Marie-Hélène Bérard is a former high-ranking French civil servant; she was Special Adviser to Mr. Jacques Chirac, the former French President, and is currently the Treasurer of the Chirac Foundation and of the France-Israel Chamber of Commerce. She is the President of MHB SAS, an investment banking boutique firm she founded in 2000 specializing in international transactions, primarily in emerging markets. She chairs Columbus' French Advisory Board and, with her appointment as an Independent Director, will continue to play a key role with regard to Columbus' strategy in France. Ms. Bérard is also a Director of the Russian Investment Fund Verno.
Ms. Bérard was with the French Ministry of Economy and Finance from 1972 to 1988 in various senior roles; as Financial Advisor to Mme Simone Veil, the Minister of Health and Social Security, as Deputy Advisor to Prime Minister Raymond Barre, and as Special Advisor to Prime Minister Jacques Chirac on matters relating to employment, immigration and social reforms. In 1988, Ms. Bérard transitioned from government to the private sector and held a number of executive positions, including Deputy Managing Director of Marceau Investments, a French investment firm, and was for 10 years a member of the management board of Crédit Commercial de France (now HSBC France).
Ms. Bérard has been honored for her contributions to France with the distinction of Commandeur de la Légion d'Honneur (Commander of the Legion of Honor) and Commandeur de l'Ordre National du Mérite (Commander of the Order of National Merit). Ms. Bérard is a graduate of the Ecole Nationale d'Administration and l'Institut d'Etudes Politiques and holds a Masters Degree in Law from the University of Paris.