Arnaud Montebourg

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Arnaud Montebourg
Minister of the Economy, Industrial
Renewal and Digital Affairs
In office
16 May 2012 – 25 August 2014
Prime MinisterJean-Marc Ayrault
Manuel Valls
Preceded byÉric Besson
Succeeded byEmmanuel Macron
President of the General Council
of Saône-et-Loire
In office
27 March 2008 – 21 June 2012
Preceded byChristophe Sirugue
Succeeded byRémi Chaintron
Member of the National Assembly
for Saône-et-Loire's 6th constituency
In office
12 June 1997 – 16 June 2012
Preceded byRené Beaumont
Succeeded byRémi Chaintron
Personal details
Born (1962-10-30) 30 October 1962 (age 59)
Clamecy, France
Political partySocialist Party (1985–2018)
Spouse(s)Hortense de Labriffe (1997–2010)
Amina Walter (m. 2021)
Domestic partnerAudrey Pulvar (2010–2012)
Aurélie Filippetti (2014–2017)
Alma materUniversity of Burgundy
Panthéon-Sorbonne University
Sciences Po

Arnaud Montebourg (French pronunciation: ​[aʁno mɔ̃tbuʁ]; born 30 October 1962) is a French politician, lawyer and entrepreneur who served as Minister of Industrial Renewal from 16 May 2012 to 25 August 2014.[1] From 31 March 2014 until his resignation, as a member of the short-lived First Valls government, he held additional ministerial responsibilities whereby his overall brief encompassed the Economy, Industrial Renewal and Digital Affairs. Montebourg was succeeded by former investment banker Emmanuel Macron.[2] A former member of the Socialist Party (PS), which he left in 2018, he previously served as the member of the National Assembly for the 6th constituency of Saône-et-Loire from 1997 to 2012 and President of the General Council of Saône-et-Loire from 2008 to 2012.

During his time as a Member of Parliament, Montebourg was nicknamed "the Crazyman of the Palais Bourbon" (le dingue du Palais Bourbon) for his parliamentary activism.[3] He was a candidate in the 2011 Socialist primary for the 2012 presidential election. On 21 August 2016, Montebourg announced his intention to again seek the Socialist nomination for the upcoming presidential election. In the first round of the primary, held on 22 January 2017, he was eliminated, once again coming in third place, with Benoît Hamon and Manuel Valls progressing to the runoff; Montebourg pledged his support for Hamon shortly thereafter. He has since then founded a beekeeping business, Bleu Blanc Ruche, producing honey in France. In 2021, Montebourg declared his candidacy in the 2022 presidential election, this time running independently from the Socialist Party.


Family and education[edit]

Born at Clamecy in Nièvre, he is the son of Michel Montebourg, born in 1933, a civil servant employed in the Ministry of Economy and Finances, and Leïla Ould Cadi, born in 1939 in Oran, a professor of Algerian descent, who was born to a family of wālis (governors) from Hachem, Northern Algeria.[4] His fourth great-grand father, Ahmed Ould Cadi, agha (chieftain) of Frendah (Oran) was appointed Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour in 1867.[5][6][7]

Arnaud Montebourg became an attorney following university. Together with the notable attorney Thierry Levy, he defended Christian Didier, charged in the 1993 slaying of René Bousquet.[8] The former Vichy official had been indicted for war crimes and was soon to be tried. Didier was convicted in 1995 and received a 10-year sentence.[9]

First involvements in politics[edit]

Montebourg was first elected to the National Assembly during the 1997 legislative election. He was reelected in 2002 and 2007. Together with Bastien François, a professor of Political Science at Pantheon-Sorbonne University, Montebourg was the cofounder of the Convention pour la VI-ème République (C6R) in 2001. This convention called for significant constitutional changes, leading to the founding of a Sixth French Republic.

Montebourg was one of the founding members of the political movement known as the Nouveau Parti Socialiste (New Socialist Party). He left to create a new movement within the Socialist Party called Rénover, Maintenant (Renewal, Now). He was one of the leading opponents of President Jacques Chirac's immunity from prosecution, especially concerning the corruption scandals in the Paris region. Montebourg also supported reporter Denis Robert for his role in revealing the illegal system of double-accounts maintained by Clearstream, a clearing-house based in Luxembourg. He has also been engaged in a campaign against the rules governing taxation of foreign nationals and banking secrecy of Switzerland.[10]

Arnaud Montebourg during a meeting by Ségolène Royal and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero in Toulouse for the 2007 presidential election.

Montebourg was appointed as spokesman for Ségolène Royal's presidential campaign following his endorsement of her candidacy during the Socialist Party primary election of November 2006. On 18 January 2007, Royal suspended Montebourg from her campaign for one month the day after he said on a Canal+ talk show, "Ségolène Royal has only one fault, her partner."[11] He was referring to the contradictory statements on tax policy made by Royal's partner, François Hollande, who was at the time serving as First Secretary of the Socialist Party. Montebourg had offered his resignation, which Royal refused to accept.

Arnaud Montebourg in 2008
Montebourg speaking to constituents in Blanzy, 2010

In 2008, Monteboug became President of the General Council of Saône-et-Loire while retaining his mandate as a parliamentarian. In 2011, when Dominique Strauss-Kahn was released from jail and flew back to France, Montebourg urged him to apologise for embarrassing the Socialist Party.[12]

Minister during the presidency of François Hollande[edit]

Montebourg placed third in the Socialist Party's primary election for the 2012 presidential election, receiving about 17% of the votes. François Hollande was first and Martine Aubry was second. After Hollande was elected President of the French Republic, Montebourg was appointed as Minister of Industrial Renewal in the government of Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on 16 May 2012.[13]

He made a controversial statement that nuclear energy is "an industry of the future" despite the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Interior Minister Manuel Valls backed up Montebourg while the alliance of the Socialist Party with the Green Party might worsen if this statement confirms in practice a backtracking of the nuclear commitment of François Hollande and the Ayrault Cabinet. In November 2012, Arnaud Montebourg made further controversial statements about Lakshmi Mittal by declaring that "Mittal's lies since 2006 are overwhelming (…) he has never kept his word", urging him to leave the country: "We no longer want Mittal in France because they don't respect France". Further on the topic of nuclear energy, he canceled in February 2013 the proposed EPR at the Penly Nuclear Power Plant, citing the capacity for electricity production and massive investments in renewable energy along with his confidence in the EPR as a competitive project in foreign countries.[14][15]

In 2014, contemporary with the proposed General Electric takeover of Alstom, Montebourg introduced a decree, nicknamed the décret Alstom, quickly nicknamed décret Montebourg by the press, extending the French state's right of veto of foreign takeovers to assets in the fields of energy supply, water, transport, telecoms and public health.[16][17][18][19] Montebourg was quoted as saying the decree protected France's strategic interests and represented the end of laissez-faire economic policy.[20]

On 28 May 2014, Montebourg said that if the United Kingdom "were to vote to leave the EU, France will roll out the red carpet to British investors who will flee their country. They will all come to France because companies need Europe."[21] He has often been critical of austerity measures pushed by Germany. On 24 August 2014, he told a meeting: "France is the euro zone's second-biggest economy, the world's fifth-greatest power, and it does not intend to align itself, ladies and gentlemen, with the excessive obsessions of Germany's conservatives."[22]

Resignation from the Ministry of the Economy[edit]

At the end of October 2014, Montebourg enrolled in the INSEAD graduate business school for a four-week course and sought a bursary for his studies.[23] On 30 December 2014, he announced his retirement from politics.[24] Between 16 and 26 February 2015, he was invited as a visiting professor of Economics at Princeton University.[25] On 19 March 2015, he was appointed vice president of the supervisory board of the furniture chain, Habitat.[26] On 26 March, the French-based consulting and business analyst company, Talan, announced that Montebourg had been given a place on its strategic policy committee.[27]

Candidacy in the 2017 presidential election[edit]

He announced on 21 August 2016 that he planned to stand again as a candidate for the Socialist Party's presidential nomination in the 2017 presidential election.[28] He finished third with 17.8% of the vote.

Montebourg has since then stayed out of the public eye, sometimes appearing as a guest speaker at various events. He remains a well-liked figured on the left side of the political spectrum. He currently runs his own business, Bleu Blanc Ruche ("Blue White Hive"), a wordplay with the colours of the flag of France.

Candidacy in the 2022 presidential election[edit]

Montebourg in Clamecy in 2021

Having taken a step back from the political scene since 2017, Montebourg announced his candidacy in the 2022 presidential election from his home town of Clamecy, without going through a party primary election, on 4 September 2021.[29]

His supporters for this election include notably the Citizen and Republican Movement (MRC) founded by Jean-Pierre Chevènement, the former Socialist minister Laurence Rossignol, the Socialist senators Mickaël Vallet and Jean-Claude Tissot, as well as the demographer Emmanuel Todd, the economist Gaël Giraud, the politologist Thomas Guénolé and the economist and entrepreneur Valentin Przyluski.[30][31]

Personal life[edit]

Montebourg lived with journalist Audrey Pulvar from 2010 to 2012 and fellow Minister Aurélie Filippetti from 2014 until 2017.

In February 2015, Montebourg saved several fellow diners as the New York City brasserie Balthazar from serious injury by single-handedly holding up a mirror which had fallen from the restaurant's ceiling until more people could intervene.[32] Afterwards he was lauded as a hero.[33]

List of offices held[edit]


Minister for Industrial Renewal: 2012–2014

Electoral mandates

Member of the National Assembly for Saône-et-Loire (6th constituency): 1997–2012

President of the General Council of Saône-et-Loire : 2008–2012

General Councillor of Saône-et-Loire for the canton of Montret: 2008–2015


  1. ^ « Comment Arnaud Montebourg a cultivé sa propre ligne économique », Le Monde, 11 July 2014, corrected on 25 August 2014.
  2. ^ "Démission du gouvernement : Montebourg rétablit sa vérité", Le Point (in French), 6 October 2014.
  3. ^ "Arnaud Montebourg : Qui est ce « dingue du Palais Bourbon » ?", Ouest-France (in French), 9 September 2014.
  4. ^ In an interview to an Algerian electronic newspaper in February 2010, Montebourg said, "My grandfather is Algerian. His name was Khermiche Ould Cadi. He is from a family of the Mascara plain, from Dombasle to be precise. "Mon grand père est Algérien. Il s'appelait Khermiche Ould Cadi. Il est issu d'une famille de la plaine de Mascara, de Dombasle, exactement.", in: Guemache, Lounes (25 February 2010). "La France n'a aucune raison de ne pas regarder en face ce qu'elle a été". Tout sur l'Algérie (TSA) (in French). Archived from the original on 28 March 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2010.; the town named Dombasle during the colonization bears now the name of Hachem
  5. ^ Guy Benhamou, Arnaud Montebourg, l'ambition à tout prix, Stock, 2004, p.12
  6. ^ Biography of Ahmed Ould Cadi in Le livre d'or de l'Algérie, A. Challamel, 1890, pp. 499–507
  7. ^ Décret impérial 10499, 1860.
  8. ^ MARY DEJEVSKY, "Killer's tale stirs ghosts of Vichy", The Independent (UK), 7 November 1995, 28 May 2012
  9. ^ Gary Borg, "Writer Sentenced In Vichy Slaying", Chicago Tribune, 14 November 1995. Retrieved 28 May 2012
  10. ^ "Swiss and French squabble over tax", Al Jazeera, 6 January 2007.
  11. ^ "Royal rétablit l’ordre juste en suspendant Montebourg", Le Figaro, 18 January 2007 (in French).
  12. ^ "Strauss-Kahn regrets 'moral failing'" Archived 19 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Hindustan Times, 19 September 2011
  13. ^ Profile: Hollande's government for France, BBC News, 16 May 2012.
  14. ^ "Pas d'EPR à la centrale de Penly" [No EPR at the Penly power plant]. BFM TV (in French). 25 April 2013. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  15. ^ "Montebourg enterre l'EPR de Penly" [Montebourg buries the Penly EPR]. (in French). 3 March 2013. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  16. ^ "Décret n° 2014-479 du 14 mai 2014 relatif aux investissements étrangers soumis à autorisation préalable", (in French), 16 May 2014
  17. ^ "Décret Alstom : une "mauvaise idée" pour Gattaz, la Commission européenne attentive", (in French), 15 May 2014
  18. ^ "France grabs for power over Alstom future with new takeover law (update 5)",, 15 May 2014
  19. ^ "Au fait, c'est quoi ce décret sur les " investissements stratégiques " ?", (in French), 16 May 2014
  20. ^ d'Allonnes, David Revault; Pietralunga, Cedric (15 May 2014), "Montebourg : " Le décret sur les entreprises, c'est la fin du laisser-faire "", (in French), Le choix que nous avons fait, avec le premier ministre, est un choix de patriotisme économique. Ces mesures de protection des intérêts stratégiques de la France sont une reconquête de notre puissance. C'est la fin du laisser-faire
  21. ^ "France to 'roll out red carpet' to British investors", The Telegraph, 27 May 2014.
  22. ^ "German austerity not the answer for France says economy minister". France News.Net. 24 August 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  23. ^ Marie-Pierre Haddad, "Arnaud Montebourg intègre l'école de commerce Insead et demande une bourse" [archive],, 31 October 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  24. ^ "Arnaud Montebourg se retire de la vie politique" [archive],, 30 December 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  25. ^ "Montebourg va donner des cours d'économie aux États-Unis" [archive],, 11 February 2015. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  26. ^ Soizic Briand, Hervé Giaoui: "Pourquoi j'ai embauché Arnaud Montebourg" [archive], Challenges, 19 March 2015. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  27. ^ "Montebourg. Après Habitat, il va conseiller la société Talan" [archive], sur, 26 March 2015. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  28. ^ "Maverick Montebourg enters French presidential race", Agence France-Presse, 21 August 2016.
  29. ^ Alemagna, Lilian (16 August 2021). "Présidentielle : Montebourg lancera sa candidature le 4 septembre". Libération (in French). Retrieved 16 August 2021.
  30. ^ "Présidentielle : Montebourg, « un candidat qui peut réconcilier classes populaires et classes moyennes »". (in French). 25 August 2021. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  31. ^ "Présidentielle 2022 : Arnaud Montebourg se lance en candidat du « monde d'après »". Le (in French). 20 August 2021. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  32. ^ "Heroic Former French Minister Saved Diners From Being Crushed by Balthazar's Falling Mirror". Eater NY. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  33. ^ "Arnaud Montebourg, ce "French superman" héros de l'accident du miroir géant". (in French). 20 February 2015. Retrieved 8 February 2018.

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