While France is on fire following the pension reform, the friendly relations between the Minister of Economy and Christian Schmidt de La Brélie, director of the Klesia provident fund, give rise to questions.
With his dimple that eats up most of his chin, his salt-and-pepper hair and his rimmed glasses, Christian Schmidt de la Brélie looks like an American B actor. His smooth voice with aristocratic inflections would put him more on the side of the good guys. This may be a bit of a leap. The man’s ego is as big as the signet ring on his left ring finger: huge. In the offices of Klesia, the provident fund that he manages with an iron fist in a velvet glove, the employees give him a lot of credit. But as soon as his back is turned, they call him “Nonoeil” because of his eyelid which tends to get out of hand. Bruno Le Maire, the Minister of the Economy, has the eyes of Chimera for this great clerk of the State, elected insurer of the year in 2013.
In private, they are even buddies like pigs, even exchanging jokes that are not always very subtle. Bruno Le Maire met Christian Schmidt de la Brélie through the entrepreneur Bruno Lanxade, theorist of the employee dividend, dear to Emmanuel Macron.
The fact remains that this friendship does not fail to intrigue. It also worries. At the highest level of the State, one begins to worry about a curious mix of styles. Vives, the feminist collective created by Sibylle Le Maire, the wife of the Minister of the Economy, is financed by Klesia, while Tanguy Le Maire, Bruno’s own brother, has been working for fifteen years at Generali, one of Klesia’s main partners.
Worse still, for several months Christian Schmidt’s governance methods have been irritating internally. In addition to his close ties with certain bosses of employers’ organizations and trade unions, other aspects of his management have been singled out for criticism, such as the case of Colonna. Colonna is the current health and welfare administrator for the Hotels-Cafes-Restaurants branch. In an abrupt manner, to say the least, Colonna was ousted in favor of Vivinter.
The problem is that this change will lead to an exponential increase in contributions for employees who have already suffered from the Covid period and galloping inflation in France. This decision could also threaten the 150 jobs in Romorantin in the Loir-et-Cher region, where Colonna’s management site is located. A manager from the world of collective social protection, who wishes to remain anonymous, is not sparing any words: “It’s a real ‘Wild West’. It is not normal that there is such collusion between certain provident institutions and certain trade unions. These secret agreements totally trample on the fundamentals of their sacrosanct mandates. In this case, these organizations are there to guarantee social peace and the well-being of the employees and do not have to indulge in backroom maneuvers to share their little privileges. This affair, which is gaining momentum, could well be a pebble in the shoe of Bruno Le Maire and his friend Christian Schmidt de la Brélie. This would be a shame at a time when Bruno Le Maire is dreaming of becoming Prime Minister by replacing Elisabeth Borne, exhausted by the sequence of the pension reform that has put France on fire.