11.13.19

Gemini version available ♊︎

Understanding Thierry Breton: In the Beginning…

Posted in Europe, Finance at 4:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Overview

Understanding Thierry Breton

  • You are here ☞ Part 1: In the Beginning…
  • Part 2: “Mister Cash” Arrives at France Télécom
  • Part 3: Toxic Management Goes on Trial in France
  • Part 4: Moral Responsibility for “a Capitalism That Kills”?
  • Part 5: Chirac’s Entrepreneurial “Joker”
  • Part 6: The “Cost-Killer” Tries to Tame the National Debt
  • Part 7: “Rhodiagate” and the Vivendi Universal Affair
  • Part 8: Insider-Trading Scandal at EADS
  • Part 9: Noël Forgeard and His “Golden Parachute”
  • Part 10: What Thierry Did Next…
  • Part 11: Atos Healthcare – “The Ugly Face of Business”
  • Part 12: Thierry and the $100 Billion Man
  • Part 13: Socialising With the Elite
  • Part 14: More Influential Friends in High Places

Further parts pending review and research


Bretton's profile

Summary: Career roundup of Thierry Breton, possibly the next EU Commissioner

IN the course of a high-profile career which has spanned the worlds of business and politics since the 1990s, Thierry Breton has grown accustomed to rubbing shoulders with the great and good of the French elite.

But it wasn’t always plain sailing for the curly-haired computer whiz-kid who was born in Paris in 1955.

“He’s more of a second-rank “non-commissioned officer”, a hands-on “man of action” and ruthless “cost-killer” who is not afraid to get his hands dirty and who gets called in by the generals to act as a hatchet-man when there’s a job to be done.”Unlike his political patrons from UMP circles, Jacques Chirac, Dominique de Villepin and, more recently, Emmanuel Macron, Breton is not a graduate of the illustrious Ecole Nationale d’Administration and so he does not belong to the uppermost echelons of the French administrative and political elite.

He’s more of a second-rank “non-commissioned officer”, a hands-on “man of action” and ruthless “cost-killer” who is not afraid to get his hands dirty and who gets called in by the generals to act as a hatchet-man when there’s a job to be done.

Bretton in white coat
A hands-on “man of action” and ruthless “costkiller” who gets called in to act as a hatchet-man when there’s a job to be done.

To appreciate Breton’s career, it is helpful to bear in mind that France’s economic and political leadership are closely intertwined under an economic policy called “dirigisme”, in which technocratic elites from government, finance and industry, all products of the grandes écoles, move with ease between the public and private sectors and confer closely amongst each other to “optimise economic conditions” – mostly for their own benefit as you might have guessed.

“Breton’s career got off to an inauspicious start when he failed his entrance exams to the grandes écoles, France’s elite institutions of higher education.”Breton is probably best understood as a state-sponsored entrepreneurial poster-boy whose renommé has been carefully built up and inflated to mythical proportions by the political establishment.

This iconic figure is wheeled out at regular intervals as part of a public spectacle designed to maintain the carefully cultivated façade of a meritocratic land of “Liberté, Egalité and Fraternité” which masks the ugly truth of the rule by stealth of a patrician plutocratic elite.

Bretton, LEF
The Land of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity where some animals are more equal than others.

Breton’s career got off to an inauspicious start when he failed his entrance exams to the grandes écoles, France’s elite institutions of higher education.

Bretton when young
Young Thierry failed to make the grade for the elite grandes écoles.

Instead he had to make do with attending the far less prestigious École Supérieure d’Électricité for engineering in Paris from where he went on to teach mathematics and information technology at the Lycée Francais, a French high school in New York City, from 1979 to 1981.

“Instead he had to make do with attending the far less prestigious École Supérieure d’Électricité for engineering in Paris from where he went on to teach mathematics and information technology at the Lycée Francais, a French high school in New York City, from 1979 to 1981.”His first foray into the business world came in 1981, when he became chairman and CEO of Forma Systèmes, a systems-analysis and software-engineering concern, where he remained until 1986.

He then took a position as a consultant to the French Ministry of Education and Research and from 1986 to 1990 he occupied himself designing the Futuroscope open-air science and technology theme park in Poitiers under the patronage of the prominent Gaullist politician René Monory.

In 1990 Breton became the CEO of CGI Group, a service-development company. He stayed at CGI until 1993, when he got his first big break as the French government hired him to become deputy director of the Bull Group, the troubled French computer manufacturer.

Breton’s restructuring brought the company back from the brink of bankruptcy and it allowed the young executive to claim his first successful corporate recovery.

“After taking over at Thomson, he closed low-performing factories in Germany and the U.S., moving production to Latin America and Eastern Europe, and he slashed U.S. management ranks by 20 percent.”In 1997 Breton was named chairman and CEO of France’s Thomson Multimedia, a government-owned consumer-electronics company that sold televisions and VCRs under the Thomson, Kenwood, and RCA names and which was tottering on the verge of collapse.

A year before his appointment, Thomson had been in such a shambles that France’s prime minister had failed in his efforts to unload the company on the South Korean Daewoo for a single franc.

Breton was an aggressive CEO and he quickly gained a name as a ruthless “cost-killer” who was not afraid to face down objections to his plans.

After taking over at Thomson, he closed low-performing factories in Germany and the U.S., moving production to Latin America and Eastern Europe, and he slashed U.S. management ranks by 20 percent.

He used share offerings to generate case and also diversified the company’s businesses, bringing Thomson into interactive television, electronic publishing, and the Internet, as well as the higher-margin business of digital film-editing services.

“Some industry analysts believed that Breton received too much credit for the Thomson turnaround, saying the company’s recovery had more to do with agreements made before Breton came on board.”By 1999 Thomson was turning a $230 million profit on sales of $6.5 billion. By the time Breton left in 2002, revenues had increased by more than 80 percent and Thomson was outperforming Sony, Matsushita, and Philips, its major consumer-electronics competitors.

Some industry analysts believed that Breton received too much credit for the Thomson turnaround, saying the company’s recovery had more to do with agreements made before Breton came on board.

For instance, when Thomson bought RCA from General Electric in 1988, the French company agreed to let General Electric keep RCA’s patents for 10 years as part of the purchase agreement. Thomson started to reap significant revenues from these patents from 1999 onwards. By 2001, patents and licensing earnings were generating € 398.8 million for the company.

Breton dismissed his critics by insisting that the Thomson’s recovery was due to his reorganisation plans and that it had been under way well before the RCA patent revenues started coming in.

Others criticized Breton for the problems the computer-maker Bull Group ran into during the early 2000s, suggesting that the troubles stemmed from Breton’s earlier tenure at the helm of that company.

But whatever the truth may be, Breton had succeeded in cementing his reputation in the public eye as France’s “turnaround king”.

DENMARK-FRANCE POLITICS DIPLOMACY ROYALS
By 2002 Breton’s reputation as France’s “turnaround king” was firmly established.

And so it came as no surprise when the French government decided to call on his services once again in 2002, this time to rescue the ailing France Télécom. We will take a look at this important milestone in his career in part 2.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 7/12/2021: Firefox 96 Beta and Fedora 37 Abandons ARMv7

    Links for the day



  2. Links 7/12/2021: Plasma Mobile Gear 21.12 and Tails 4.25

    Links for the day



  3. All IRC Logs Now Available as GemText Over Gemini Protocol

    Today we've completed the transition from plain text over gemini:// to GemText over gemini:// for IRC logs



  4. IRC Proceedings: Monday, December 06, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, December 06, 2021



  5. [Meme] Rowing to the Bottom of the Ocean

    The EPO‘s Steve Rowan (VP1) is failing EPO staff and sort of “firing” workers during times of crisis (not at all a crisis to the EPO’s coffers)



  6. EPO Gradually Reduced to 'Fee Collection Agency' Which Eliminates Its Very Own Staff

    Mr. Redundancies and Mr. Cloud are outsourcing EPO jobs to Microsoft and Serco as if the EPO is an American corporation, providing no comfort to long-serving EPO staff



  7. Linux Foundation 2021 Annual Report Made on an Apple Mac Using Proprietary Software

    Yes, you’re reading this correctly. They still reject both “Linux” and “Open Source” (no dogfooding). This annual report is badly compressed; each page of the PDF is, on average, almost a megabyte in size (58.8 MB for a report of this scale is unreasonable and discriminates against people in countries with slow Internet connections); notice how they’re milking the brand in the first page (straight after the cover page, the 1991 ‘creation myth’, ignoring GNU); remember that this foundation is named after a trademark which is not even its own!



  8. Links 7/12/2021: OpenIndiana Hipster 2021.10 and AppStream 0.15

    Links for the day



  9. Microsoft “Defender” Pretender Attacks Random Software That Uses NSIS for installation; “Super Duper Secure Mode” for Edge is a Laugh

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  10. Links 6/12/2021: LibreOffice Maintenance Releases, Firefox 95 Finalised

    Links for the day



  11. “Wintel” “Secure” uEFI Firmware Used to Store Persistent Malware, and Security Theater Boot is Worthless

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  12. No Linux Foundation IRS Disclosures Since 2018

    The publicly-available records or IRS information about the Linux Foundation is suspiciously behind; compared to other organisations with a "tax-exempt" status the Linux Foundation is one year behind already



  13. Jim Zemlin Has Deleted All of His Tweets

    The Linux Foundation‘s Jim Zemlin seems to have become rather publicity-shy (screenshots above are self-explanatory; latest snapshot), but years ago he could not contain his excitement about Microsoft, which he said was "loved" by what it was attacking. Days ago it became apparent that Microsoft’s patent troll is still attacking Linux with patents and Zemlin’s decision to appoint Microsoft as the At-Large Director (in effect bossing Linus Torvalds) at the ‘Linux’ Foundation’s Board of Directors is already backfiring. She not only gets her whole salary from Microsoft but also allegedly protects sexual predators who assault women… by hiring them despite repeated warnings; if the leadership of the ‘Linux’ Foundation protects sexual predators who strangle women (even paying them a salary and giving them management positions), how can the ‘Linux’ Foundation ever claim to represent inclusion and diversity?



  14. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part IX — Microsoft's Chief Architect of GitHub Copilot Sought to be Arrested One Day After Techrights Article About Him

    Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley has warrant for his arrest, albeit only after a lot of harm and damage had already been done (to multiple people) and Microsoft started paying him



  15. The Committee on Patent Law (PLC) Informed About Overlooked Issues “Which Might Have a Bearing on the Validity of EPO Patents.”

    In a publication circulated or prepared last week the Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO explains a situation never explored in so-called 'media' (the very little that's left of it)



  16. Links 6/12/2021: HowTos and Patents

    Links for the day



  17. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, December 05, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, December 05, 2021



  18. Gemini Space/Protocol: Taking IRC Logs to the Next Level

    Tonight we begin the migration to GemText for our daily IRC logs, having already made them available over gemini://



  19. Links 6/12/2021: Gnuastro 0.16 and Linux 5.16 RC4

    Links for the day



  20. Links 5/12/2021: Touchpad Gestures in XWayland

    Links for the day



  21. Society Needs to Take Back Computing, Data, and Networks

    Why GemText needs to become 'the new HTML' (but remain very simple) in order for cyberspace to be taken away from state-connected and military-funded corporations that spy on people and abuse society at large



  22. [Meme] Meanwhile in Austria...

    With lobbyists-led leadership one might be led to believe that a treaty strictly requiring ratification by the UK is somehow feasible (even if technically and legally it's moot already)



  23. The EPO's Web Site is a Parade of Endless Lies and Celebration of Gross Violations of the Law

    The EPO's noise site (formerly it had a "news" section, but it has not been honest for about a decade) is a torrent of lies, cover-up, and promotion of crimes; maybe the lies are obvious for everybody to see (at least EPO insiders), but nevertheless a rebuttal seems necessary



  24. The Letter EPO Management Does Not Want Applicants to See (or Respond to)

    A letter from the Munich Staff Committee at the EPO highlights the worrying extent of neglect of patent quality under Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos; the management of the EPO did not even bother replying to that letter (instead it was busy outsourcing the EPO to Microsoft)



  25. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, December 04, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, December 04, 2021



  26. EPO-Bribed IAM 'Media' Has Praised Quality, Which Even EPO Staff (Examiners) Does Not Praise

    It's easy to see something is terribly wrong when the people who do the actual work do not agree with the media's praise of their work (a praise motivated by a nefarious, alternate agenda)



  27. Tux Machines is 17.5 Years Old Today

    Tux Machines -- our 'sister site' for GNU/Linux news -- started in 2004. We're soon entering 2022.



  28. Approaching 100

    We'll soon have 100 files in Git; if that matters at all...



  29. Improving Gemini by Posting IRC Logs (and Scrollback) as GemText

    Our adoption of Gemini and of GemText increases; with nearly 100,000 page requests in the first 3 days of Decembe (over gemini://) it’s clear that the growing potential of the protocol is realised, hence the rapid growth too; Gemini is great for self-hosting, which is in turn essential when publishing suppressed and controversial information (subject to censorship through blackmail and other ‘creative’ means)



  30. Links 4/12/2021: IPFire 2.27 Core Update 162 and Genode OS Framework 21.11

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts