French finance minister: nomination of new boss for energy group EDF is imminent

A flag with the company logo of Electricite de France (EDF) and a French flag fly next to the EDF power plant in Bouchain, near Valenciennes, France, September 29, 2021. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

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  • Schneider executive Luc Remont tipped for CEO post
  • Orano’s Claude Imauven could get chairman position
  • Le Maire hints at possible separate chairman/CEO roles

PARIS, Sept 27 (Reuters) – French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the government had chosen the person who would lead state-power group EDF (EDF.PA), which is in the process of being fully nationalised, and that a nomination was “imminent”.

EDF has been beset by problems this year and issued a profit warning earlier this month. An unprecedented number of reactor outages, partly caused by corrosion issues, has driven French nuclear power output to an historic low just as Europe scrambles to find alternative supplies to Russian gas.

Le Maire also told France Inter radio that the top EDF job could be split into separate chief executive and chairman roles.

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“Our doctrine…has always been to separate the chairman role from the chief executive role. I do not see why this would not be the case for EDF,” he said.

The French state is planning to buy out the remaining 16% of EDF which it does not already own in order to fully nationalise EDF. EDF’s long-time chairman and CEO, Jean-Bernard Levy, is also due to be replaced.

Luc Remont, an executive at Schneider Electric (SCHN.PA), is expected to get the CEO job, sources have said.

Les Echos newspaper on Monday tipped Claude Imauven, chairman of nuclear fuel group Orano, for the chairman post.

A source within EDF said Imauven’s background and training, including educations at France’s top flight Ecole Polytechnique and Ecole des Mines establishments, were an advantage.

Laurence Parisot, currently chairwoman of Citi in France, is also mentioned by sources as a frontrunner for the role.

EDF and Schneider Electric have declined to comment on the situation regarding the hunt for a new head at EDF. Officials at Orano could not be immediately reached for comment.

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Reporting by Dominique Vidalon, Elizabeth Pineau and Leigh Thomas;
Editing by Silvia Aloisi and Ed Osmond

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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