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Nicola Mira
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Nov 29, 2017
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Patrick Sayer to step down as Eurazeo’s Executive Board Chairman in 2018

By
Reuters
Translated by
Nicola Mira
Published
Nov 29, 2017

On Tuesday, Eurazeo announced that Patrick Sayer will step down as the multinational investment company's Executive Board Chairman, after a 15-year plus tenure. He will be succeeded by Eurazeo's current General Manager, Virginie Morgon.


Patrick Sayer will step down from his role as Eurazeo's Executive Board Chairman - Reuters


Virginie Morgon, who is also CEO of Eurazeo North America, will start in her new role on 19th March 2018, when Patrick Sayer's fourth mandate will end, a sign of continuity and of a soft transition.

Morgon stated that, though the group's future general manager has not yet been identified, the group's board and management committee are likely to be reviewing nominations early next year.

Her appointment was unanimously approved by the Supervisory Board, and was described by the group as "a natural transition," in contrast with the surprise news last September of the departure of Frédéric Lemoine, who went to Wendel and will be replaced on 1st January by André François-Poncet.

"For me, this is a seamless transition," said Patrick Sayer, who was put in charge of Eurazeo in 2002, a year after the company was established.

As did Patrick Sayer, Virginie Morgon formerly worked at investment bank Lazard Frères, from which Eurazeo issued. Since January 2008, Morgon sits on Eurazeo's Executive Board, which currently also includes CFO Philippe Audouin.

Eurazeo holds stakes in major corporations such as AccorHotels, Desigual, Elis, Moncler and Europcar, in SMEs like Flash Europe, In’Tech Medical and Smile, and in start-ups like Farfetch and Vestiaire Collective.

Accelerating the group's transformation

Virginie Morgon intends to continue the work so far achieved by Eurazeo, which in the last few years has greatly diversified and internationalised its business. "My ambition is to accelerate this transformation," she said.

After investing in Italian fashion group Moncler in 2011, Eurazeo opened offices in China in 2013, in Brazil in 2015 and in the USA in August 2016.

Another task for the company's future leader will be to increase the convergence between management of the group's proprietary assets and of third-party assets. Eurazeo currently manages assets worth approximately €7 billion, of which €1 billion for third parties.

Morgon confirmed the group's objective of generating an average annual return of 15% in the medium term (dividends included) for its shareholders - a target it has currently achieved and actually surpassed - compared to an average of approximately 10% since 2002.

Next March, when Morgon will take charge of the group, the situation at Eurazeo is likely be calm and stable, once last June's storm, caused by investment company Tikehau acquiring a stake in Eurazeo, will have settled.

Patrick Sayer went to great lengths to prevent Tikehau from taking over the stake in Eurazeo held by French bank Crédit Agricole. At the time, Sayer's white knight was the Decaux family, now Eurazeo's second-largest shareholder (15.4%) behind the founding families of Lazard (17.4%), clustered around Michel David-Weill, President of the Supervisory Board.

As for Tikehau, it is cagey about the fate of the 7.6% stake it holds in Eurazeo, one which does not allow the group to have any influence on the company's strategy.

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