Friday, June 17, 2011

French Government Replaces Areva CEO Anne Lauvergeon

Anne Lauvergeon
France has decided to replace Anne Lauvergeon, the longstanding chief executive of state-controlled nuclear engineering giant Areva SA. The decision to reshuffle the management of Areva comes at a time when both the company and the broader nuclear-power industry face growing public resistance in the wake of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan. Ms. Lauvergeon's contract is set to expire at the end of June. Ms. Lauvergeon, 51 years old, is known internationally as one of the most prominent defenders of nuclear power.

Ms. Lauvergeon's position has long been seen as tenuous because she had lost the support of French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Acrimony between the two traces back to 2004, when Ms. Lauvergeon resisted a request from Mr. Sarkozy, then finance minister, to help bail out French transport and energy company Alstom SA.

The French government will promote Deputy Chief Executive Luc Oursel to succeed her. Mr. Oursel, 52, joined Areva in 2007 at the request of Ms. Lauvergeon. A mining engineer, like Ms. Lauvergeon, he worked for electrical-equipment group Schneider Electric SA and Geodis SA, after having worked as a government adviser for several years. Mr. Oursel was in charge of Areva's nuclear activities until January, when he was appointed head of the group's marketing and international business. (WSJ, 6/17/2011, photo courtesy WSJ)

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