Atos’ board of directors wants to split the organization in two parts. CEO Rodolphe Belmer has no faith in the plan and unexpectedly resigned. The share price dropped by nearly 25 percent in the past 24 hours.

Atos provides infrastructure, security and software services. In the past year, its market value shrunk by almost 70 percent. Investors lost confidence due to two setbacks. Atos tried to acquire competitor DXC Technology, but DXC refused the offer. Later in 2021, an auditor found errors in the company’s accounting. The management team was held accountable for both blunders.

Anonymous sources told Reuters that Atos’ board has been planning a reorganization in recent months. The plans were recently announced. The board wants to split Atos into two organizations: SpinCo and TFCo. The big data and security services fall under SpinCo. The software services belong to TFCo.

Why?

Splits are common for ailing organizations. Separating profitable departments from weak departments creates a safety net. First, the profitable department becomes more attractive to investors. The weak department’s figures are no longer relevant. Second, the weak department becomes more attractive to buyers. The strong department’s figures no longer inflate the purchasing price.

Atos’s strong division is SpinCo, which grows by a few percent yearly. The weak division is TFCo, which shrinks by more than ten percent each year. In addition to the split, the board wants to sell assets worth €700 million. Cash also contributes to an attractive profile for investors and acquistions.

Conflict

As mentioned above, Atos’ board wants to retain the data and security department. According to Reuters’ sources, CEO Rodolphe Belmer strongly opposes the plan. Belmer would rather sell the department. The board and the CEO failed to find common ground. Belmer submitted his resignation at the same time as the reorganization’s announcement. The CEO will leave Atos on 30 September, less than a year after taking up the role in January 2022.

The news shocked investors. In the past 24 hours, Atos’ share price fell by nearly 25 percent. The company faces great uncertainty.