Veolia CEO Frerot Faces Leadership Challenge, Le Point Reports

Feb 14, 2014 12:19 pm ET

Feb. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Veolia Environnement SA’s second- biggest shareholder is seeking the removal of the chief executive in favor of a top civil servant, a magazine reported.

Board representatives of shareholder Groupe Industriel Marcel Dassault are seeking to gain support for Antoine Frerot’s replacement by David Azema, who heads the agency that manages government holdings in companies, Agence des Participations de l’Etat, Le Point reported yesterday without saying where it got the information. Veolia is Europe’s biggest water company.

A government official who asked not to be named citing internal policy said today the state doesn’t interfere in the appointments of top managers in private companies.

Sandrine Guendoul, a Veolia spokeswoman, declined to comment. A call to Dassault’s press office wasn’t returned.

Dassault holds 6 percent of the Paris-based water utility. The state is the largest holder, through its investment bank Caisse des Depots et Consignations.

At a press conference Feb. 6, Frerot answered obliquely when asked how long he plans to remain in his position, saying his “vision for the company goes beyond April.” His term as a director expires that month.

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--Editors: Alex Devine, Randall Hackley