Henri de Castries
Chairman of the Group Management Board & CEO
Henri de Castries was born 15 August 1954 in Bayonne (France).
After graduating from high school in Paris, Henri de Castries went on to complete his business studies at HEC. He also obtained a law degree as he prepared for ENA, France’s university for senior civil servants.
After graduating from ENA, he began his career with the French Finance Ministry Inspection Office auditing various government agencies (1980-1984). In 1984, he joined the French Treasury where he became Deputy Secretary of the CIRI (Inter-ministerial Committee on Industrial Restructuring) and for two years, was in charge of monitoring financially troubled companies.
In 1986, he was actively involved in a number of privatisation operations and in particular, for TF1, the French national television network. He was also responsible for supervising the foreign exchange markets and the balance of payments for the French Treasury.
In 1989, after spending 9 years in the Tax Administration and the Treasury, he decided to leave the public sector and enter the corporate world where he could undertake the challenge of dealing in global and competitive markets.
After meeting Claude Bébéar, he joined AXA on 1 September 1989. He participated in a series of training programmes in the field covering a number of insurance areas, including claims and inspection before joining the Group corporate finance division.
He was appointed Corporate Secretary in 1991 and then headed the team responsible for dealing with the legal issues related to the reorganisation and merger of Compagnie du Midi into the AXA Group.
In 1993, he became Senior Executive Vice President of AXA. He took over the responsibility for asset management and the Group’s financial and real estate companies. In 1994, he took on the additional responsibility of overseeing operations for North America and the U.K.
In 1996, he actively participated in the preparation for the merger with UAP and in the subsequent integration of these two groups. In 1997, he organised the merger of Sun Life with AXA Equity & Law in Great Britain and at the end of that year, he launched the operation to reorganise Royale Belge. He also had oversight responsibilities for Germany. This was also the year he became chairman of The Equitable Companies in the United States.
In 1999, he led the negotiations resulting in the acquisition of Guardian Royal Exchange.
Since May 2000 he has been President of the Management Board.
Over the last 10 years, Henri de Castries has developed a deep knowledge of AXA’s different business activities. He has participated actively in the development and implementation of the Group's strategy on a global basis.
Henri de Castries is a also member of the board of an association dedicated to helping disabled youth (Association pour l’Aide aux Jeunes Infirmes). He is Chairman of AXA Heart in Action, AXA’s association founded to support employee involvement in community service. In November 1996, Henri de Castries was awarded the medal of 'Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite'. In 2001, he was awarded 'Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur'.
Henri de Castries is married and has three children.