Conspiracy theorists will delight in viewing Bertrand Sicot's ascension to CEO of SolidWorks as Dassault's maneuver to install one of their own. Dassault did buy SolidWorks years ago, and yes, we have been seeing and hearing more from their French CEO, Bernard Charles. Yes, we have been offered more Dassault products - whether we think we need them or not. Wouldn't a French corporate general sent from across the ocean complete the French invasion?
The facts may not fit the conspiracy.
I called Bertrand, who is only too well aware of a misconception. "People read between the lines," he said. "I was hired by SolidWorks in 1997." This was the same year Dassault announced plans to acquire SolidWorks, but Bertrand says he was interviewed only by SolidWorks execs.
"So, the fact that you are French and so is Dassault is a happy coincidence?" I ask. "That is a good way to put it," says Bertrand with a laugh.
Bertrand joined SolidWorks -- not Dassault -- as their #2 employee in Europe. Jeff Ray, SolidWorks' outgoing CEO, asked Bertrand to move to US in 2004 as VP of North America sales.
Ok, so he may not be a Dassault general, but he's just a salesman, right? Turns out, he has a mechanical engineering degree! Hey, so did Hirschtick.. and Johnny Mac. Maybe he's one of us.