Henri de Castries

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Henri de Castries
Henri de Castries
Henri de La Croix de Castries

(1954-08-15) 15 August 1954 (age 69)
Bayonne, France
EducationLycée Saint-Jean de Passy
Collège Stanislas de Paris
Alma materHEC Paris
Occupation(s)Former chairman and CEO, AXA
Chairman, Bilderberg Group

Henri de La Croix de Castries (born 15 August 1954) is a French businessman. He was chairman and CEO of AXA until retiring from both roles on 1 September 2016.

Early life[edit]

Henri de La Croix de Castries was born on August 15, 1954, in Bayonne.[1] His father was Count François de La Croix de Castries (1919/20–2011)[2] who had a military career in Korea, Indochina, and Algeria.[1] His maternal grandfather, Count Pierre de Chevigné, was a colonel in the Free French forces.[1]

With the backing of his family, De Castries broke with custom by not choosing a military career, although he did perform his national service in a parachute regiment, where he developed a passion for freefall.[3]

De Castries attended the Ecole Saint-Jean de Passy, followed by high school at the Collège Stanislas de Paris[4] He graduated from HEC Paris in 1976, the same year as Serge Lepeltier and Denis Kessler, from the École nationale d'administration alongside Dominique de Villepin, François Hollande and Ségolène Royal in 1980 (Promotion Voltaire).[1] He also holds a law degree and speaks fluent English and German.[1]


From 1980 to 1984, De Castries performed audit assignments on behalf of the Minister of Finances of France, and in 1984 he became a member of the management of the French Treasury.[1] In 1986, he participated in the privatisation initiated by Jacques Chirac's government, including Compagnie Générale d'Electricité, now known as Alcatel-Lucent, and TF1, both on the CAC 40.[1]

De Castries started his career at AXA in 1989, when he joined the central financial direction. In 1991, he was appointed general secretary, in charge of restructurations and mergers (integration of Compagnie du Midi). He was appointed general director in 1993, in charge of North America and UK in 1994, and in charge of the merger and integration with Union des assurances de Paris (UAP) in 1996. He served as President of the Board of Equitable (which became AXA Financial) in 1997, and has been Chairman of the Board of Directors since 2000.[5][6] In 2009, he took full charge at AXA by consolidating the role of chairman with his chief executive position.[7]

Late in De Castries' tenure, AXA became the first global financial institution to shun investments in coal companies when it sold 500 million euros of coal assets in 2015.[8] In 2016, he decided that AXA would join a global movement to exit tobacco investments by unloading about $2 billion in cigarette company stocks and bonds.[9]

In March 2016, it was announced De Castries would retire from both chairman and CEO roles at AXA on 1 September.[10]

By late 2016, De Castries was regarded as frontrunner for taking over as chairman of HSBC;[11][12] instead, the position went to Mark Tucker. Following the primaries for the 2017 presidential election, he served as François Fillon’s senior adviser and was tipped by news media for a future role as finance minister.[13]

In 2017, De Castries joined General Atlantic, the majority shareholder of Argus Media, as chairman and senior advisor.[14]

Other activities[edit]

Corporate boards[edit]

Non-profit organizations[edit]

Political positions[edit]

In a joint contribution published in French newspaper Le Monde in June 2012, De Castries – alongside fellow CEOs Franco Bernabe of Telecom Italia and Peter Löscher of Siemens – made a plea for European Union leaders to boost integration and restore growth in light of the European debt crisis.[29]

Personal life[edit]

De Castries lives on the Boulevard Saint-Germain in Paris, and his brother-in-law lives in the same building.[1] He spends his weekends in a castle in Anjou, and one week a month in the United States.[1] He is married and has three children.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Henri de Castries, 45 ans, successeur de sang bleu, va être adoubé par le monarque du groupe d'assurances AXA". Liberation. March 13, 2000. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
  2. ^ "Décès de Castries, un des derniers officiers du Bataillon français de Corée | France-Amérique". Archived from the original on September 12, 2011. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
  3. ^ Adam Jones (January 25, 2008), Lunch with the FT: Henri de Castries Financial Times.
  4. ^ Annuaire 1972-1973 du Collège Stanislas, Paris, Collège Stanislas, 1972, ISSN 0752-8574.
  5. ^ "Axa boss de Castries set for surprise move into politics". Post Online. 18 June 2007. Retrieved 11 February 2011.
  6. ^ Fabio Benedetti-Valentini; Oliver Suess (9 November 2009). "xa, AMP $10 Billion Bid May Signal Resurgence in Insurer M&A". Bloomberg. Retrieved 11 February 2011.
  7. ^ Scheherazade Daneshkhu (October 7, 2009), De Castries is to take full charge of Axa Financial Times.
  8. ^ Pilita Clark (May 22, 2015), Axa pledges to sell €500m of coal assets by end of year Financial Times.
  9. ^ David Jolly (May 23, 2016), French Insurer AXA to Exit Tobacco Investments After Activists’ Campaign New York Times.
  10. ^ Jill Treanor (1970-01-01). "Axa's Henri de Castries resigns, fuelling HSBC speculation | Business". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-03-23.
  11. ^ Sinead Cruise and Simon Jessop (November 7, 2016), HSBC investors fear timetable to find new bosses is slipping Reuters.
  12. ^ Ingrid Melander (January 17, 2017), French financier de Castries backs presidential hopeful Fillon Reuters.
  13. ^ Javier Espinoza and Patrick Jenkins (September 11, 2017), Former Axa boss Henri de Castries joins General Atlantic Financial Times.
  14. ^ Henri de Castries General Atlantic.
  15. ^ [1] Stellantis.
  16. ^ Henri de Castries joins Argus board of directors Argus Media, press release of June 29, 2018.
  17. ^ Henri de Castries HSBC.
  18. ^ Chad Bray (November 13, 2015), Ex-C.E.O. of Diageo and AXA Chairman to Join HSBC Board New York Times.
  19. ^ Henri de Castries Nestlé.
  20. ^ Advisory Board LeapFrog Investments.
  21. ^ Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Board of Trustees Welcomes Five New Members Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, June 6, 2019.
  22. ^ Henri de Castries Institut Montaigne.
  23. ^ "Bilderberg meetings". The Bilderberg Group. Archived from the original on 11 March 2014. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
  24. ^ Advisory Board American Friends of the Louvre.
  25. ^ Scientifica Committee Institut du Bosphore.
  26. ^ International Council Museum Berggruen.
  27. ^ Strategic Committee Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA).
  28. ^ Advisory Board Re-Imagine Europa.
  29. ^ James Regan (June 26, 2012), EU gets wake-up call from major business leaders Reuters.
Business positions
Preceded by CEO of AXA
Succeeded by