Francis Mer / Former Minister of Economy, France

Last updated on profile page : September 28th, 2015


Francis Mer is a graduate from Ecole Polytechnique and Mines ParisTech.

In October 1970, he joined Saint-Gobain Pont-à-Mousson Group. He was in charge of Saint-Gobain Industries Strategic Planning (1971), then became Manager of Saint-Gobain Industries (1974-1978) before being appointed in September 1978 Vice-President of Saint-Gobain Pont-à-Mousson, in charge of industrial policy. In July 1982, he became Chairman and CEO of Pont-à-Mousson SA and head of Saint Gobain’s Pipe and Engineering Division.

In September 1986, when the French State (main shareholder), decided the merging of Usinor and Sacilor, Francis Mer became Chairman of the new steel group.

The Governement had assigned Francis Mer the mission to carry out the privatisation of Usinor Sacilor, finaly realized in July 1995. Mr. Mer was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors of the privatised Usinor Sacilor Group on October, 10, 1995.

He was also appointed Chairman of Cockerill Sambre in April 1999.

From December 1990 to 1997, M. Mer chaired Eurofer, the European steelmakers association. From October 1997 to October 1998, he was chairman of the International Iron an Steel Institute (IISI).

He has been President of the French Steel Federation (FFA) from 1988 to 2002, President of the National Technical Research Association (ANRT) from 1991 to 2002, the EPE (Entreprise pour l’Environnement), and the Cercle de l’Industrie.

In March 2002, he became co-chairman of the board of Arcelor, the company issued from the merger of Arbed, Aceralia and Usinor.

In May 2002, he was appointed Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry, a position he kept till March 31, 2004.

In 2007, Francis Mer became Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Safran, a position he kept till 2011.

By Francis Mer on ParisTech Review

Les entreprises qui réussissent ont un secret : la confiance. Celle qui facilite les relations managériales, autorise la prise de risque ou des décisions difficiles, celle aussi qui permet de développer les relations commerciales. Mais la confiance, cela ne se décrète pas. Comment la faire naître ? Au cœur de la confiance, il y a la reconnaissance. On peut y voir une question morale, mais c’est en réalité un enjeu managérial majeur, une clé de la performance pour les entreprises d’aujourd’hui.
Successful companies have one secret: trust. One that facilitates managerial relations, allows taking risks or difficult decisions, and also helps develop trade relations. But trust cannot be imposed from the top. How is it created? The heart of trust is recognition. Far from being a moral issue, it is a major managerial challenge, a key to the performance of firms today.
Dans tous les pays développés, l'augmentation de l'espérance de vie - presque un trimestre par an au rythme actuel - conjuguée à la baisse de la fécondité entraîne un vieillissement démographique inéluctable. En 2050, un quart de la population française, par exemple, aura plus de 65 ans, contre 16% aujourd'hui. La décroissance de la part des actifs dans la population représente un défi économique majeur. Francis Mer, ministre de l'Economie et des Finances de la France de 2002 à 2004, analyse les enjeux du vieillissement dans cet entretien à ParisTech Review.
In all developed countries, the increase in life expectancy -almost three months a year at the current rate- coupled with the fall in the fertility rates has resulted in an inevitable demographic ageing. By the year 2050, a quarter of the French population, for example, will be over 65 years compared to 16 per cent today. The decline in the proportion of active population to inactive is a major economic challenge. Francis Mer, Minister for Economics and Finances of France from 2002 to 2004, analyses the consequences of an ageing population.

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