Bonum Certa Men Certa

Understanding Thierry Breton: “Mister Cash” Arrives at France Télécom



Overview





Understanding Thierry Breton



Further parts pending review and research




France Télécom and Breton
The "turnaround king" takes over as CEO at the troubled France Télécom (2002)



Summary: The psychological harassment of the France Télécom workforce led the "suicide wave" after Breton had left France Télécom

By 2002 Breton had acquired a reputation as an aggressive high-octane manager who was known for ruthless "cost-killing" and ambitious sales targets and who liked to say that he was putting his staff "under pressure" to get results.



According to the Wall Street Journal, one of his favorite sayings was, "Anything but results is philosophy".

At the time France Télécom, Europe's second-largest phone company, was carrying one of the largest debt loads in the world. Its $ 76 billion debt burden meant that all of its cash was being eaten up by interest payments, with nothing left over to reduce the principals on its loans.

Within weeks of Breton's appointment as CEO, investors demonstrated their faith in the new leader of France Télécom by driving stock prices up to double the rock-bottom low. The French finance ministry's level of trust was evident in the code name Breton was given during hiring negotiations: "Mister Cash".

"At the time France Télécom, Europe's second-largest phone company, was carrying one of the largest debt loads in the world. Its $ 76 billion debt burden meant that all of its cash was being eaten up by interest payments, with nothing left over to reduce the principals on its loans."Just two months after taking over, Breton produced his rescue plan to France Télécom's board of directors. The three-tiered plan called for slashing costs to increase cash flow, refinancing debt, and generating $16 billion from shareholders through a capital increase, all in efforts to save $30 billion over three years.

As soon as the board gave its approval, Breton put out a message to the company's 50 top managers asking them to immediately join a conference call - it was eleven o'clock at night in Paris. Breton wanted to brief the managers to start implementing his plan the very next morning and, characteristically, he wanted to make them feel challenged rather than comfortable.

After only 18 months on the job at France Télécom, business was looking up. In that span of time Breton increased 2003 revenues 3.4 percent over the previous year to $58 billion, chiefly on gains in wireless and broadband Internet technologies. He boosted 2003 operating income to $12 billion—a 45 percent increase—through tighter financial controls and cost cutting. The company's $76 billion debt fell to $53 billion.

The blueprint which Breton applied to France Télécom bears similarities to the overhaul he engineered at Thomson but there is a darker side to this success story.

It's no secret that France Télécom started making headlines for all the wrong reasons under the management of Didier Lombard who took over the reins as CEO from Breton in February 2005 when the latter was appointed as Minister of the Economy, Finance and Industry.

"This reorganization was imposed unilaterally in the absence of consultation with trade unions and was accompanied by a "suicide wave" of France Télécom employees (more than 60 between 2006 and 2009)."Lombard continued the group reorganization policy initiated by Breton and implemented a plan which foresaw the suppression of 22000 posts and the mobility of 10000 workers over three years between 2006 and 200). This reorganization was imposed unilaterally in the absence of consultation with trade unions and was accompanied by a "suicide wave" of France Télécom employees (more than 60 between 2006 and 2009).

Didier Lombard resigned as CEO in February 2011, a few months before the planned end of his term, but he remained on the France Télécom payroll as a "special advisor" until he left the company entirely in March 2011 due the controversy surrounding him and his € 500,000 annual "retainer" as an advisor.

French tribunal
In May 2019 Didier Lombard and six other former France Télécom executives went on trial accused of moral harassment linked to a spate of suicides among employees.



Lombard's management of France Télécom came under judicial investigation from July 2012 onwards and together with six other former executives he went on trial in Paris in May 2019 accused of psychological harassment of the France Télécom workforce in connection with the "suicide wave" which accompanied the restructuring.

"...psychological harassment of the France Télécom workforce in connection with the "suicide wave" which accompanied the restructuring."Although the "suicide wave" happened after Thierry Breton had moved on from France Télécom, some commentators have claimed that he bears a "moral responsibility" for laying the foundation of the toxic management practices pursued by Lombard and his colleagues.

In Parts 3 and 4 we will examine these matters in more detail.

Recent Techrights' Posts

Why We Republish Articles From Debian Disguised.Work (Formerly Debian.Community)
articles at disguised.work aren't easy to find
Google: We Run and Fund Diversity Programs, Please Ignore How Our Own Staff Behaves
censorship is done by the recipients of the grants
European Patent Office (EPO) Has Serious Safety Issues, This New Report Highlights Some of Them
9-page document that was released to staff a couple of days ago
Microsoft-Run FUD Machine Wants Nobody to Pay Attention to Microsoft Getting Cracked All the Time
Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt (FUD) is the business model of "modern" media
 
Links 21/04/2024: Earth Day Coming, Day of Rest, Excess Deaths Hidden by Manipulation
Links for the day
Bad faith: no communication before opening WIPO UDRP case
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Bad faith: real origins of harassment and evidence
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Links 21/04/2024: Censorship Abundant, More Decisions to Quit Social Control Media
Links for the day
Bad faith: Debian Community domain used for harassment after WIPO seizure
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
If Red Hat/IBM Was a Restaurant...
Two hours ago in thelayoff.com
Paul Tagliamonte & Debian Outreachy OPW dating
Reprinted with permission from disguised.work
Disguised.Work unmasked, Debian-private fresh leaks
Reprinted with permission from disguised.work
[Meme] Fake European Patents Helped Fund the War on Ukraine
The European Patent Office (EPO) does not serve the interests of Europe
IRC Proceedings: Saturday, April 20, 2024
IRC logs for Saturday, April 20, 2024
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
Torvalds Fed Up With "AI" Passing Fad, Calls It "Autocorrect on Steroids."
and Microsoft pretends that it is speaking for Linux
Gemini Links 21/04/2024: Minecraft Ruined
Links for the day
Links 20/04/2024: Apple is Censoring China’s App Store for the Communist Party of China
Links for the day
Links 20/04/2024: Accessibility in Gemini and Focus Time
Links for the day
Congratulations to Debian Project Leader (DPL) Andreas Tille
It would not be insincere to say that Debian has issues and those issues need to be tackled, eventually
20 April: Hitler's Birthday, Debian Project Leader Election Results
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
September 11: Axel Beckert (ETH Zurich) attacks American freedoms
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
20,000 victims of unauthorized Swiss legal insurance scheme
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Matthew Garrett, Cambridge & Debian: female colleague was afraid
Reprinted with permission from disguised.work
David Graeber, village wives & Debian Outreachy internships
Reprinted with permission from disguised.work
Neil McGovern & Ruby Central part ways
Reprinted with permission from disguised.work
Links 20/04/2024: Chinese Diplomacy and 'Dangerous New Course on BGP Security'
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Friday, April 19, 2024
IRC logs for Friday, April 19, 2024
The Latest Wave of Microsoft Crime, Bribes, and Fraud
Microsoft is still an evil, highly corrupt company
Links 19/04/2024: Running a V Rising Dedicated Server on GNU/Linux and More Post-"AI" Hype Eulogies
Links for the day
Gemini Links 19/04/2024: Kolibri OS and OpenBSD
Links for the day
[Video] Novell and Microsoft 45 Years Later
what happened in 2006 when Novell's Ron Hovsepian (who had come from IBM) sealed the company's sad fate by taking the advice of Microsoft moles
[Meme] EPO “Technical” Meetings
an institution full of despots who commit or enable illegalities
EPO “Technical” Meetings Are Not Technical Anymore, It's Just Corrupt Officials Destroying the Patent Office, Piecewise (While Breaking the Law to Increase Profits)
Another pillar of the EPO is being knocked down
Red Hat Communicates the World Via Microsoft Proprietary Spyware
Red Hat believes in choice: Microsoft... or Microsoft.
Sven Luther, Lucy Wayland & Debian's toxic culture
Reprinted with permission from disguised.work
Chris Rutter, ARM Ltd IPO, Winchester College & Debian
Reprinted with permission from disguised.work
[Video] Microsoft Got Its Systems Cracked (Breached) Again, This Time by Russia, and It Uses Its Moles in the Press and So-called 'Linux' Foundation to Change the Subject
If they control the narrative (or buy the narrative), they can do anything
Links 19/04/2024: Israel Fires Back at Iran and Many Layoffs in the US
Links for the day
Russell Coker & Debian: September 11 Islamist sympathy
Reprinted with permission from disguised.work
Sven Luther, Thomas Bushnell & Debian's September 11 discussion
Reprinted with permission from disguised.work
G.A.I./Hey Hi (AI) Bubble Bursting With More Mass Layoffs
it's happening already
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Thursday, April 18, 2024
IRC logs for Thursday, April 18, 2024