Thierry Breton: Ill recuse myself from decisions involving former company
Frances European Commissioner-designate Thierry Breton pledged to stay away from decisions directly involving his former company Atos and to avoid conflicts of interest in his financial declaration filed to the European Parliament.
“In agreement with [President Ursula von der Leyen], he will automatically recuse himself of every decision of financial administration, of contractual nature or assimilated that would directly involve Atos or one of its subsidiaries,” the document obtained by POLITICO reads.
The declaration doesnt mention how Breton would deal with regulatory initiatives impacting Atos.
Breton is set to have a broad portfolio spanning industry, digital, defense and space. The size of the portfolio was an issue raised by MEPs when they rejected Sylvie Goulard, but French President Emmanuel Macron insisted France should keep it.
Atos business activities include data management, cloud services, cybersecurity, digital infrastructure, high performance computers and e-commerce payment services. The Commissions digital department, to be headed by Breton, largely oversees regulation on these sectors.
The 10-page document details Bretons previous managerial and board positions and investments in his long career in the private sector, including as CEO of tech company Atos, from which he stepped down on October 31.
It confirms the nominee sold all of his shares in the company.
“Mr. Breton will apply with an extreme rigor the code of conduct of members of the European Commission … [to] avoid any situation that could result in a conflict of interest, or could be perceived as such,” the document also reads.
Following his nomination, several MEPs raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest linked to Bretons business background, including in the digital sector, for which he will now be a top EU regulator.
In late October, Frances Junior Digital Minister Cédric O shot down conflicts of interests concerns but said Breton “cannot deal with areas involving Atos” as EU commissioner.
According to Bretons declaration, he has quit at least four different jobs as of October 24. Breton was a member of multiple company boards across several industries, including finance, agri-business and tech.
He was a board member of retail giant Carrefour from 2008, a member of Bank of Americas “global advisory council” from 2013 and a board member of Bank of America Securities Europes French subsidiary from January this year. Breton was also a board member of Senegalese telecom company Sonatel from 2015 to October this year, according to his declaration.
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