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November 22, 1993

THE BULL RESTRUCTURING

By CBR Staff Writer

The proposed restructuring at Compagnie des Machines Bull SA indeed turned out to be a rearrangement of the furniture, although new chairman Jean-Marie Descarpentries reckons that it can take the company into profitability one year earlier than projections by former chairman Bernard Pache: the outline sets out a decentralised, inverted-pyramid style of management with Bull’s customers at the top, whatever that means, and a 10-member executive board and consultative body of members from inside and outside of France that will advise Bull’s top management are being formed; the company could not offer more specific details on the overhaul, such as cost-cutting plans and job cuts and would say only that the company would attack cost-reductions, such as overhead expenses, on the non-salary level first; the company will resort to cost-cutting at the salary level – presumably with job cuts and lay-offs, if non-salary measures don’t work; Bull’s new organisation will include 12 new operational divisions across three branches: products and services, commercial networks and industrial and logistical operations arranged by geography and sector; the Wall Street Journal comments that Descarpentries has a reputation for trying to apply what critics say are excessively avante garde management techniques and that he left Carnaud-MetalBox Plc to complaints that his style had been disruptive.

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