Veolia's Antoine Frerot is a thick-skinned survivor with big plans for growth

THE MT INTERVIEW: Having seen off two boardroom coups and a period of financial carnage, Veolia's boss has got profits flowing again. Now he has to keep growth on stream too, in spite of France's stagnant economy.

by Matthew Lynn

Antoine Frerot has the look of a survivor. A stocky, thick-skinned man with wary eyes, but also flashes of humour, he has been through more challenges in the past few years than most business leaders encounter in a lifetime. Somehow or other, he has made it to the other side. If there was a nuclear strike on Paris, he'd be one of the few people emerging from the debris, slightly battered, perhaps, but otherwise unscathed.

The chief executive of the French water and waste conglomerate Veolia, he runs a company with more than 200,000 staff and revenues of close on EUR30bn. In the UK, Veolia runs services such as rubbish collection and street cleaning for local councils, as well as water operations and water management.

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