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The chair of problem-plagued French IT companies group Atos Bertrand Meunier is about to step down, throwing the restructuring and asset sale plan he had championed into uncertainty, based on folks conversant in the matter.
One other Atos board member, Jean Pierre Mustier, previously chief govt of Italian financial institution UniCredit, is being lined as much as take Meunier’s place, they mentioned.
The shake-up could possibly be introduced as early as Monday.
Atos declined to remark. Meunier, a former govt at personal fairness agency CVC, couldn’t be reached for remark. Mustier declined to remark.
It stays unclear what the board modifications will imply for the technique of the closely indebted group, which has been struggling to show round its enterprise beneath Meunier’s tenure. Earlier this month it named a brand new CEO, its third in two years.
Shares in Atos, which sells know-how options, cyber safety and analytics to companies, are down greater than 50 per cent this 12 months and closed on Friday at €4.88, an all-time low. It additionally owns quantum computing belongings deemed strategic to the French authorities as they’re utilized in defence programmes.
The shake-up comes as Atos has been in talks to promote its lossmaking legacy operation often called Tech Foundations to Czech billionaire Daniel Křetínský. The deal would permit Křetínský to take a 7.5 per cent stake in Atos’s remaining enterprise, which might be renamed Eviden.
The advanced association, which might additionally contain Atos finishing up a €900mn capital increase to shore up its steadiness sheet, has been criticised by a number of shareholders, together with hedge fund CIAM and UDAAC, a bunch of small shareholders. They’ve accused Atos of offering insufficient disclosure across the financials of the deal.
CIAM has filed a lawsuit, whereas UDAAC has written to ask French markets regulator AMF to take motion.
A bunch of French senators in August additionally got here out in opposition to Křetínský taking a stake in Eviden, given the delicate nature of its super-calculator know-how. It’s used to hold out work for the French nuclear weapons programme.
Folks near Křetínský mentioned he was keen to scrap this a part of the deal, and that they’d written a letter to the French authorities to point their place.