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Charged on March 10, 1995 and subjected to a draconian judicial control—on the basis of facts which, seven years later, still have not been proven, much less judged—Pierre Suard had no choice but to resign. That day, the slaying of the Chairman of Alcatel Alsthom ended a grand ambition.

The Alcatel Alsthom Group, an essentially French company at the beginning of the 1980s, had become, ten years later, the uncontested world leader in telecommunications and cables and one of the top companies in transport and energy. It was an exceptional success, due to the work of a management team joined around a man who knew how to make it share a great dream. The Suard era was a period of audacity, imagination and tenacity, and one that saw the emergence on the world scene of one of the most beautiful jewels of French industry.

With the departure of the man who incarnated this spirit of conquest—and the radical changes undertaken by his successor—Alcatel Alsthom was abruptly stopped in its flight…. When anything was permitted, the company soon lost most of its business activities, its name, its world rank. Seven years later one still does not know where this descent into hell will end. The work of Pierre Suard, if it provokes controversy, is not a pro domo defense. With a necessary hindsight, pressed by those who like him believed in this great dream, this captain of industry submits, for the reflection of all, an edifying account of what transpired. He gives his interpretation of the events that interrupted this unique industrial and human adventure, to the astonishment of many. What a waste!

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