Atos announces major restructuring plans in wake of CEO exit

The France-based IT company is exploring a potential separation into two publicly listed companies in order to increase focus on their respective markets.

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France-based IT company Atos has announced plans to restructure in the wake of the sudden resignation of its CEO, Rodolphe Belmer. The plan to split its operations and sell assets saw the company's shares fall by more than 25% Tuesday.

The potential separation will see Atos split up into two publicly listed entities: SpinCo will include company's Evidian subsidiary, bringing together Atos' big data and security (BDS) business units, and overseen by Philippe Oliva; TFCo will house Atos' legacy Tech Foundations unit  and be managed by Nourdine Bihmane.

In a statement, Belmer said separating the business would create two companies with proven and recognized track records, with the aim of optimizing the two distinct markets that the group operates in.

"By specializing in two businesses on different and equally attractive paths, each company would focus on what they do best for their customers, creating significant new investment capacity for both and giving both the chance for long term success, growth and achievement," his statement read.

Atos specializes in hi-tech transactional services, unified communications, cloud, big data and cybersecurity services. Its software is used by the French army and the finance ministry to manage tax collection, while former French prime minister Edouard Philippe sits on its board.

Belmer was appointed as CEO in January 2022 but has continually clashed with the company's board of directors over reorganization efforts, with Reuters reporting that Belmer wanted to sell the company's cybersecurity unit BDS while the board wanted to retain it. He announced Tuesday that he will leave the company on September 30.

In a press release announcing the news, Bertrand Meunier, chairman of the board of Atos, said that having examined a number of possible options, Atos' board is convinced that "the envisioned project is the best possible for the Group, and would create the highest value for all Atos Stakeholders."

Atos has for some time been discussing a major reorganization. Reports of potential moves to sell its legacy information technology business, including some outsourcing operations, have been circulating since last year, and former Atos CEO Elie Girard told analysts during an earnings call with analysts last August that the company was definitely looking to make some kind of changes to its businesses.

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