North America has more than its fair share of pampered, constantly helped, media-touted, yet ultimately flawed and even nefarious female power figures. Beyond the classical Hitlery, whose addiction to public attention prevents her from hiding with her millions, ROK readers have already heard about Sherryl Sandberg—an overpaid top executive whose main activity consists in poisoning culture and writing self-serving books—or Elizabeth Holmes—whose hyped-up company consistently lied to the public before losing $4.5 billion. Well, there are more. Many more.
For example, Anne Lauvergeon. Few North American readers will be familiar with her name, although she benefited enough from globalism to be touted by Newsweek, Forbes and the like as one of these “powerful women” the girl next door should try to emulate.
Born in 1959, this French boomer was part of a rare breed: females who are actually good at math. After long studies, she managed to succeed at a difficult competitive examination, the agrégation of physics—something much easier then than now, as only a few Frenchmen wanted become to public officials at that time of exceptional growth, yet still deserving.
Then those in power put a motor on her back.
After only two years as a trainee in steel and nuclear industry, she received the job of chief manager at the Inspection générale des carrières. This administration is in charge, among others, of the disaffected stone quarries under Paris, better known under the name of catacombes. Anne Lauvergeon headed the IGC from 1985 to 1988. Strangely, the media always ignore it, but several elder cataphiles spoke about her policies.
In a nutshell, as soon as she was handed down the decision-maker title, she considered the catacombes as her domain and enforced a repressive policy against those going there without a permit. Hundreds of entrances were welded. Some disappeared under several meters of thick reinforced concrete. Building block walls were erected inside the network to split it. Places were filled with concrete.
Lauvergeon’s ultimate aim was injecting the whole subterranean network in the name of safety and modernity. Had this happened, one of the most interesting remnants of Parisian history, and one of the more or less freer places in the city, filled with beautiful architectural artworks, would have been buried under ugly cement. Fortunately, this project was cancelled, mostly because of its unbearable cost.
Today, the catacombes are suffering from an excess of humidity because of Lauvergeon’s frenzy to add waterproof concrete—which has been preventing regular dewatering since. I started going there in 2007. Last time I dipped in the galleries, in 2016, I was struck by the ever-increasing water level on the floor. Not only does it make subterranean wandering more difficult, it makes the ground flaky and is dangerous for buildings above. Who cares, right? It was public policy. The one(s) in power had no skin in the game, no personal liability.
Despite her useless and even nefarious spendings, Anne Lauvergeon was handed a dreamy job on a silver platter two years after she left the Inspection. Namely, she became one of President François Mitterand’s two top advisers—the other one being arch-globalist Jacques Attali. Hard to satisfy female hypergamy more than this. For five years she sat literally next to the President’s door, thus meeting with almost everyone he received and following him during his official trips. Her man-jaws, luxurious clothes, and relative youth allowed her to parade remorselessly.
At the time, the political world was still predominantly masculine, although filled with pussies idolizing “progress” and “modernity”: both factors contributed much to her career.
When President Mitterrand died in 1995, Lauvergeon immediately bounced to other high-profile, well-paid positions. Indeed, she respectively sat at the board of directors of the powerful investment bank Lazard Brothers and at the top telecom company Alcatel while the globalist network French-American Foundation, a kind of smaller Bilderberg, also hired her.
In 1999, the not yet infamous Dominique Strauss-Kahn had her appointed president of the State-owned company Cogema. This company, whose function is the extraction and refinement of uranium, had been existing for more than 25 years and had more than ten thousand employees. But this was not enough for Anne Lauvergeon.
Before the ink on her nomination contract could dry, she started plotting so that Cogema could buy out Framatome, the other main French nuclear company. “Why should we have two rival companies when a single one could be the banner of the French nuclear industry worldwide?”
Of course the argument was sheer hamstering: Lauvergeon had a taste for mammoth projects paid with other people’s money. For their part, the Framatome employees opposed the merging. They knew very well many of them would be fired were their company to be assimilated. Their efforts were fruitless: Lauvergeon received the money she was chomping at, Framatome disappeared, and on the ashes of Cogema came Areva, a giant state enterprise. To be led by Lauvergeon, of course.
Areva was worth billions. Not that Lauvergeon had actually created anything yet. She had just been able to buy out the result of decades of other people’s work with taxpayers’ money and the result was handed down to her. Bursting with ego, ambition and an insane trust in her lesser-known employee cubicle monkeys personal abilities, she claimed Areva would become the world-class leader in nuclear engineering. Nothing less.
The first big deal appeared soon. In Ukraine, the radioactive remnants of Chernobyl kept irradiating the region, and the Ukrainian government was looking for someone who could build a containment facility around the former power plant. Lauvergeon jumped in, got the deal, bought containment technology—couldn’t Areva’s big R&D department actually make one?—and ordered to start construction.
However, it soon appeared that the facility was being built along a non-functioning structure. Containment cylinders were too small. Parts supposed to maintain a perfect sealing failed to do so. The Areva engineers argued they didn’t have time to master the newly bought technology before they were tasked with building this facility.
Lauvergeon had promised the Ukrainians Areva would deliver in five years. After seven years of continuous problems, Ukraine managed to have the contract terminated. Areva was sentenced to pay 45 million euros as legal compensation.
Chernobyl should have been the company’s—and Lauvergeon’s—first glory. It was the first major blunder instead. Others were still to come.
In 2003, Lauvergeon succeeded at selling a “new generation” nuclear reactor to a Finnish private group. She mostly secured the deal through aggressive selling strategies: her reactor would only cost 3 billion euros, she said, a rather modest price for one of the most gigantic, state-of-the-art nuclear facilities ever, and it would be finished in three and a half years. Yes! You’ll see!
Inside Areva, everyone knew the selling price wouldn’t cover the costs. Doesn’t matter, Lauvergeon said, because this reactor will be a tremendous success, other countries will buy it and allow Areva to cash in. Guess what happened next?
Lauvergeon tried to have everything built by “her” company by keeping outsourcing to a minimum. A problematic choice, as Areva’s expertise lied in engineering, not architecture. After a year, it became all too clear that Areva could never make it alone. Lauvergeon had to reach another company to entrust with the building of the concrete structure. Alas, the newcomers did not improve the situation either.
The power plant was supposed to be finished in 2009. Today, in 2017, it is still under construction and should be finished with at least a ten-year delay. Areva had to pour 9 billion euros because of constant backlogs and could be sentenced to pay compensation to the Finnish—who are forced to import their energy at a substantial cost.
Despite this abject failure, Anne Lauvergeon kept touring countries to sell other nuclear reactors of the same type. An ex-Areva employee commented on the matter:
By signing this contract, she proved that she had no idea of what the company could actually do. To us, she was far from an industry leader… yet she had ferocious management methods. After a while, the directors had stopped sharing realistic assessments to her. When you’re around such people, the only thing you can say is ‘yes.’
An ex-Areva director made the same point:
To my knowledge she has never been a practising engineer. She’s rather a scientist by training. When she entered professional life, she was placed directly near the President, where I doubt she was in charge of plumbing or repairing taps. She was not an engineer but a politician.
In 2007, mostly on her advice, Areva bought a Canadian uranium mining company for $2 billion dollars. Curiously, the company’s geologists were blocked from inspecting the mines before the deal was sealed, and afterwards it appeared that none of the purported uranium ore deposits could be exploited. Today, not one ounce of uranium was unearthed.
In a single decade, Anne Lauvergeon managed to drive the monster company she had ordered to the ground. In 2007, an Areva share was worth 82 euros. In 2012 the price hovered around 20 euros. In 2017 it reached an all-time low of 4.50 euros—and now Areva has officially left the stock exchange so that it can be bailed out. Specialists believe Lauvergeon caused the loss of 10 to 15 billion euros. I’m glad I have been investing in BitCoin instead of following my banker’s advice (“it’s a State-owned company, it’s safe!”).
To add insult to injury, she also claimed in 2009 that, at equal ability, Areva would “not hire the white male.” Her nefarious choices caused millions of workers of both sexes to pay for Areva’s bailout, while thousands of Areva mostly male, blue-collar employees lost their jobs.
Lauvergeon has been indicted for massaging her numbers and disseminating false information. Her husband Olivier Fric, whose family name means “cash” in French slang (couldn’t make this up) is being charged for various Areva-related insider trading operations.
In spite of all this, Anne Lauvergeon was always let off the hook. Zero liability. After President Sarkozy at least fired her from Areva, when the company balance was already deep in the red, a Rothschild gave her a cushy place at the supervisory board of the left-leaning newspaper Libération (the Parisian version of the Guardian).
In 2012, just like Sherryl Sandberg, she published a narcissistic book where she painted herself as a courageous outsider and blamed various men for everything she had done. Since then she has also been sitting at various boards of directors, including the one of EADS, mostly known for owning the airplane manufacturer Airbus.
Arrogance, a boundless appetite for pharaonic projects, self-complacency, hamstering, plus a complete lack of remorse, empathy or sense of responsibility are the main traits of what could be dubbed the Lauvergeon syndrome. The only things she managed to do right were political maneuvering and selling. And the same media who complacently touted her as a modern, progressive face, have conveniently forgot about her when the result of her choices became all too apparent.
From the 1980s onwards, this career womyn never learned a thing, constantly avoided to pay for any of her decisions—which are, by now, a social burden—and keeps strutting around with her undeserved millions. Some karma is long overdue here. Neither justice nor responsibility go well with grrl power.