New boss follows big loss at Suez
- From: Vol 5, Issue 3 (March 2004)
- Category: General
- Region: Europe
- Country: France
- Related Companies: Nalco, Ondeo/Suez and United Water
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With the 2003 accounts drenched in red ink and this year starting badly with the loss of the Puerto Rico contract, Suez Environnement has changed the leadership.
Suez announced its profit performance for the year to end December 2003. This showed an increased loss at the net level of €2.165 billion (the net loss in 2002 was €863 million), primarily as a result of €2.757 billion of write-offs, the bulk of which related to the sale of Nalco. At the EBITDA level, the performance was a little more encouraging, up 4.9% overall to €6.011 billion. Environment EBITDA apart from Nalco totaled €1,944 million, with 4.7% organic growth.
Little detail about the performance of individual departments within the environment division was available, although a slide showing the relative breakdown of profit and sales of the different sectors was released. This slide, shown in a condensed format opposite, suggests that Suez’s Latin American interests have the highest margin at the EBITDA level, whereas the North American businesses (primarily United Water) deliver the lowest margin.
The day after the results were released, the company announced the replacement of Jacques Pétry (see GWI, January 2004) with Jean-Louis Chaussade as chief executive of Suez Environnement (see Analysis, p5). Chaussade’s career with the company started in 1978 when he joined Degrémont, working his way up through the ozone department to
chief operating officer for foreign subsidiaries in Degrémont France in 1987.
In 1989, he moved to Degrémont Spain as chief operating officer, remaining in Spain until he moved to Lyonnaise des Eaux in 1997 as regional chief operating officer. He has been chairman and chief executive of Degrémont since 2000. He trained as a civil engineer and has degrees from Ecole des Sciences Politiques of Paris and Harvard Business School.