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Francis Bouygues Biography

Founder (in 1952) and Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Bouygues until 1989
Founder (in 1990) and Chairman & CEO of Ciby 2000 until 1993 



Francis Bouygues was born on 5 December in Paris.



He graduated from the engineering college Ecole Centrale (Paris) like his father, married Monique Tézé and had four children: Corinne (1947), Nicolas (1949), Olivier (1950), Martin (1952).



At the age of 29, he started his own company, Entreprise Francis Bouygues, specialized in industrial works and building in the Paris area. He set up design and methods departments and applied industrialized principles.



His company moved into the property development segment with the creation of Stim.



A subsidiary was established, specializing in industrial precasting and the development of special concrete treatment processes (EPI).



  • The “Ordre des Compagnons du Minorange” was created to promote an elite corps among site workers.
  • The launch of the Group’s in-house magazine “Le Minorange” .
  • The construction of the BP headquarters in La Défense (just outside Paris).



  • The civil engineering and civil works activities expanded .
  • Regional construction subsidiaries were founded and eventually covered all of France.
  • Bouygues sales: 113 million francs.



France’s first large-scale shopping center, Parly II, was built in Le Chesnay, not far from Paris.



  • Bouygues moved to new premises in Clamart.
  • Construction of Créteil Hospital (1,350 beds), the largest teaching hospital in the greater Paris area.



An Information Systems department was set up.



The Bouygues share was listed on the Paris stock exchange.



3,700 housing units in Grigny la Grande Borne (Paris region) were delivered.


1972 (990 billion francs)

  • The rounded Bouygues logo was introduced. This visual identifier retained the “Minorange” color adopted in the company’s early days. The name “Bouygues” took the place of “Entreprise Francis Bouygues”.
  • The first international operations were launched (major projects in the Middle East).
  • The Tehran Olympic complex was built (its design featured the first prestressed concrete triangular truss), as well as the Parc des Princes Stadium and the Palais des Congrès convention center, both in Paris.
  • A R & D department was created.


1974 (1,8 billion francs)

  • Bouygues Offshore, specialized in oil-related works (the construction and installation of offshore platforms), was founded .
  • The Fiat Tower (then the highest building in La Défense, just outside Paris), the Antifer/lLe Havre oil terminal (Europe’s largest) and the Bugey nuclear power plant (4 X 900 MW) were constructed.



Foreign subsidiaries were set up (in Africa)



  • The Bouygues tunnel-boring machine, with its unique tunnelling technique, was developed
  • Francis Bouygues, having contracted cancer, had one lung removed and withdrew from the company for fourteen months.



  • Launch of the “Maison Bouygues” catalog home brand by Martin Bouygues (which would be sold in 1990)
  • Terminal 2 at Paris Charles-de-Gaulle Airport was built in 24 months.



  • Elf Aquitaine took a 34% stake in Bouygues Offshore.
  • A contract was signed for the construction of the University of Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), after 40 months of negotiation.


1982 (12,4 billion francs)

  • The Noisy le Grand theater complex (with 130 social housing units), the IBM Europe headquarters in La Défense and the Damascus water supply system tunnel (Syria) were delivered
  • Francis Bouygues was elected “Manager of the Year” by Le Nouvel Economiste.


Martin Bouygues was appointed to the Bouygues Board of Directors.

1983 (18 billion francs)

  • The Bubiyan Bridge in Kuwait was handed over, as well as the Inset University in Yamoussoukro (Côte d’Ivoire), following that of ENSTP in 1980.
  • A step ahead of its profession, Bouygues granted an additional month’s salary to all site personnel.


1984 (25 billion francs)

  • On the international market, several projects were delivered: University of Riyadh (turnkey completion after 40 months of works), Dar-es-Salaam International Airport in Tanzania, El Oued Hospital (240 beds) in Algeria and three hospitals (3 X 175 beds) in Saudi Arabia.
  • In France: the Halles complex in Paris and the Elf Tower (207 m high) in La Défense were handed over and the Hôtel de Gunzbourg (a historic monument in Paris) was renovated.
  • The Chooz nuclear power plant (2 X 1450 W) was built .
  • The Group pursued its diversification with the acquisition of Saur, France’s third-ranking water company as well as ETDE (electrical contractor) .
  • The assets of Groupe Amrep-UIE (offshore) were taken over, and Société Nouvelle Technigaz, specialized in liquefied gas transport and storage was founded.
  • Olivier Bouygues joined the Bouygues Board of Directors .
  • The first 3-D CAD program was developed for the construction sector.



  • An identical copy of the “Marly horses” sculpture was made to replace the originals on Place de la Concorde.
  • The Great Arch construction project got underway in La Défense.
  • The Saint-Alban nuclear power plant (2 X 1 300 MW) was delivered. Involvement in the largest development schemes in the Paris area: the new town of Saint-Quentin en Yvelines (150,000 m2) and the Citroën scheme (100,000 m2).
  • The first national convention of Bouygues Quality Circles was held.


1986 (40,6 billion francs)

  • Bouygues undertook work on its new head office in Saint-Quentin en Yvelines.
  • After 30 months of works, the Musée d’Orsay project (Paris) was delivered, as well as 4,000 housing units in Médéa (Algeria), and the Niamey Market (Niger).
  • A Franco-British consortium was formed to design, build and operate a fixed link across the English Channel.
  • ouygues acquired the Screg Group, France’s no.1 roadworks company, comprising Colas, Screg Routes and Sacer as well as Dragages and Smac Aciéroïd (waterproofing), thereby becoming the world construction leader.
  • Nicolas Bouygues, an engineer graduated from Ecole Centrale de Paris, who had directed the University of Riyadh project, left the Group to create his own company.


1987 (46,6 billion francs)

  • Notable deliveries included: Pau Hospital (490 beds), the Séminaris Hotel (Cairo), the Pyeong Taek methane terminal (four tanks each with a capacity of 100,000 m2) in South Korea and the Lagos thermal power plant (6 X 220 W) in Nigeria, one of Africa’s most powerful power plants.
  • Bouygues became main shareholder (25%) and operator of TF1, France’s leading television channel.
  • The “Ordre des Compagnons du Minorange” celebrated its 25th anniversary.
  • Martin Bouygues was appointed Vice Chairman of Bouygues


1988 (50 billion francs)

  • The company moved into its new head office, Challenger, in Saint-Quentin en Yvelines (Paris region).
  • The 2.6-km Ré Island Bridge was completed a month early even though the completion time had already been shortened from 27 to 20 months) and the European Parliament in Strasbourg was delivered.
  • The two Pacific Place towers (56 and 61 storeys) were built.
  • Martin Bouygues was appointed Managing Director of Bouygues.


1989 (57 billion francs) 

  • The ENSA University in Yamoussoukro and the Yopougon Hospital (508 beds) in Côte-d’Ivoire as well as the Rosales Hospital (315 beds) in El Salvador were delivered.
  • The Kwun Tong viaduct (Hong Kong), Sant Jordi Palace in Barcelona (Spain), Agadir Airport (Morocco) and Sylans viaduct (France) were handed over. The Iris medical hotel in Moscow was built following the creation of the first building and civil works joint venture in the USSR.
  • The Great Arch was delivered and the structural works for the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca were completed.
  • On September 5, 1989, Martin Bouygues was appointed Chairman and CEO of Bouygues. Francis Bouygues continued to sit on the Board of Directors. The Group, with a workforce of 60,000, was established in 64 countries



At 68, Francis Bouygues embarked upon a new career – feature film production – when he started Ciby 2000.



In its first year, it released four films: “La reine blanche” by J-L Hubert (one million tickets sold), “Une époque formidable” by G.Jugnot (at 1.7 million tickets, it figured as 1991′s top French film release), “Ma vie est un enfer” by J. Balasko (1.3 million) and “High Heels” by P. Almodovar (winner of the 1993 César Trophy for the best foreign film; 6 million tickets sold in Europe).



Agreements were signed with international film directors. Two films produced by Ciby 2000 were selected as official contenders at the Cannes Film Festival: “Twin Peaks” by David Lynch and “Luna Park” by Pavel Lounguine.



  • “The Piano” by Jane Campion, the eighth film produced by Francis Bouygues, won the “Palme d’Or” and the Best Actress awards at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival (followed by three Oscars in 1994).
  • Francis Bouygues died on July 24, 1993. The Bouygues Group pursued its development under Martin Bouygues, Chairman and CEO of Bouygues.

(Updated: April 2012)