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Atos Grapples with CEO Change and Cash Flow Disappointment Atos Grapples with CEO Change and Cash Flow Disappointment

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French technology company Atos (OTCPK:AEXAF) (OTCPK:AEXAY) has thrown the dice by appointing Paul Saleh as CEO, effective immediately. Saleh is set to replace Yves Bernaert, who has presided over a turbulent period for the company.

Stock Slump and CEO Shuffle

With the announcement, Atos’ stock took a sharp hit, plummeting around 13% on the Euronext Paris stock exchange. This abrupt shift in leadership comes amidst a whirlwind of changes at the company.

Paul Saleh, who has been serving as group CFO since August 2023, will be wielding the CEO mantle. His former position is set to be filled by Jacques-François de Prest, effective Jan. 29.

Not unknown to the pressures of finance, de Prest joins Atos from Mobivia, where he held the dual roles of CFO and Performance Leader. His distinguished career in the telecommunications industry, peppered with senior finance roles at Vodafone and Millicom, makes him a shrewd pick for the role.

Leadership Carousel and Financial Projections

The company’s decision to tap Saleh as CEO signals a tumultuous period, with Atos’ new appointment making waves in its management structure. Saleh follows a string of previous chief executives, marking Atos’ fifth CEO in less than two-and-a-half years, as reported by Bloomberg News.

Steadying the ship, Atos also announced the appointments of Sujatha β€œSuja” Chandrasekaran and Monika Maurer as new independent directors, aiming to bring fresh perspectives to the boardroom.

Though the company assures that it will meet its financial guidance for the year in terms of revenue and profits, it anticipates that free cash flow will fall slightly below its target by approximately -100 million euros for the second half of the year.

Strategic Adaptations and Potential Sale

Revelation of the cash flow projection comes in the wake of Atos’ adjusted strategy, prompted by financial constraints aimed at ensuring the repayment and refinancing of its debts while preserving an attractive business mix.

Adding to the company’s array of actions, Atos confirmed that it has not filed a request to appoint a mandataire ad hoc or to open conciliation proceedings; instead, it reserves the right to exercise available legal mechanisms.

In a surprising twist, speculation emerged on Jan. 3 that Airbus was contemplating the acquisition of Atos’ data and cybersecurity division BDS, a move that could potentially value the unit at around $2 billion.

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