Atos Taps Senior Accenture Exec to Run Eviden Security GroupCurrent Atos Security Leader to Leave as Company Gets 3rd CEO n Less Than 2 Years
Atos has snagged the longtime European CEO of Accenture Technology to lead its soon-to-be-independent $5.76 billion cybersecurity, big data and digital business.
The Paris-based conglomerate tasked Yves Bernaert, 55, with splitting the company's low-growth $6.99 million infrastructure and data management business and $4.38 billion business and platform solutions unit from its higher-growth Eviden business. Bernaert has led Accenture Technology in Europe since 2015 and will oversee Atos' digital, cloud, AI, cybersecurity and compute business once the split closes.
"His 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," Atos Board Chairman Bertrand Meunier said in a statement.
Atos' stock was down $0.42 - or 6.28% - to $6.27 per share in trading Wednesday, which is the lowest the company's stock has traded since going public in November 2008. Atos' stock has dropped more than 30% in 2023 and more than 90% since November 2020 (see: Airbus, Atos Ax Deal for Minority Stake in Evidian Cyber Arm).
The Road Ahead for Bernaert at Atos
Bernaert replaces longtime Atos executive Nourdine Bihmane, who became CEO in July 2022 and will lead the legacy IT outsourcing business - known as Tech Foundations - once it separates from Eviden. Longtime IBM executive Philippe Oliva - who had led Atos' digital, big data and security initiatives since July 2022 - will leave following a transition period. Rodolphe Belmer served as Atos CEO in early 2022.
"I am well aware that Atos possess strong assets, and I have great respect for the world-renowned skills of its teams. Atos has considerable technological capabilities and holds strong positions in many strategic areas," Bernaert said in a statement. "I am confident that we can overcome the challenges that lie ahead and successfully deliver the ongoing transformation."
Atos in August entered into exclusive negotiations to sell its Tech Foundations business to EP Equity Investment to $2.1 billion. Bernaert and CFO Paul Saleh will handle the company's exclusive negotiations with EP Equity Investments under the supervision of Atos' board and hope to submit the transaction to an upcoming shareholders' meeting.
"We can overcome the challenges that lie ahead.'"
– Yves Bernaert, CEO, Atos
Bernaert will inherit a business that enjoyed modest growth in the first half of 2023. Eviden sales increased 7% to $2.76 billion on a year-over-year basis due to strength in digital security and advanced computing. Eviden in June partnered with Amazon Web Services to launch a detection and response tool powered by generative AI technologies.
Gartner last year recognized Atos as the world's largest managed security services vendor after it grew its practice by 20.9% in 2021. The company's big data and security practice benefited from an aggressive acquisition strategy - the company bought German cryptography specialist Cryptovision in September 2021 and Canadian cybersecurity consulting firm In Fidem in January 2021.