Thierry Breton

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Thierry Breton
Thierry Breton 2011.jpg
Minister of the Economy, Finance and Industry
In office
25 February 2005 – 18 May 2007
President Jacques Chirac
Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin
Preceded by Hervé Gaymard
Succeeded by Jean-Louis Borloo
Personal details
Born (1955-01-15) 15 January 1955 (age 60)
France Paris, France
Political party RPR (1981–2002)
UMP (2002–present)
Alma mater Supélec
Occupation Businessman
Religion Protestantism

Thierry Breton (born 15 January 1955 in Paris) is a French businessman, a former Professor at Harvard Business School, and a former finance minister of France. He has been Vice Chairman and CEO of Groupe Bull, Chairman and CEO of Thomson-RCA (1997–2002), Chairman and CEO of France Télécom (2002–2005). Today an Honorary Chairman of both Thomson and France Telecom, he is, since 2008, Chairman and CEO of Atos. He was from 2005 to 2007 the French Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry in the governments of Prime Ministers Jean-Pierre Raffarin and Dominique de Villepin, Jacques Chirac being the President de la Republique.

Early life[edit]

He was born in the 14th arrondissement of Paris. He has three children: Constance (1983), Alexandre (1984) and Severine (1988). He received a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Supélec and later graduated from the Institut des hautes études de défense nationale (IHEDN).


His first business was a New York software company, Forma Systems. He served as director in many boards such as: AXA; La Poste; DEXIA BANQUE; RODHIA; SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC; THOMSON SA (Chairman& CEO); FRANCE TELECOM (Chairman & CEO); ORANGE PLC (Non executive Chairman); BOUYGUES TELECOM; GROUP HONEYWELL BULL (Vice Chairman & CEO). He sits today on the board of directors of CARREFOUR where he chairs the Compensation and Benefits Committee. In 1993 he joined the IT company Bull as head of strategy and development then became Group CEO and Vice Chairman. He then became the Chairman and CEO of Thomson between 1997 and 2002. From 2002 to 2005, he was chairman and chief executive officer of France Télécom. After government service, in November 2008, he became the active chairman and CEO of Atos S.A., formerly Atos Origin.[1] After the acquisition of the IT services activities of Siemens the company ranked number one among the European IT services players and in the Top 5 worldwide, with 75 000 employees in 42 countries.

He gets World attention after an interview with the Wall Street Journal (28 November 2011) when he reiterated his intention to ban internal Email, dubbed as "the pollution of the information age", at Atos within 18 months (known as the Zero-Email™ Strategy), replacing internal emails by a set of Enterprise Social Networks, Enterprise Instant Messaging, Collaborative tools etc..., both being developed inhouse and partially aggregated from other vendors.[2]

In 2012 Thierry Breton earned 2.8 millions euros (+17.6% vs 2011) for his role as chairman and CEO of Atos Origin.[3]

Minister of Finance[edit]

He was appointed on 24 February 2005, replacing Hervé Gaymard,[4] until 18 May 2007, replaced by Jean-Louis Borloo.

Academic career[edit]

After leaving the government, he has been a Professor at Harvard Business School (2007–2008) where he taught Leadership and Corporate Accountability (LCA). He has been also the Chairman of the University of Technology of Troyes in France from 1997 to 2005.


He is the author of many books about information technology and economy, and co-author of a novel about cyberspace.

  • 1984 : Softwar, The Emergence of Computer Virus as a weapon of mass destruction (La Guerre douce), Thierry Breton - Denis Beneich, éd. Robert Laffont, Paris ; (translated in 25 countries).
  • 1985 : Vatican III, The emergence of a Word made of information based Communities , Thierry Breton, éd. Robert Laffont, Paris
  • 1987 : Netwar, The Networks War (La guerre des réseaux), Thierry Breton, éd. Robert Laffont, Paris
  • 1991 : La Dimension invisible, The Emergence of Information Society (Le défi du temps et de l'information),Thierry Breton, éd. Odile Jacob, Paris
  • 1992 : La Fin des illusions,The end of the Geek Age, Thierry Breton, Plon, Paris.
  • 1993 : Le Télétravail en France, An early description of Teleworking in France, Thierry Breton, La Documentation française, Paris.
  • 1994 : Le Lièvre et la Tortue, France and The Knowledge Revolution, Thierry Breton - Christian Blanc, éd. Plon, Paris.
  • 1994 : Les Téléservices en France, An early description of the internet word, Thierry Breton, La Documentation française, Paris.
  • 2007 : Antidette, How to reduce the over spending and major indebtness of France, Thierry Breton, Plon, Paris.

Decorations and Awards[edit]

He is an officer of the Légion d'honneur and a commander of the Ordre National du Mérite. He is also a member of Le Siècle.[5]



  • 2003 : Financier of the Year, ANDESE (National Association of PHDs in Economics and Business Administration), Paris, France.
  • 1988 : The outstanding young person of the world (TOYP), Jaycees, Sydney, Australia.
  • 1988 : Man of the Year, Young Economical Chambers(Jeunes chambres économiques françaises), Paris, France.


  1. ^ Chassany, Anne-Sylvaine (17 November 2008). "Atos Origin Board Fires Chief Germond, Hires Breton". Bloomberg. Retrieved 29 February 2012. 
  2. ^ Colchester, Max; Amiel, Geraldine (28 November 2011). "The IT Boss Who Shuns Email". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  3. ^ Thierry Breton, Atos Origin : 2,8 millions € en 2012, Journal du Net, 25 juin 2013
  4. ^ de Beaupuy, Francois; Vandore, Emma (25 February 2005). "Chirac Names France Telecom's Breton as New Finance Minister". Bloomberg. Retrieved 29 February 2012. 
  5. ^ Frédéric Saliba, 'Le pouvoir à la table du Siècle', in Stratégies, issue 1365, April 14, 2005, p. 49 [1]
Preceded by
Hervé Gaymard
Minister of the Economy, Finance and Industry
Succeeded by
Jean-Louis Borloo