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Atos SE
Societas Europaea
Traded as EuronextATO
Industry IT services, IT consulting
Founded 1988
Headquarters Bezons, France
Area served
Key people
Thierry Breton
(Chairman & CEO)
Services Information Technology (Consulting, Systems Integration, Managed Services), business consulting, outsourcing (such as healthcare)
Revenue Increase010 billion (2012)[1]
Increase0381 million (2012)[1]
Increase0224 million (2012)[1]
Total assets Increase07.447 billion (2012)[1]
Total equity Increase02.379 billion (2012)[1]
Number of employees

Atos SE[3] is a European IT services corporation headquartered in Bezons, France, that provides consulting & managed services and systems integration, hi-tech transactional services, cloud and cybersecurity services.[4][5] Atos operates under the brands Atos, Atos Consulting & Technology Services, Worldline, Atos Worldgrid and Atos Healthcare.

From 2012 - 2015, Atos Healthcare was part of a serious controversy in the UK over Work Capability Assessment introduced in 2008 to determine who should receive employment and support allowance. Decisions were taken by officials at the DWP using evidence from the assessments carried out by Atos Healthcare.[6] In August 2015, statistics from the Department of Work and Pensions revealed that 2,380 people had died between 2011 - 2014 soon after being found fit for work through disability benefit assessments.[7] In September 2015, in a groundbreaking ruling, the coroner summing up the suicide of a claimant who had been assessed by Atos said the Atos healthcare professional had failed to take into account the views of any of Mr A’s doctors during a 90-minute assessment, telling him the DWP decision-maker would look at that evidence instead.[8] The DWP negotiated an early exit from the existing WCA contract with Atos in 2014 "after raising concerns about the quality of its work".[9][10]


A diagram of the history of Atos acquisitions

The company was formed in 1997 through a merger of two French IT companies; and combined with the Dutch-based company Origin B.V. in 2000 to become Atos Origin.[11] It subsequently acquired KPMG Consulting in 2002 and SchlumbergerSema in 2004.

In 2010 Atos Origin announced the buyout of Siemens IT Solutions and Services and finalized the acquisition in July 2011. Afterwards, the company name reverted to Atos.[12][13]

Logo of Atos Origin used prior to July 2011

In 1996, Origin B.V. was created after a merger of the Dutch company BSO and the Philips C&P (Communications & Processing) division, while a year later in 1997, Atos was created following a merger of the French companies Axime and Sligos.[14] In 2001, Atos Origin sold its Nordic operations to WM-data. In 2002, it made a major acquisition by buying KPMG Consulting in the United Kingdom and in the Netherlands. Then in 2004, it acquired SchlumbergerSema, the IT service division of Schlumberger and took over the infrastructure division of ITELLIUM, a subsidiary of KarstadtQuelle.[15]

At the same time (2004), the company created a new subsidiary, Atos Worldline, and the renaming of its consulting activities as Atos Consulting. Also in 2004, Atos Origin Australia, originating from Philips, was sold to Fujitsu. In 2005, Atos Origin sold its activities in the Nordic region, which had become part of the company with the acquisition of Sema Group, to WM-data while in 2006, Atos Origin sold its operations in the Middle East to local management.[16]

In October 2007, Philippe Germond replaced longtime CEO Bernard Bourigeaud. Two shareholders, the hedge funds Centaurus Capital and Pardus Capital, tried to gain control over the company via the supervisory board.[17] In November 2008, the boardroom battle came to an end when Thierry Breton replaced Philippe Germond as chairman and CEO.[17]

In August 2010 Atos Origin acquired Indian payment company Venture Infotek. In December 2010 Atos Origin agreed to acquire the IT Solutions and Services subsidiary of Siemens for €850 million.[18] As part of the transaction, Siemens agreed to take a 15% stake in the enlarged Atos, to be held for a minimum of five years.[18]

The company dropped the "Origin" suffix of its name in July 2011 after completing its acquisition of the Siemens unit.[19]

In June 2012 the CEO of the UK Border Agency revealed that Atos was responsible for major disruptions in the Agency's IT systems over the prior months.[20]

In November 2011 Atos and software services provider Ufida International Holdings formed the joint venture Yunano. The two companies invested EUR 5.7million. Atos has 70 percent and UFIDA has 30 percent. The joint venture has its HQ in Bezons, France, a suburb of Paris.[21] In 2012 Atos announced the creation of a new company called Canopy.[22] The CEO is Jacques Pommeraud.[23] In 2011 Atos introduced a Zero Email initiative,[24] banning email as a form of internal communications, except for use with customers and prospects.[25] As part of the intitiative, Atos acquired the French software company blueKiwi in early 2012, rolling out their ZEN social networking software across its organisation.[26]

In August, 2014 Atos announced that it had acquired a controlling stake in Bull SA through a tender offer launched in May.[27] Atos announced plans in October, 2014 to buy out or squeeze out the remaining share and bondholders of Bull.[28]

On December 19, 2014, Atos announced the acquisition of Xerox's IT Outsourcing business for US$1.05 billion, tripling the size of the North American business.[29] The unit generated US$376 million in Q3 2014, contains 9,800 employees and operates in 45 countries.[29] The transaction closed on June 30, 2015.[30]

UK services

According to a National Audit Office report on the government's four biggest suppliers, Atos earned £700 million in revenue from the public sector in the UK in 2012; of £7.2bn sales worldwide.[31] Atos has been dogged by allegations of bad practice in recent years yet has continued to win massive contracts from the UK government. Atos holds £3bn worth of UK government contracts providing services to a wide range of organizations including:

  • A £300m (Atos Origin Alliance (AOA)) contract with NHS Scotland in November 2006. AOA (formally including BT) with Atos and Sopra is a 9-year deal with an option to extend for 3 years to an 11-year contract. Services delivered are directly to NHS National Services Scotland (NSS), a non-departmental public body (similar to Atos' EIS contract of non-departmental public bodies made up from SDS/SE/HIE and SCCRC) other that works to support Scotland’s health and frontline patient care by delivering essential national and regional services to NHSScotland, negotiated the national IT services contract with the Atos Origin Alliance.
  • A £100m contract with the Home Office (a six-year deal ending in 2016)[32]
  • A £70 million contract with the Welsh Government to provide Information and Communications Technology (ICT) services[33]
  • A £25m contract with the Ministry of Defence to provide defence communications services[34]
  • A 5-year £75 million deal with the National Health Service to provide an integrated IT desktop service
  • A £140 million deal for IT provision at the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
  • A multimillion outsourcing contract to NS&I to deliver customer-facing and back office services to NS&I’s 25 million customers.[35] The final decision on awarding the contract lay with NS&I’s Minister, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Sajid Javid MP. Given the size of the contract the Cabinet Office was also involved throughout the tender process and has given full approval to the decision.[35]

In addition, Atos provides occupational healthcare at more than 150 centres in the UK.[36]

In late 2008, Atos Origin was one subject of a government enquiry after a memory stick with passwords and user names for a government computer system was found in the car park of a public house.[37]

In 2012, Atos, who operate the IT system for the Home Office, was responsible for the "great computer freeze" of the UK Border Agency which left hundreds of people queuing at the UK Border Agency offices in Croydon when the system broke down and caused chaos at Heathrow Airport.[38]

BBC Technology

In 2004, the BBC contracted out its former BBC Technology division to the German engineering and electronics company Siemens IT Solutions and Services (SIS), outsourcing its IT, telephony and broadcast technology systems.[39] When Atos Origin acquired the SIS division from Siemens in December 2010 for €850 million (£720m),[13] the BBC support contract also passed to Atos, and in July 2011, the BBC announced to staff that its technology support would become an Atos service.[40] Siemens staff working on the BBC contract were transferred to Atos and BBC technology systems (including the BBC website) are now managed by Atos. In 2011 the BBC's Chief Financial Officer Zarin Patel stated to the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee that, following criticism of the BBC's management of major IT projects with Siemens (such as the Digital Media Initiative), the BBC partnership with Atos would be instrumental in achieving cost savings of around £64 million as part of the BBC's "Delivering Quality First" programme.[41] In 2012, the BBC's Chief Technology Officer, John Linwood, expressed confidence in service improvements to the BBC's technology provision brought about by Atos. He also stated that supplier accountability had been strengthened following some high-profile technology failures which had taken place during the partnership with Siemens.[42] In February 2014 the BBC announced the intention to extend its contract with Atos for a further two years as part of transitioning to new supply arrangements involving multiple suppliers. The Atos contract is now expected to run until 2017 instead of 2015 as planned at present.[43]

Manchester "get me there" Scheme

In 2012, Atos won a seven-year contract to implement Manchester’s get me there scheme to introduce and manage a planned electronic smart ticketing scheme on behalf of Transport for Greater Manchester, the region’s public transport agency. Although the brief was different, the scheme was often compared to London's Oyster Card,[44] the most high-profile smart ticket system in the UK. The company had said the cards would be available to use on trams by 2014, before being further rolled out to cover buses and trains in the region.[45] Atos found this project difficult to execute and manage and had to face a €-10 million loss related to the Transport for Greater Manchester project.[46] In August 2015 this contract was terminated by TfGM, who were seeking to continue the system with a different supplier.[47]

Atos Healthcare

In the United Kingdom, from 1998 - 2015 Atos Healthcare was at the centre of a controversy over the management of contracts by their healthcare division of the Work Capability Assessment for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).[48] In August 2015, statistics from the Department of Work and Pensions revealed that 2,380 people had died between 2011 - 2014 soon after being found fit for work through disability benefit assessments.[49] In 2014, "the DWP negotiated an early exit from the existing WCA contract with the private firm, Atos, after raising concerns about the quality of its work".[50][51]

The involvement of Atos in government benefit contracts dates back to 1998. A good deal of the criticism from claimants was directed at the way Atos staff dealt with them personally, on a human level.[52] The Welfare Reform Act 2007 introduced Work Capability Assessments (WCAs) to determine who should receive Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Decisions were taken by officials at the DWP using evidence from the assessments, carried out by the Atos subsidiary Atos Healthcare.[53] Following the implementation of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 ESA claimants were subject to rigorous WCAs to determine their level of disability and ability to work.[54][55] Atos received extensive allegations of severe distress and also widespread deaths amongst those assessed. MPs, the clergy and leading charities demanded the assessment be withdrawn.[56][57] Controversy arose from assessments that indicated that, among others, a man in a coma,[58] people with multiple sclerosis, terminal cancer, and serious mental illnesses,[59] and a brain-damaged amputee unable to walk and with difficulty speaking[60] were all fit to work and thus ineligible for disability benefits. According to the Financial Times, Atos staff received death threats as a result.[61]

On 21 February 2014, Atos confirmed that it was seeking an early exit from its £500 million WCA contract with the DWP.[53] Its departure was announced in March 2014 with a replacement contractor to be appointed in early 2015.[62] Facing questioning by the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, Atos senior vice president Lisa Coleman conceded an inability to make a sufficient profit was a factor in the firm's decision to withdraw from the contract, for which it has had to pay compensation.[63]

In September 2015, in a groundbreaking ruling, the coroner summing up the suicide of a claimant who had been assessed by Atos said the Atos healthcare professional had failed to take into account the views of any of Mr A’s doctors during a 90-minute assessment, telling him the DWP decision-maker would look at that evidence instead.[64]

Atos was also awarded a contract in 2013 to carry out tests for the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for disabled people, with the aim of reducing the projected cost of the benefit by 20 per cent by 2015-16. PIP replaces the Disability Living Allowance and determines whether people are entitled to extra money to help cope with disability – such as cars, equipment or nursing. Atos's £400m PIP contracts over five years cover the southeast and north of the UK, accounting for about 75 per cent of disability living allowance claimants. Capita, a rival outsourcing company, has the remainder.[65] However, in response to a freedom of information request, in 2015 the DWP revealed that those claimants tested by Atos Healthcare were likely to face a five times longer delay in assessments than by Capita.[66]

In early 2014 Atos was awarded a contract for the General Practice Extraction Service (GPES) program run by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).[67][68] It was criticised by the Public accounts committee in December 2015 and accused of taking advantage of the Department of Health and not showing an “appropriate duty of care to the taxpayer”. Adrian Gregory, the Chief Executive, was said to have “appeared rather indifferent” when testifying before the committee. The company is one of 8 suppliers working on the project and is to be paid £11.4m, an increase on the original £8 million.[69]

Corporation Tax

It was disclosed in November 2013 through the National Audit Office that Atos paid no Corporation Tax at all in the UK in 2012.[70]The total value of contracts that had been awarded to Atos by June 2013 was approximately £1.6bn.[71]


Olympic/Paralympic Games

Atos has been the official IT Partner for the Olympic Games since 2001 and is expected to continue until at least 2020.[72] Atos, through the SchlumbergerSema's acquisition, was involved in previous Games during the 1990s, starting with the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992. Atos has been one of 11 major sponsors for the Olympic Games since 2001.[73]

In 2011, some UK-based disability campaign groups called for a boycott of the 2012 Summer Paralympics due to Atos' sponsorship of the games and Atos Healthcare's UK contract to perform Work Capability Assessments on behalf of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)[74] During the first week of the Paralympics in the summer of 2012, activists and disabled people targeted Atos in a series of nationwide protests.[75] This culminated on Friday 31 August with a demonstration outside Atos headquarters in London,[76] which ended in a confrontation with the police.[77]

Through the International Olympic Committee's TOP (The Olympic Partner) programme, Atos has sponsored athletes from all over the globe in order to support their Olympic ambitions, including Danny Crates, the 2004 Paralympic Champion in the 800m.[78][79][80][81]

2014 Commonwealth Games

Atos have been named as an Official Supporter of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.[82] On 26 June 2013, "Glasgow Against Atos" occupied one of the Commonwealth Games venues in protest against Atos sponsorship.[83]

2015 South East Asian Games

Atos was the Official sponsor of 2015 Southeast Asian Games in Singapore.[84]


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External links