Ernest Mercier - Founder and first president of the CFP
Born the 4th of February 1878 in Constantine. Louis-le-Grand High School, Polytechnique University, Maritime engineering and Higher School of Electricity. Passed by the Ministry of Marine, he was assigned to Toulon where he built an electrical factory for the port and the arsenal. He joined a company responsible for the electrification of Parisian transport. With the War, he returned to the Navy and was sent to the Balkans. He became involved with the Romanian leaders after being seriously injured. Back in France, he made the link between the government and the military; he then met with representatives of Anglo-Saxon oil companies. After the armistice, responsible for restoring Paris’s electricity supply within the Union of Electricity (UDE), he built the Gennevilliers power plant and inaugurated the power supply of the Paris Basin with hydroelectric power from the Massif Central. Mercier is then called as president of the International Open Oil, which invests in the Steaua romana, a Romanian integrated group that serves Ernest Mercier for the training of CFP engineers. Indeed, in 1923, Poincaré, president of the Council, charged him with constituting this company which would have to develop a national petroleum sector from the actions of the Turkish, then Iraq Petroleum Company. The CFP was created in May 1924. Under his chairmanship, it formed the French Refining Company, the Naval Oil Company, the General Geophysical Company. Mercier also founded a political movement, the Redressement français, in reaction to state interventionism (1925-1935). In 1940, the Vichy government promulgated a new company law, which forced Mercier to withdraw from the CFP under pressure from the Germans, who were very hostile to him, and even attempted to arrest him in August 1943. After the War he loses the last mandates he had kept. He died in July 1955.