The hunt for the next government has begun. For the Secretariat of Digital Transition and Electronic Communications, whatever the future outline of the post, one thing is certain: Cédric O will not return. The current minister indicated a few weeks ago that he wanted to leave politics. His next adventure is not yet known.
His departure thus opens the way for bets on his successor whose arrival date may occur after the legislative elections (if the secretariat still depends on the Ministry of Economy and Finance). Various names regularly pop up behind the scenes.
Philippe Englebert, adviser to Emmanuel Macron
He knows all Next40/FT120 members and local venture capital funds. But not everyone knows Philippe Englebert, who is more of a man in the shadows. Since September 2020, this graduate of Sciences Po, Polytechnique and ESCP has been a business, financial services, attractiveness and export consultant to the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister.
Previously, he was a business and technology consultant in the office of Cédric O. This former investment banker also worked for a year and a half at the Directorate General of the Treasury. In particular, he collaborated with Philippe Tibi on a report dedicated to the financing of French technology companies. His various experiences led him to publish the book “Les Start-ups en France” in the summer of 2021, published by “Que sais-je? “. And to be very courted: according to La Lettre A, he was approached by Morgan Stanley, but did not follow up.
Your advantage: He is very knowledgeable about the files that pertain to French Tech and is generally very much appreciated by the ecosystem.
Rania Belkahia, entrepreneur and investor
La République en Marche entrusted him at the beginning of the year – with the deputy Eric Bothorel – with the task of assessing the needs of the French digital ecosystem in view of the presidential elections. Rania Belkahia has been immersed in the ecosystem for ten years. In 2013, she co-founded Afrimarket, an e-commerce platform operating in West Africa, which went bankrupt six years later. She later entered the world of venture capital by joining EQT Ventures, a subsidiary of the Swedish management firm EQT Partners. This engineer by training is on the board of directors of French insurtech Luko.
Your advantage: her dual role as an investor and founder of start-ups, as well as her French and international network.
Eric Bothorel, the specialist deputy
Along with Rania Belkahia, he is the other member of Emmanuel Macron’s digital campaign task force. To the question “are you interested in the position of Secretary of State?” “, he replies, “who wouldn’t be? This Breton born in Paimpol has been a deputy for the fifth constituency of Côtes-d’Armor since May 2017. He specializes in digital issues and has produced several reports on issues in the sector: mobile and digital coverage of the territory, the future of European cybersecurity, taxation digital…
He is one of the few French parliamentarians, along with Pierre Person, Jean-Michel Mis and Laure de La Raudière (now president of Arcep), to support the blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem. This Twitter follower was elected to the general council of Côtes-d’Armor from 2011 to 2015. Prior to his political career, Eric Bothorel graduated from IT distributor Infopoint (acquired by Econocom) and GE Capital.
Your advantage: he knows all the political gears and has strong territorial roots.
Alexander Zapolsky, the defender of sovereignty
As soon as he left school in May 2000, Alexandre Zapolsky founded Linagora, a publisher of open source software (secure file sharing, calendaring, video conferencing, office automation, etc.) of which he is still president and largest shareholder. Some of his tools are used by the main French administrations. This Toulon native also created the SS2L Association, which became FNILL (National Federation of Free Software Industry) and founded, with more than 15 African professional federations, the Alliance for Digital Development, with the aim of organizing and developing the world african digital. .
Alexandre Zapolsky has been a member of En Marche since 1er day. “I support the President of the Republic and his action. I totally assume that (so don’t argue with me about it!). I am proud to say that we have been friends for over fifteen years,” he wrote in his LinkedIn bio.
Your advantage: its perfect mastery of the free software world and, therefore, its defense of digital sovereignty, a very political matter.
Henri Verdier, the digital ambassador
Henri Verdier is a well-known figure in the digital world. Since November 2018, he has been an ambassador for digital affairs. A position that consists of representing France in international institutions on all topics related to digital (cyber security, freedom of expression, network governance, etc.). This Ecole Normale Supérieure graduate was previously at the head of the Interministerial Directorate of Digital and the State Information and Communication System (Dinsic).
He was also general data administrator whose role is to supervise and improve the use of data by the administration and its operators. From 2013 to 2015, Henri Verdier led the Etalab mission, which notably coordinates the policy of opening up and sharing public data. His entire career was not done in public. For example, he was responsible for innovation with the director of business development at Lagardère and managing director at Odile Jacob Multimedia.
Your advantage: his expertise in technical matters and his diplomatic cap.
Frédéric Mazzella, the iconic boss of French Tech
He is one of the best known personalities in French technology, if not the best known. Frédéric Mazzella is the founding president of BlaBlaCar. Since the end of 2018, he has also been co-president of the France Digitale association, which brings together more than 1,800 French technology entrepreneurs and investors. He has also invested in many start-ups in recent years, such as Le Slip Français, Zenpark, Onoff (telecommunications) and La Vie (alternative proteins).
He is also a member of the board of directors of Polytechnique and Renault. Among his many hats, he lacks the one for politics. “I want to get back to entrepreneurship, but I deal with one issue at a time, stay tuned! confided to “Echos” on the occasion of the launch of his book “Mission BlaBlaCar: backstage of the creation of a phenomenon”. A book that obviously looks back on BlaBlaCar’s success, but ends up being above all a guide for budding entrepreneurs, with winning advice and methods from other start-ups.
Your advantage: its notoriety and its involvement in France Digitale. But if he maintains the position, he will have to back down on certain issues.