Unicoop – the Cognac wine cooperative – is facing turbulent and questionable times right now, and the finger is being pointed at one man – Bernard Lalande.
Over the past year there have been many staff changes, resulting in false accusations of theft by a new Director of Human resources. It seems that the internal workings of Unicoop are currently attempting to rival the TV soap operas.
The Director – Francis Barat – has been replaced by the former director of the BNIC, Alain Phillipe and the newperson in charge of HR is the 70 year old Lucy Beauchene. She is strongly backed by the Chairman of the Board of Directors – Dominique Callandra, who rumour has it that she is merely controlled by the accountant Bernard Lalande.
Mr Lalande, the socialist Mayor of Montendre and tipped to become the future president of the General Council of the Charente Maretime, is seen to be the one pulling all the strings whilst pocketing a not inconsiderable 350,000 euros each year.
When forced to defend his actions, Mr Lalande says that this figure should be divided by at least by three because this includes his other business interests. He says any accusations against him are extremely unfair.
But it seems that things will be changing in March, when a new director takes the helm, one who has been recruited by a specialist firm.