Oligarchie d’état: de Péchiney à PSA à Areva, le cas Philippe Varin

Après des études en classes préparatoires au lycée privé Sainte-Geneviève, il est diplômé de Polytechnique (promotion 1973) et de l’École des Mines de Paris (promotion 1975). Ingénieur civil des mines, il commence sa carrière chez Pechiney en 1978.

Paris set to appoint Varin head of nuclear group Areva

The appointment is not due to be confirmed until a shareholder meeting later this year, but is expected to go ahead because the government has an 87 per cent stake in Areva. Philippe Knoche, chief operating OFFICER, it set to become chief executive. Areva declined to comment.

The decision to replace Areva chairman Pierre Blayau, whose term did not run out until 2016, comes in the wake of the resignation last month of former chief executive Luc Oursel for health reasons and a difficult few months for the company.

Shares in Areva have fallen 35 per cent this year amid slow reactor sales, prompted by a combination of fierce competition from US, Russian and South Korean builders and a downturn in nuclear demand following the Fukushima disaster. Areva is also grappling with the French government’s policy switch from nuclear energy to renewables, cost over-runs on key projects and a large debt load.

In September, Standard & Poor’s said it could downgrade Areva’s debt to “junk” status following weak first-half results. The group responded by saying it would cut capital spending and dispose of non-core assets.



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