By Mauro Orru
Shares of Atos, the French IT company, experienced a significant boost in Monday morning trading following the announcement of Bertrand Meunier's resignation as chairman of the board of directors. This move comes in the midst of recent executive changes, including the appointment of Yves Bernaert as chief executive earlier this month.
As soon as the Paris stock market opened, Atos shares surged over 17% to reach EUR5.97.
In Meunier's place, Jean Pierre Mustier, former CEO of Italian bank UniCredit, will take on the role of non-executive chairman, while Laurent Collet-Billon has been appointed as non-executive vice chairman, effective immediately.
Meunier's departure follows pressure from Sycomore Asset Management, an investor in Atos, who argued that he shared responsibility for the company's recent challenges. Atos faced setbacks such as the loss of two chief executives in 2021 and 2022, amidst a failed takeover attempt and several profit warnings that shook investor confidence. Prior to Bernaert's appointment as CEO, Nourdine Bihmane, Philippe Oliva, and Diane Galbe had successively guided the company through the process of divesting non-core businesses and splitting into two separate entities.
At its annual general meeting in June, Atos shareholders supported all resolutions proposed by the group while rejecting those put forth by Sycomore Asset Management, marking a victory for the activist investor.
Meunier expressed his dedication to the company's transformation and stated, "Recently, the group welcomed a new CEO and a new CFO who will pursue the group's fundamental transformation. My commitment to the global and transformative transaction has always been driven by the preservation of the company's corporate interest."