Henri Lafond

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Person.png Henri Lafond  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Henri lafond.png
Born20 August, 1894
Died6 march, 1963 (Age 68)
Cause of death
Alma materÉcole Polytechnique, École nationale supérieure des mines
Victim ofpremature death
French banker assassinated in 1963

Henri Lafond was a French banker and businessman. Leader of the French big business association, the Patronat, he was assassinated in 1963, presumably by the OAS.

Early Life

Coming from a modest background, he graduated from Polytechnique in 1914. Mobilized during the First World War, he was decorated with the Croix de guerre. After the war, he studied at the École nationale supérieure des mines, where he was second out of 145 students.

World War II (1939–45)

During World War II Lafond was close to men considered to be members of the Synarchy.[1] René Belin was made Minister of Industrial Production in July 1940 in Marshal Philippe Pétain's government.[2] He appointed Jean Bichelonne and Henri Lafond to the two senior positions in the ministry.[3] On 12 August 1940 Petain called for the various social committees to merge into "families" in an effort to reduce overhead.[4] Lafond proposed to merged the 11 iron and steel committees into a metallurgy family headed by Jules Aubrun. Aubrun accepted this in principle in November 1941, but wanted fewer committees in the family. In the end, no progress was made.

In the government of Pierre Laval formed on 18 April 1942 the Ministry of Industry was headed by Jean Bichelonne with Henri Lafond as general secretary for energy and René Norguet (1888–1968) as general secretary for industrial production. Lafond's Energy secretariat included sections for mines, steel, gas/electricity and fuel.[5] Lafond was finally dismissed in November 1942.[6] This seems to have been engineered by Laval due to his personal dislike.[7]

After leaving the government Lafond was appointed president and CEO of the Association minière and joined the Mirabaud Group, long-time partner of the Banque de l'Union Parisienne (BUP).[8] From 1943 he was president of the Mines du Huaron and on the board of Tréfileries et Laminoirs du Havre. He joined the executive committee of the BUP in January 1944.

Post World War II (1945–63)

In the post-war period Lafond maintained contact with the people with whom he had worked during the war, and the "Lafond Group" met for monthly lunches for the rest of his life.

The members of the group, almost all engineers, represented oil, power, mining, steel and industrial chemistry.[9] Lafond worked with Pierre Ricard and Henri Davezac to form the Conseil national du patronat français (CNPF), representing French employers, with Georges Villiers as the first president.[10]

Because he had left the Vichy regime soon enough, he was able to play a leading role in the CNPF, although he remained a believer in most of the Vichy regime's Comités d'Organization principles.[11]

He was a "modernist", and thought employees were entitled to certain rights, which should be regulated by law.[12] From 1947 to 1954 he was a member of the CNPF Economic and Social Council, representing a group of private industrial companies.[13]

Lafond had many contacts among the senior administrators of France and the leaders of major companies. His voice was heard by General Charles de Gaulle. Lafond sat on the Comité Franc-Dollar and the École polytechnique development council.

In April 1951 Lafond was tentatively appointed to the new Commissariat à l'énergie atomique (Atomic Energy Committee). This appointment was strongly opposed by Francis Perrin, expected to be the High Commissioner, based on Lafond's background in the Vichy regime and his many private interests. Perrin blocked the appointment by threatening to resign.[14]

Lafond was chairman and chief executive officer of the Société du Djebel-Djérissa from 1945 to 1962. He was a director of the Banque de l'Union Parisienne, the Société des Phosphates de Gafsa, the Société de l'Ouenza, the Société française des pétroles, the Société commerciale d'affrètements et de combustibles, Chantiers et Ateliers de Saint-Nazaire from 1947, Pechiney from 1948 and Électricité de France from 1949.

Lafond became vice-president of the BUP in 1948, and became CEO of the BUP in 1951. In 1953, in great secrecy, he arranged the merger of the BUP with the Mirabaud Bank. Mirabaud's portfolio included large investments in the mining and oil sectors. The bank controlled the Société Mokta El Hadid. Lafond headed the Mokta company until his death in 1963. Lafond was also head of the Société Anonyme Chérifienne d'Etudes Minières (SACEM). In 1962 he joined the board of Tréfimétaux, formed by a merger of the Tréfileries et Laminoirs du Havre and the Compagnie française des métaux.

Henri Lafond became a knight of the Legion of Honour on 28 January 1939.

He was appointed an Officer of the Legion of Honour of 5 September 1949, and Commander of the Legion of Honour on 18 June 1959.

The assassination

Lafond was close to the circles of traditionalist Catholic employers, who were favorable to the elimination of General de Gaulle, and he would probably have financed the OAS in its beginnings. His bank had as a subsidiary the Algerian Credit and Bank Company, with which it merged in 1960. At the BUP, he had had as a close collaborator Pierre de Gaulle, the brother of the president, and had earlier helped him escape disastrous cases[citation needed], of which he would have preserved the evidence.

According to this theory, the OAS would have liked Lafond to use these documents to obtain de Gaulle's pardon for its leader Bastien-Thiry[15], which he had refused to do.

On March 6, 1963, the day after Bastien-Thiry was sentenced to death, Lafond was assassinated near his home in Paris, shot three times with a pistol. The assassin is presumed to be Jean de Brem, who shouts before firing: "from Bastien-Thiry".

On April 18, 1963 in Paris, de Brem was shot dead by the police while he was trying to steal a car to leave Paris.[16]

The killer apparently was an OAS member, and killed him since allegedly since he refused to support the OAS with the companies in his group.

At the time of his death, Henri Lafond owned 0.26% of the capital of the BUP.


  1. Scheinman, Lawrence (2015-12-08), Atomic Energy Policy in France Under the Fourth Republic page 140
  2. Ehrmann, Henry Walter (2015-12-08), Organized Business in France, Princeton University Press, page 140
  3. Nord, Philip (2012-08-26), France's New Deal: From the Thirties to the Postwar Era, Princeton University Press, [age 91
  4. Brunet, Luc-André (2017-06-08), Forging Europe: Industrial Organisation in France, 1940–1952, apge 86
  5. http://www.annales.org/archives/x/henrilafond.html
  6. http://www.annales.org/archives/x/henrilafond.html
  7. https://books.google.com/books?id=nD3WCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA140 page 140
  8. Bonin, Hubert (2001), La Banque de l'Union parisienne (1874/1904 – 1974)
  9. http://www.annales.org/archives/x/henrilafond.html
  10. http://www.annales.org/archives/x/henrilafond.html
  11. https://books.google.com/books?id=nD3WCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA140
  12. https://books.google.com/books?id=0KjgNhJ3SK0C&pg=PA97
  13. http://www.annales.org/archives/x/henrilafond.html
  14. https://books.google.com/books?id=ORzWCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA54
  15. P. Demaret, Christian Plume, « L'assassinat du banquier Lafond, à Neuilly, en 1962 », Historama n° 293, April 1976.
  16. Pierre Démaret et Christian Plume, Objectif de Gaulle, Robert Laffont, 1973, p. 309.