French IT services provider Atos has confirmed the departure of its chief financial officer, just days after the CEO resigned in apparent disagreement with a company-wide restructure proposed by the board.
Atos disclosed over the weekend that its current CFO Stéphane Lhopiteau will leave the group during the second half of this year and will be succeeded in the post by Nathalie Sénéchault, currently the deputy CFO of the company.
According to Atos, the planned separation, announced at a Capital Markets Day on June 14, is part of an "ambitious turnaround" effort intended to result in a complete reorganization of the group into two separately listed companies. The departure of Lhopiteau will come during the second half of 2022, by which time the separation is expected to be well underway, Atos said.
The plans will see the Digital, Big Data and Security (BDS) business lines become a company known as Evidian, separately traded on the Paris Stock Exchange. This business will be managed by Philippe Oliva, currently Atos's chief commercial officer.
Meanwhile, "New Atos" will take on the Atos Tech Foundations (ATF) business line, comprising Datacenter and Hosting, Digital Workplace, Unified Comms, and Business Process Outsourcing, and will continue to be managed by Nourdine Bihmane.
BDS is the growing part of Atos and ATF houses the classic business process outsourcing and infrastructure services wing that have reported declining fortunes in recent years.
Atos stated that the split would require new CFOs for each of the two entities, and it has in fact already appointed these, with Anil Agrawal set to take on the role at Evidian, and Darren Pilcher to become the CFO for ATF, so Sénéchault's tenure as CFO of Atos Group is potentially shortlived if the planned split goes ahead.
Sénéchault, a lawyer, will also join the company's board as an executive member.
In a statement, outgoing CEO Rodolphe Belmer welcomed Sénéchault's appointment as CFO.
"She is a highly experienced executive with extensive experience in corporate finance. As Atos embarks on a transformation journey and intends to open the next chapter in its history, I know that we can capitalize on her in depth knowledge of the company and the business to make this turnaround plan a success," he said.
Atos said at the meeting on June 14 that if the decision is made to move forward with the project, the objective would be to complete the separation into two entities during the second half of 2023, and to complete the listing and distribution of Evidian shares by the end of 2023.
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The company's board of directors has approved an in-depth study of the contemplated separation, and a final decision on whether to proceed with the reorganization will be made after this analysis has been completed. The board warned that the decision to proceed with the plan will be up to market conditions and would be subject to the usual processes, including governance bodies and shareholder approval as well as consultation with the relevant employee representative bodies.
Atos said last week it had appointed CEOs to run Evidian and Tech Foundations. The "contemplated separation," it claimed, "leads to a reorganization of the Atos group resulting in a significant reduction in the scope of the functions and a redefinition of the mission of the Atos Chief Executive Officer."
Belmer, it added, "considered that he had no choice but to resign."
Also last week, it emerged that Atos and the UK government have settled out of court in a case involving an circa $1 billion (£854 million) supercomputer contract for the UK's Met Office. The case brought by Atos was over claims that the Met Office and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) had breached procurement law and unfairly dismissed the Atos bid, awarding the contract instead to Microsoft. ®