Atos In Transition: Hires Third CEO In Two Years As Restructuring Continues

Yves Bernaert, who spent 30 years with rival Accenture, is taking over the CEO spot at France-based Atos Group, which is in the process of splitting into two separate organizations. With the move, he becomes the third CEO in two years for a company in transition.


Global IT services provider Atos has appointed a new CEO, its third CEO in two years.

Atos Group on Wednesday said its board of directors appointed Yves Bernaert (pictured) as its new CEO. Bernaert is also likely to become a member of the board of directors in the near future.

Bernaert takes over from Nourdine Bihmane, who became CEO of Atos Group in July of 2022. Bihmane took over as CEO from Rodolphe Belmer, who became CEO in October of 2021 after the sudden departure of then-CEO Elie Girard.

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[Related: Atos May Split Into Two Companies: 5 Things To Know]

Bernaert joined Atos from rival Accenture, where for the last nine years he served as CEO Europe of Accenture Technology. Prior to joining Accenture in 1992, he was an auditor at PwC.

Bernaert’s appointment comes after Paris, France-based Atos in July completed the internal operational separation of the company into two separate entities.

According to Atos, Bernaert’s first mission will be to complete the next stages of Atos Group’s transformation plan and to accelerate the turnaround of its activities. Then, Assuming Atos’ separation goes as planned, he would be exclusively responsible for leading the new Eviden Group, which is slated to provide a full range of digital transformation solutions including digital, cloud, AI, cybersecurity, and high-performance computing solutions.

Atos, ranked No. 25 in CRN’s 2023 Solution Provider 500, in August followed up on a plan to split its business into two with the planned sale of its Tech Foundations business to a private equity company.

Atos said at the time that it entered into an agreement with Luxembourg-based private equity firm EP Equity Investment for EPEI to acquire 100 percent of Atos’ Tech Foundations business in a deal with an enterprise value of 2.0 billion Euros, or $2.2 billion.

That deal also includes the Atos brand name.

Once the deal is complete, Atos’ Eviden business will be known as Eviden SE.

Tech Foundations is the Atos Group business line focused on managed services, hybrid cloud and infrastructure, employee experience, and technology services via decarbonized, automated, and AI-enabled solutions. Tech Foundations has about 52,000 employees and customers in 69 countries, and in 2022 had revenue of about 6.0 billion Euros, or about $6.6 billion.

The second part, Eviden, includes Atos’ digital, cloud, big data, and security business lines, and has a focus on data-driven and sustainable digital transformation. Eviden has about 57,000 employees working with clients in over 53 countries, with an annual revenue of about 5 billion Euros, or about $5.5 billion.

Eviden should not be confused with Evidian, which is the identity and access management software suite of Eviden and which was the subject of a separate proposed strategic sale.

Atos did not respond by press time to a CRN request for further information about the management change.

Bertrand Meunier, chairman of Atos’s board of directors, said in a prepared statement that he is very pleased to welcome Bernaert as CEO.

“[Bernaert’s] personal and professional strengths, ability to lead teams through major transformations, in-depth knowledge of our industry and belief in the critical role our sector plays in meeting the national and European digital sovereignty objectives, make him the ideal leader,” Meunier said in that statement.

Atos is going through some difficult transformations. The company in July reported fiscal first-half 2023 of 5.55 billion Euros, which was flat with the 5.56 billion Euros the company reported for the same period of 2022. It also reported a net loss of 600 million Euros, higher than the previous year’s net loss of 503 million Euros. Atos also said it had a negative free cash flow of 969 million Euros, higher than the negative free cash flow of 555 million Euros it reported for the year before.

Atos Group has also been looking to shed some of its assets.

Atos in July entered exclusive negotiations with Schneider Electric for the sale of 100 percent of its EcoAct SAS business. EcoAct is an international consultant on climate solutions from planning and forecasting to carbon offsetting with 400 employees and revenue of about 70 million Euros or $77 million.

The company in early April also completed the sale of its Italian operations, known as Atos Italia, to Lutech, an Italy-based IT services and solutions provider.

Atos in January entered into exclusive negotiations with Mitel Networks for the sale of its Unified Communications & Collaboration Services businesses, also known as Unify. That deal is set to close in the second half of 2023.

One proposed strategic asset sale, that of Eviden’s Evidian security software business, fell through. Airbus, which in addition to its well known aerospace business is also a global provider of cybersecurity solutions, early this year explored taking a minority 29.9-percent stake in Evidian.

However, Atos in March said that Airbus was no longer pursuing that deal, and that the two would explore cybersecurity partnerships.