it going again, international executives, “professionals” in their field, were recruited. In 2014, the PSA group, which had just benefited from a rescue plan with the entry of the state into its capital, entrusted its driving to Portuguese Carlos Tavares, former Renault number two. In 2018, strike-plagued Air France-KLM found its general manager, Canadian Benjamin Smith, at Air Canada. Renault was looking to replace controversial Carlos Ghosn at Volkswagen in 2020, targeting Italian Luca de Meo.
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