Hervé Guillou, the CEO of the French naval shipyard group DCNS (Direction des Constructions Navales) has dismissed Yves Destefanis, most likely for the invitation sent to Russia for the delivery of the Mistral helicopter carriers, reports the French publication Les Echos, October 31.
The DCNS letter inviting the Russians to attend the delivery of the first of the two Mistrals they had ordered is continuing to make waves internally. According to information received by Les Echos, Yves Destefanis, the project manager, had been “relieved of his duties” Thursday evening, October 30. The announcement was made on Friday morning, October 30, by Hervé Guillou, the CEO of the shipyard, to his general managers.
The invitation, dated October 8 and signed by Pierre Legros, the head of DCNS surface naval systems, has generated a media storm when it was made public, since, officially, Paris is insisting that the decision to deliver the two helicopter carriers has not been made because necessary conditions in Ukraine have not been met.
In his internal message Hervé Guillou does not explicitly mention the invitation, but in essence invokes “damaging consequences that cannot be measured at this time,” sources report. When contacted, DCNS did not wish to comment, Les Echos reports.
According to Les Echos, it is understandable that DCNS had anticipated the possible delivery of the first of the two Mistral ships in the event that François Hollande gave the green light. However, it is hard to believe that an official invitation could have been dispatched without the approval of the Elysée, unless a huge blunder had occurred. If this is the case, did Yves Destefanis act of his own accord? Did Pierre Legros give him signing authority? Is he being used as a scapegoat in this affair? At this stage, these questions remain unanswered, Les Echos concludes.