A senior executive at LafargeHolcim Ltd. received around $ 18,000 a month for doing nothing failed in his lawsuit to force the cement manufacturer to fire him with a payout of more than $ 2 million. The timing was his downfall.
As his employer Lafarge SA in 2015 as part of his merger with Holcim Ltd. Announcing a recruitment program, Antoine Zenone hoped he could get a golden handshake. But the company told him he was ineligible and the French judges said "no" three times in a row.
The Paris Court of Appeals ruled that Zenone could not benefit from the plan because it had already approved an expatriate position in Singapore. This overruled his French employment contract and excluded him from takeover offers to Lafarge's domestic workers.
Zenone was looking for around € 2.1 million ($ 2.3 million) and had recently paid € 16,195 gross per month from Lafarge without having to do any work, the decision last week.
The two largest cement manufacturers in the world merged in 2015 to cut costs and increase value as the demand for building materials declined. However, LafargeHolcim shares declined in the following years due to a loss of confidence among investors and a scandal surrounding operations in war-torn Syria.
chief Executive Officer
When Zenone returned from his post as Chief Executive Officer of Lafarge's Singapore office two years ago, Lafarge offered him a position as a project manager, but he did not take on the role. In his LinkedIn profile, he states that he started a new job at a plastic pipe manufacturer last month.
LafargeHolcim said in a statement that there are no comments on personnel matters. Zenone did not respond to requests for comment on the lawsuit.
As part of the collaboration, Lafarge informed staff representatives in May 2015 that around 380 jobs would be cut worldwide, partly through a voluntary program.
Just two days earlier, he had written an email quoted in the trial that he agreed to take the Singapore position. "I'm looking forward to starting," he said.
If he had answered two days later, Zenone might have been considered for a buyout.
Zenone later complained that he was misled into accepting the expat job in Singapore and asked to sign a French contract again.
In mid-2016, he informed Lafarge that he only agreed to the posting because he believed that this would ultimately mean becoming country CEO for the activities of both cement manufacturers in the Southeast Asian state.
This argument, which did not affect LafargeHolcim, was also unable to convince the Paris Court of Appeal.
"He cannot say that his job has been made impossible since he held his post for almost three years," said the judges. The court added that there is no evidence that Lafarge is responsible for the failure to complete the merger of the two companies in Singapore.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)