Veolia said Mr Frérot, who held the role since 2009, had expressed his wish to step down when his current term of office expires at the end of June, but he will remain as chairman.
Veolia’s directors said it was their “unanimous wish” that Mr Frérot remained chairman of their board, a move which they will formally propose to shareholders at the company’s General Meeting in June.
The board “warmly thanked” Mr Frérot for the 13 years he has devoted to the group’s general management and paid tribute to the “profound transformations” in the company’s organisation, operation, and culture.
Mr Frérot said he was “very pleased” that Mrs Brachlianoff would “be able to write a new page in the history of Veolia”.
“Estelle has been with Veolia for almost 20 years, and her exemplary career in France and abroad has shown that she has all the qualities required to lead our team and continue to support our group in its ambition for ecological transformation,” he said.
“By my side, she has taken part in the most structuring decisions for our group for the next twenty years.”
Mr Frérot oversaw one of the most significant events in Veolia’s recent history, as the waste management company agreed to acquire its rival Suez for a price of €20.50 (£17.71) per share (see letsrecycle.com story).
Born in 1972, Mrs Brachlianoff is an alumnus of the École Polytechnique and the École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, both of which are based in Paris.
She began her career in transportation infrastructure and worked with the Préfet – the French state’s representative – of the Ile-de-France region on transportation issues.
She joined Veolia in 2005 and became head of the industrial cleaning and facility management activities in 2007, before heading the waste activities in Ile-de-France from 2010 and in the UK from 2012.
Between 2012 and 2018, she was senior executive vice president UK & Ireland – the first woman to hold the role – and a member of Veolia’s executive committee (see letsrecycle.com story).
In July 2018, Ms Brachlianoff returned to her native France as Veolia’s chief operating officer member (see letsrecycle.com story). She was succeeded in the UK and executive vice president role by Gavin Graveson.
In a statement, Mrs Brachlianoff said she wanted Veolia to “accelerate the diversification of its talents” and “continue to innovate strongly for the planet”.
She said: “After four years of working with Antoine to meet exceptional challenges, I am particularly honoured to be entrusted with the management of Veolia as of next semester.
“The company is profoundly transformed, unified and more than ever ready to lead in each of its businesses.”