Press release

Alain Dupont, Chairman and CEO of Colas from 1987 to 2007, passed away on July 7, 2019

An extraordinary manager who made Colas a world leader 

"Roads have a strong symbolic dimension: they are vectors of freedom, of exchange ... Without roads, there is no culture, no economy, no life ... Throughout my career, I was always aware of the symbolic force of roads, of the dreams they embody, and I always spoke of their positive impact to my teams.” These were Alain Dupont’s words in October 2007, while he was preparing to leave Colas as his successor Hervé Le Bouc paid tribute to "the one who personified Colas for nearly a quarter of a century with so much talent and success".

Born in 1940 and a graduate of the Ecole Spéciale des Travaux Publics Engineering School, Alain Dupont began his career as a project engineer at Screg. He then became President and CEO of Screg Ile-de-France in 1978. In 1983, Alain Dupont was appointed Deputy Managing Director of Colas and, in 1985, Chief Executive Officer, then in 1987, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He served until October 2007, when Hervé Le Bouc succeeded him.

Over a span of 24 years, Alain Dupont built a Group that became a world leader in the construction and maintenance of transport infrastructure.

During this time, Colas’ remarkable growth stemmed from the combination of actions and strategic choices that were particularly relevant. The core of Alain Dupont’s strategy was a strong external growth policy. In France, the Group acquired the Sacer and Screg road companies, and in the railway sector, Seco-Rail and Spie Rail. From this French cornerstone, the Group expanded internationally, with exceptional acceleration in North America. Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Colas moved into Central European countries. In 1995, Colas also became a major player in Northern Europe, acquiring the Colas companies that were still owned in part by Shell. Finally, at the turn of the 2000s, Colas developed a bitumen trading business in Asia, based on partnerships with local companies.

At the same time, Alain Dupont deployed an industrial strategy, at the heart of the Group's development, with the acquisition and reinforcement of a number of production sites (quarries, emulsion plants, asphalt plants, etc.). Priority was also given to innovation in Research and Development, particularly in safety, environmental preservation, and noise control, with the creation of the Campus for Science and Techniques, the world's premier research center dedicated to roads, which boosted the Group to the leading position in this area as well.

Throughout the continuous, steady progress of the Group during all these years, Alain Dupont remained constantly focused on the human dimension of the Group, with a voluntary and dynamic social policy, marked in particular by the priority given to safety, hiring to accompany growth, internal promotion, the creation of Colas universities, and special attention to the social protection of skilled workers. The quality and environment policy was constantly reinforced. Specific actions were rolled out for developing countries. Finally, in the early 1990s, Alain Dupont embarked on a cultural patronage endeavor through the Colas Foundation, dedicated to contemporary painting.

The action of Alain Dupont at the head of the Colas Group over 24 years was bolstered by his exceptional managerial skills. Alain Dupont was able to bring out, train and federate teams that relayed his vision in the field and made his strategy come to life.  

Alain Dupont was also dedicated to serving the industry as a whole, holding the positions of President, Vice-President and Board Member in a number of organizations, such as the FNTP (National Federation of Public Works), the USIRF (today called Routes de France), the CNETP (National Fund for Public Works Contractors in France and Overseas), SEFI (Syndicate of French International Entrepreneurs), IRF (International Road Federation). After leaving Colas, he also served as President of SMAvie BTP from 2008 to 2013.

"Alain Dupont left a profound mark on the Colas Group, thanks to his vision, action and personality. He was the driving force behind Colas’ remarkable growth, making the Group the world leader it is today.  Alain Dupont possessed unique intuition, curiosity and charisma, and was able to recognize talents, forming special bonds with each individual, a reflection of his attachment to the human dimension of the Group. On behalf of the 60,000 employees of the Group, and all those who were lucky enough to have crossed his path, I would like to send my most heartfelt sympathies to his wife and children," declared Hervé Le Bouc, Chairman of Colas.

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