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He is a former pupil of the French École polytechnique, where he graduated in 1949, as an engineer of bridges & road construction.
From 1954 to 1960 he worked on public projects in Guinea, as an expert for the road programs of Brazil and Peru. In 1961 he returned to France and worked for the Wendel Group. After various positions, in 1972, he became general manager of Sacilor, then Chairman and managing Director of Sollac. In 1976 he started working at the Rhône-Poulenc, eventually becoming Chief Executive Officer. He left the group in 1982 and until 1986 he worked as an international consultant. In 1986 he became Chairman and managing Director of the Pechiney Group. He left them in 1994 to take the chair of the National Council of French Employers (CNPF, old name of Medef). Feeling betrayed by the government, he resigned in 1997 after the socialist government voted a law for the 35 hours work week. From 1987 to 1999 he worked as a crisis manager for Cockerill Sambre. He is currently a president of the board of trustees of Suez. He is a member of the Belgian businessclub Cercle de Lorraine.
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