Ambroise Roux

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Person.png Ambroise Roux  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(businessman, deep politician)
Ambroise Roux.png
Ambroise Roux (left) with President Jacques Chirac.
Born26 June 1921
Piscop, Val-d'Oise, Île-de-France, France
Died4 April 1999 (Age 77)
Montfort-l'Amaury, Yvelines, Île-de-France, France
Alma materÉcole Polytechnique, École des ponts ParisTech, Supélec
Parents • André Roux
• Cécile Marcilhacy
Children • Christian Roux
• Véronique Roux
SpouseFrançoise Marion Roux
French business "Godfather', sexual blackmailer and political advisor. "No one is able today to pull all the strings like an Ambroise Roux. He held everything."

Ambroise Roux was an influential French patron (industrialist and businessman)[1], who from 1965 to 1982 led the General Electricity Company (CGE), one of the largest private French companies. He owned a villa where prominent politicians were secretly filmed during drug and sex orgies, noticeably the wife of future president Georges Pompidou, in what became known as the Markovic affair.

A big boss reminisced: "The establishment was Ambroise Roux and a cohort of bankers and big bosses. They were close links with politicians, calm and peaceful. Inconspicuous. They had liaisons with the administration, to dominate it, and, when it did not meet their wishes, these men addressed themselves to the political leaders. They also had an influence on the media and on all kinds of notables such as the presidents of chambers of commerce. Finally, we must add to this a little masonry, to obtain the ideal cocktail. No one is able today to pull all the strings like an Ambroise Roux. He held everything."[2]

Family origins

Ambroise Roux's father was André Roux (1886-1969). After a stint in the finance administration, he became the right arm of the textile industrialist Jean Prouvost[3], the short-lived Minister of Information in the government of Paul Reynaud in 1940. Prouvost's newspaper Paris Soir, which printed two million copies before the war, was confiscated by the state in 1945.

After the war, threatened with a lawsuit for collaboration for nearly three years, Jean Prouvost preferred to hide, notably in one of the houses of the parents of Ambroise Roux, in Poncelles[4], where Philippe Boegner helped rehabilitate him by proving that he "took an effective, active and sustained part in the Resistance against the occupier". In 1949 he created the magazine Paris-Match of which André Roux was the general secretary and then administrator. At his father's table, Ambroise Roux "meets the great names of the press of the 1930s and dreams of equaling them"[3].

His mother, Cécile Marcilhacy (1896-1991), was related to the founders of Rhône-Poulenc, a pharmaceutical company now known as Sanofi.


After graduating from the École Polytechnique[1] he went to the office of Jean-Marie Louvel, who was from 1951 to 1954 the Social Catholic Minister for Industry and who had a particular interest in Euratom and in the construction of the Common Market.

He was part of the network of Jean Jardin, who, after having been chief of staff to Pierre Laval under the Vichy regime, was one of the close advisers of Antoine Pinay during his presidency of the Council. On June 12, 1954, the fall of the Laniel government, which succeeded that of Pierre Mendès France, forced Jean-Marie Louvel and his chief of staff to leave their posts.[5]

He maintained his relations with Louvel and having established himself within the Compagnie Generale d'Electricite (CGE), he arranged for the former minister to become president of the group. When Louvel died, in 1970, Roux became president. It was as president of this powerful group, as vice-president of the Comite du Patronat Francais, and as the president of the Commission Economique Generale, that Roux became a close adviser to President Georges Pompidou.

He built many factories. He acquired many companies. He was a member of 57 boards of directors [1]. "He became the supreme example of the French system whereby a powerful president could not be controlled by boards or by shareholders. Nor did he ever think it necessary to consult with the trade unions."[6]

He suffered defeats. His friendly relationship with Pompidou was not paralleled by friendship with Giscard d'Estaing and, although his personal relations with Mitterrand were good, he could not escape the nationalisations that followed his election to the Presidency in 1981. He was obliged to resign from the Compagnie Generale d'Electricite when it became Alcatel.[6]

But he immediately launched his most famous idea. In 1982 he created the French Association of Private Enterprises (AFEP), the organisation which would protect the interests of private enterprise against the encroachments of the state. It was meant to take the place of the Comite du Patronat Francais which Roux thought was inept since it did not have strong political views. Bringing together in the Hotel Crillon some 24 presidents of the biggest business interests, what he called "l'establishment", he sought to give vigour to French capitalism.[6]

But once again contacts were important. He became a close friend of Edouard Balladur, who became Minister for Finance in the co-habitation government of 1986. And he became a regular visitor to the Elysee, since Mitterrand's socialism did not prevent him from taking a keen interest in the markets. Preaching a discretion that he did not always follow himself, Roux was able to discuss all aspects of economic affairs with governments. He believed that businesses were united because they had common interests and that where there were rivalries he could bring about reconciliations. In the matter of appointments to important posts, whether in business or in government, he was very powerful.[6]


Ambroise Roux stood out from the other bosses in many ways: very conservative in terms of morals, he forbade women from wearing trousers in his companies, [1]. At the CGE, he had an elevator and a cinema at his personal disposal, and he claimed to have the finest private address book in France. Each year, he took twelve weeks off, most often in the summer on the French Riviera or in Bretagne. Openly monarchist [1] and wishing the restoration of royalty in France, he took part in the annual commemorative mass for Louis XVI, the January the 21st. A follower of the occult sciences, he created a research laboratory in parapsychology (psychokinesis) at the CGE.


Event Participated in

Bilderberg/196731 March 19672 April 1967St John's College (Cambridge)
Possibly the only Bilderberg meeting held in a university college rather than a hotel (St. John's College, Cambridge)