The Largest Oil & Energy Job Board

EDF chief's future hangs in French power balance

PARIS, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Henri Proglio, the pro-nuclear boss of French state utility EDF, will likely clear a first hurdle on Thursday in his campaign for a new mandate, but it is not certain he will end up in full control, government and industry sources said.

* Proglio has no clear challenger

* Pro-nuclear stance out of step with official policy

true

By Geert De Clercq

PARIS, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Henri Proglio, the pro-nuclear boss of French state utility EDF, will likely clear a first hurdle on Thursday in his campaign for a new mandate, but it is not certain he will end up in full control, government and industry sources said.

Appointed in 2009 by conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy, the power group's chairman and chief executive has repeatedly spoken out against President Francois Hollande's 2012 election promise to cap nuclear power and save energy. It was widely expected he would go when Hollande took power.

Yet two years later and with just over a month to go the end of his mandate on Nov. 22, Proglio is still there at the head of 84 percent state-owned EDF.

Asked about the odds on the 65-year-old staying on longer, a top corporate source with government connections said: "three out of four". Sources say that after a board meeting on Thursday, his name will likely be on a list of new board members to be proposed to a shareholders meeting on Nov. 21.

If Proglio's name is not on Thursday's list, he is out of a job. If he is on it, he may still end up with a less powerful role.

The government has said it plans to split the chairman's role from that of chief executive at state-owned nuclear group Areva. It could do the same at EDF under the terms of a decree on top appointments dating from earlier this year, reappointing Proglio as chairman but bringing in a new CEO.

Sources say Hollande has not made up his mind yet, but that Proglio stands a good chance of getting a second term of some description.

A series of names have been floated as possible replacements. They include railways boss Guillaume Pepy, former Peugeot Citroen head Philippe Varin, and Philippe Crouzet, CEO of steel pipes maker Vallourec and an EDF board member.

The head of employers organisation Medef, Laurence Parisot, is the only person to have officially declared an interest in the job. Potential internal candidates include finance chief Thomas Piquemal and Vincent de Rivaz, who heads EDF's British arm.

Analysts say Hollande's hesitation about the Proglio succession reflects his own ambivalence over energy policy.

Even though Hollande was elected on a platform to wind down France's reliance on nuclear energy and boost renewables, energy policy has taken a back seat.

Parliament is due to vote later on Tuesday on an energy bill produced by Segolene Royal, Hollande's former partner and his fourth energy minister in three years.

The draft law enshrines his promise to cut France's reliance on atomic energy from 75 percent now to 50 percent by 2025, but it contains no roadmap to the goal, and only caps nuclear output at the current level.

Proglio has repeatedly said Hollande's target will be reached not by closing reactors, but from population growth and increased overall consumption.

(Additional reporting by Laurence Frost, Marc Joanny, Emmanuel Jarry, Benjamin Mallet, Jean-Baptiste Vey and Julien Ponthus; Editing by Andrew Callus)

Reuters
Copyright:
Reuters
Published on:
October 14, 2014
Source url:
http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/USenergyNews/~3/I6X68ob4Pr8/story01.htm
Copyright © 2016, OilFinity. All Rights Reserved. Powered by Talenetic Job Board Software