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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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