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April 12, 1992

MANAGEMENT SPLIT GROWS AT BULL SA AS ALBRECHT QUITS UNEXPECTEDLY

By CBR Staff Writer

In a move that came as a surprise to industry observers, Jean-Claude Albrecht, director general of Bull SA – the French arm of Groupe Bull – has announced his resignation. The business daily, Les Echos, says his departure is due to differences of opinion over Bull’s strategy with chief executive officer, Francis Lorentz. Bull SA refuses to comment, saying only that Albrecht has resigned to assume new responsibilities outside information technology. However, the paper quotes Michel Charbonnier, a member of Bull’s Comite Central de l’Enterprise, as saying that Albrecht quit his job after disagreeing over strategy and reorganisation. Charbonnier, according to Les Echos, claims that Albrecht affirmed publicly that he did not want to see the group push open systems at the expense of Bull’s proprietary offerings, which still represent core revenue and margins. Also, he was opposed to the reorganisation of the French sales network and increasing centralisation. Albrecht’s move came as a surprise to analysts at the Gartner Group and Dataquest Europe, both of which have worked closely with Bull in the past. Gartner’s Serge LeClerc says that no one expected Albrecht to leave, and despite the reasons given in Les Echos, he was still unsure what prompted the move. Dedene Nelson, an analyst with Dataquest, claims that the change is exceptional since high-level resignations are usually telegraphed in advance. However, Charbonnier is quoted as saying that Albrecht was not an isolated figure and there are others within Bull who agree with him. If Lorentz believes that by getting rid of him (Albrecht), he has resolved the problem, he is mistaken, Charbonnier said.

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