Denationalization: The Premier's Pink Slips

The Premier's Pink Slips

When conservative Jacques Chirac became Premier of France in March, the heads of the country's state-owned corporations knew that their days at the helm could be numbered. Chirac had pledged that he would carry out a sweeping program of denationalization. Observed an executive at a government-controlled bank: "Rather fewer decisions have been made lately. There's no sense in crawling out on a limb that you know is going to be sawed off."

Last week Chirac ended the suspense: he replaced the heads of twelve large banks, insurance companies and industrial groups. These firms are among 65 that he hopes to sell...

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