Thales managers ousted in strategic plan: report


Thales, Europe’s largest defence electronics group, will undergo management changes and set its sights on double-digit margins in a strategic plan to be unveiled today, a media report said.

Chief executive Luc Vigneron, who was appointed in May when the French company had a change of industrial shareholder, ordered sweeping changes to boost flagging profitability, Les Echos said in an advance copy of its Friday edition.

Thales is scheduled to publish the findings of a seven-month strategy review before markets open, following a board meeting held yesterday.

Vigneron had established a medium-term operating margin target of 10 percent, the daily said.

The group’s margin slumped to 1.2% in the first half from 6.6% in the same period of last year, hampered by aerospace and security, which offset a solid performance by its core defence business.

The management shake-up includes the planned departure of Olivier Houssin, whose transport and security division would also be split in two, the newspaper said.

Francois Quentin, a former rival contender for the top job who once ran the aerospace division, will also leave, it said.

No one at Thales was available to comment.

Thales products guide jetliners in the air and soldiers on the ground. Its portfolio includes cockpit and in-flight entertainment systems and the radar for France’s Dassault-built Rafale warplane. It is active in security and space.

The privatised company had a switch of top industrial shareholder in May when Dassault bought out Alcatel Lucent, which had been the company’s largest shareholder after the French state in the decade since privatisation.

Dassault owns 26% of Thales and has called for improvements in profitability.