Online Original: Laurent Piepszownik/France: "We Are A Euroland Company"

In the 1970s, Laurent Piepszownik was a Communist Party member who organized student strikes at the French engineering school he attended. In 1990, he did something that by French standards was even more radical: He quit a well-paying job at national utility Electricité de France. Chafing under a rigid bureaucracy and eager to try his own ideas, he set up Europstat, a company that designs information systems for corporate clients. Now it's a high-tech star, with sales this year expected to top $45 million. And Piepszownik, who holds a majority stake, is worth about $90 million.

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