August 1, 2021

The death of Roger Fauroux, industrialist, former minister and humanist intellectual

Big boss, director of the ENA (National School of Administration), but also minister under François Mitterrand: Roger Fauroux had held the highest positions until the beginning of the 1990s. Subsequently, this pragmatic intellectual continued to influence public life through its struggles to reform schools, the State or housing policy. “He was a great man in every sense of the word, points out Bernard Spitz, former president of the French Insurance Federation, who co-wrote several books with him. She main line was a deep humanism linked to his Catholic faith ”. Roger Fauroux died on Friday July 16, in Paris, at the age of 94.

Born on November 21, 1926 in Montpellier, the former student of the Ecole normale supérieure (classical letters), German associate and graduate in theology, financial inspector, had joined in 1961 the Compagnie de Pont-à-Mousson, a company Lorraine of cast iron pipes, nine years before it merged with the Manufacture des Glaces de Louis XIV, which became Saint-Gobain. The Ariégeois then rose through the ranks before reaching the head of the group in July 1980, just before the nationalizations launched by François Mitterrand. But when his peers at Crédit Lyonnais or at Péchiney were dismissed on this occasion, Roger Fauroux was the only one to keep his post.

« Saint-simonien »

“I am Saint-Simonian, named after the philosopher economist of the early nineteenthe century. Like him, I believe in progress, human action and reason, education and morals, entrepreneurship and the State. I believe in the market but not in its miracles ”, will he describe himself later in an interview with World, in March 1990. The center-left boss, on the other hand, prefers to anticipate, in January 1986, the desire for change implied by the expected return of the right and cedes his chair to Jean-Louis Beffa. At Saint-Gobain, a tradition continues: the boss knights his successor.

Roger Fauroux is going to replace Simon Nora at the head of the ENA. “She is an old beauty who hides her wrinkles, but who is a little outdated and who has not adapted to the evolution of the world”, he professes about the making of the elites. At the same time, he took over the presidency of Monde Investissements (now Le Monde Entreprises), a shareholder structure for the evening daily. He will even be an ephemeral president of the Century before, on May 12, 1988, he resigned from all his mandates: he was called by his friend Michel Rocard to join his new government as Minister of Industry and Regional Planning .

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