Unions decry French PM's corporate shuffle

July 4, 2006 at 9:13 AM
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PARIS, July 4 (UPI) -- French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin came under fire by transport unions Tuesday for his appointments to state industries following the Airbus shake-up.

Dubbed the "waltz of the bosses" by local media, de Villepin's appointments was triggered by the weekend top management changes at EADS, the Franco-German parent of the troubled Airbus company, The Times of London reported.

France has a 15 percent stake in EADS, whose co-chief executive Noel Foregard was forced to step down for Airbus shortfalls and profiting from the sale of stock last March when trouble began.

To replace him, France sent in Louis Gallois, 63, who has run the SNCF state railways for the past decade. He was in turn replaced at the railways by Anne-Marie Idrac, the head of the transport monopoly that runs Paris' subways and buses.

De Villepin drew the most criticism for replacing her with his own friend and chief of staff, Pierre Mongin, which the Les Echos business daily criticized as "this very French tradition of musical chairs in which appointments are inspired more by politics than ability."

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