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With Complete Impunity

With Complete Impunity:The Scandalous Destruction of Alcatel Alsthom, by Pierre Suard
Translated from French by James E. Terrell

Chapter V - A New CEO

Henceforth I will only be a powerless witness of the decadence.
Charles de Gaulle


Chapter VI - The New Strategy: The Divestitures

There is the beginning of the end.


Chapter VII - The New Strategy: Only Telecom

Est modus in rebus, sunt certi denique fines
Quos ultra citraque nequit consistere rectum.
There is a just dimension: there are finally precise limits
beyond which good cannot be sustained
Horace (Satires)


Chapitre VIII - Assessing the Decade

Tchuruk passed by there. All is in ruin and mourning.
Chio, the island of wine, is now nothing more than a reef.
according to Victor Hugo


Chapter IX - Reflections on this Judicial Disaster

Look at the power that the judges have!
There is in that power an extraordinary deviation which only Parliament can correct.
François Mitterrand (April 19, 1995)



What more terrible curse than an injustice that has arms in its hand''.
Aristotle, Metaphysics



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Cover of the book

The fading away of Alcatel Alsthom during the past years is a major scandal in the economic life of France. This book tells, as objectively as possible, and with sincerity, the unbelievable unfolding of this tragedy.

Pierre Suard, an engineer graduate of the Ecole Polytechnique presided over the group from 1986 to 1995, after 13 years of running several of its subsidiaries. By the decision of an investigative judge, he was, on March 10, 1995, abruptly prohibited from working for the group as a result of charges which 12 years later were determined to be without foundation and which were totally dismissed.

Mr. Suard was replaced by a person who was new to the telecom industry, who demoted or fired all of the principal members of the prior management team and who embarked on a radically different strategy from the one that had made the group such a success.

The harm was irreparable.

After 10 years, tens of thousands of jobs have disappeared.  The group has abandoned most of its businesses and has limited its activities to telecom.  By selling off its businesses, it was able to realize substantial capital gains and so to limit its reported losses and reinforce its finances.

The responsibility for this catastrophe lies in the first instance with an incredible judicial investigation, rich in anomalies like that of Outreau. It was that investigation which opened the way for a new management team whose strategy led to the final disaster.  But by their laxity or their corporatism, Board of Directors of the company and the Cour d’Appel failed to hold back this deluge.

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