Vice Admiral Eric Chaperon has joined Thales as the Group’s Naval Defence Advisor, with effect from 1 October 2020. He takes over from Admiral Stéphane Verwaerde, who will leave his role with Thales after the Euronaval 2020 exhibition. Admiral Verwaerde joined Thales after stepping down from his position as Inspector General of the French Armed Forces on 31 May 2015, having previously served as Deputy Chief of the French Navy.
As Naval Defence Advisor, Vice Admiral Eric Chaperon will provide Thales with crucial insights on naval issues to better understand military requirements, and will advise the Group on the challenges ahead in naval combat and maritime affairs.
Vice Admiral Eric Chaperon is a graduate of the French Naval Academy (1980 cohort). After serving on the Jeanne d’Arc helicopter cruiser, he was appointed as gunnery officer on the aviso vessels Premier-Maître L’Her, based out of Toulon, then Commandant Blaison, deployed in the Pacific Ocean. In 1986, he commanded the Lynx training ship based in Brest and served on several other vessels before being appointed as Aide de Camp to the French Secretary for Defence from 1991 to 1993. He then joined the Ministry of Defence’s information and public relations department (SIRPA). During that period, he deployed to Sarajevo on a six-month mission as spokesperson for UNPROFOR Command.
After commanding the aviso Amyot d’Inville from 1995 to 1996, he was appointed to the operations division of the Naval High Command in Paris. He received his diploma from the Collège Interarmées de Défense (joint forces academy) in 1999.
After serving in the Naval Action Force from 1999 to 2006, Vice Admiral Chaperon was appointed to the force deployment directorate at the Joint Staff of the Armed Forces, where he was responsible for crisis management, special forces, information operations and amphibious operations until 2009.
On 1 September 2009, he joined the 115th session of the NATO Defence College Senior Course in Rome. On completion, he returned to the Joint Staff of the Armed Forces in February 2010, serving initially as deputy of the force deployment directorate, then as a special adviser to the directorate of studies, coordination and management, and finally as head of the international organisations directorate from 1 August 2012.
From 2013 to 2016, he assumed command of France’s air/maritime rapid reaction force. In this role, he twice commanded the carrier group in the Indian Ocean as part of operations Bois Belleau and Arromanches.
From 2016 to 2017, he was vice deputy to the chief of operations and general officer, defence and security at the Joint Staff of the Armed Forces. He served as head of the French military representation at the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in Brussels from 1 September 2017.