A new French (tech) revolution?

  @FortuneMagazine October 31, 2013: 7:04 AM ET
TEC18 xavier neil

Niel, one of France's richest men, bypassed its famous colleges.


A tall, middle-aged man is propped against a wall inside a building on the gritty northern edge of Paris. He's deep in discussion with a young woman sporting bright-green hair tied in pigtails; she's sucking on a neon-blue lollipop and driving home a point to him with her hands.

The man listening intently to the artsy-looking twentysomething isn't a talent agent or even a college professor -- though he's keenly interested in education. He is Xavier Niel, one of the richest people in France (estimated net worth: $7.8 billion), who achieved his wealth by disrupting his country's telecommunications industry. Now Niel, 46, wants to upend another French institution: its notoriously rigid education system.

Join the Conversation

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.