Oct 20 (Reuters) - Rodolphe Belmer will replace Elie Girard
as chief executive of Atos by early next year, the
French IT consulting firm said on Wednesday, in a sudden
announcement that wrapped Girard's short stint as CEO.
Belmer, 52, is the current boss of French satellite firm
Eutelsat, which he joined in 2015. A graduate of
France's elite HEC business school, he previously led pay-TV
station Canal+, owned by media group Vivendi.
Speculation about the future of Girard, 43, has mounted in
recent months, following a string of setbacks that sent Atos'
share price down by more than 40% this year.
The most painful stemmed from accounting errors spotted by
auditors for two of Atos' units in North America. The disclosure
in April spooked investors and triggered a 20% fall in the
firm's shares in a single day.
The audit firm eventually cleared the accounts, but several
analysts said the news had further dented investors' trust in
Girard's management and strategy after a failed attempt to buy
DXC Technology, a deal that valued the New-York listed
group at more than $10 billion in what would have been the
biggest-ever acquisition for deal-hungry Atos.
The group also cut its 2021 targets in July, blaming the
ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The company's fall from investors' grace saw Atos exit
France's blue-chip CAC 40 index last month and
speculation about a takeover or the arrival of activist
Girard, who will leave the company on Friday, succeeded
Thierry Breton, today's European industry chief, in 2019, after
acting as a close aide to the former French finance minister as
A former top executive at telecoms group Orange,
Girard inherited a company that had rapidly expanded through a
buyout spree, which included cloud and cybersecurity firm Bull.
Atos, which plans to gradually dispose of non-core assets
and seek partners for classic infrastructure activities, said
Belmer's term of office would begin on Jan. 20, 2022, at the
Effective Monday, Oct. 25, Pierre Barnabe and Adrian Gregory
would be appointed acting co-chief executive officers until
Belmer starts, the company said.
(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain, Gwenaelle Barzic, Bartosz
Dabrowski and Juliette Portala in Gdansk; editing by Christian
Lowe, Kirsten Donovan)