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Patrick Jeantet is relieved of his duties at the head of Keolis

After only four months at the head of Keolis, the supervisory board of the operator of public transport, a subsidiary 70% of the SNCF, was relieved of his duties by his boss Patrick Jeantet because of "strategic differences important," said the company on Tuesday.

read also : Patrick Jeantet at the wheel of the world champion of urban transport Keolis

"A recruitment process will be initiated without delay to appoint a new chairman of the management board" in place of Patrick Jeantet, who had entered office at the beginning of February, said Keolis in a press release. Patrick Jeantet, 60 years ago, replacing Jean-Pierre Farandou, who led Keolis for seven years before becoming the boss of the SNCF. This engineer, who headed the SNCF Network from 2016 mandate was to "achieve the strategic ambitions of business development and improvement of the profitability" of the business.

Keolis has not specified the reasons for the dismissal, explaining that the two shareholders -SNCF (70%) and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (30%)- had asked for an exceptional meeting of the supervisory board: the body responsible for overseeing the management of the management board was specifically "to deliberate on the dismissal of Patrick Jeantet, the president of the management board. According to sources interviewed by AFP, Patrick Jeantet wanted to support the external growth of Keolis, when the supervisory board preferred to stick to the program "Perfeco" aimed at strengthening the existing while enhancing the economic performance. In addition, "there has never been a true, constructive dialogue with the supervisory board", which has particularly hurt the shareholders of quebec, has added. "There has been a feeling of change in force of Patrick Jeantet".

"Several hundred million euros" loss

Keolis has completed in 2019 a turnover of almost 6.6 billion euros -about $ 35 billion for the whole of the SNCF-, of which 53% abroad. But the year was closed with a net loss of € 72 million in 2019, leaded by the output of the very onerous operator VTC LeCab, restructuring in the United States and losses in Germany. The year 2020 promises to be particularly delicate, the crisis of the coronavirus that has seriously cut into the coffers of transport operators. Patrick Jeantet had been told in April to expect to lose "several hundred million euros".

Present in sixteen countries, Keolis presents itself as the world leader in automatic metro and the tram. It operates in France, in Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon, Montluçon, france and Rennes, but also the regional railway network of the Country of Wales, the automatic metro in Hyderabad (India), the largest tramway network in the world in Melbourne (Australia) or the new tram Ottawa. It is one of the spearheads of SNCF international. The interim will be assured by a group of four officers of the company, under the direction of the finance director Kathleen Wantz-O'rourke, according to the release.

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