Argos Soditic head to lead AFIC

The chief executive of Argos Soditic France, Louis Godron, has been appointed as chairman of the French private equity trade body, AFIC, following its annual general meeting last week.

L’Association Française des Investisseurs pour la Croissance, (the French association of investors for growth, also known as AFIC) has appointed a new chairman following a unanimous vote by its board of directors, the trade body said in a statement.

My term will be guided by the need to orient long-term savings toward fresh equity for companies and innovation and to expand the scope of our activity internationally

Louis Godron, AFIC

Louis Godron, chief executive of the French arm of buyout firm Argos Soditic, will serve a two year term in the post.

He has been a member of AFIC’s board of directors, as well as its treasurer, since June last year and has served as chairman of its buyout committee since June 2010. He joined Argos Soditic in 1991, becoming partner in 1993 and then managing director of the firm’s French arm in 1996.

AFIC has also expanded its board from 12 to 14 members, “In order to better represent the growing diversity of [French] private equity’s business lines at the level of its governing body”.

The two new additions to the board are Isabelle de Baillenx, chairman of seed investment group FA Dièse, and Michel Chabanel, chairman of Céréa Gestion and a specialist in mezzanine financing.

Godron assumes the chairmanship of AFIC at a pivotal time for French private equity. The country’s newly elected president, Francois Hollande, declared during his election campaign that “My true enemy… is the world of finance”. He also pledged to increase the top rate of income tax to 75 percent, which some in the private equity industry have warned could lead to an exodus of talent.

Godron set out his goals in a statement, writing: “Following up on the initiatives undertaken by my predecessors and building on the solid foundation laid by Hervé Schricke, my term will be guided by the need to orient long-term savings toward fresh equity for companies and innovation and to expand the scope of our activity internationally.

“In the meantime, we shall pursue our efforts to be recognized as socially responsible market participants. We will stick to these initiatives even as we find ourselves at the epicentre of one of the most severe economic and financial crises in modern times. We will implement these areas of focus with the support of our expanded team of directors, the association’s permanent staff and all of the contributing members to our specialised committees,” he concluded.