xavier niel


Xavier Niel is the Iliad Group’s co-founder and majority shareholder. Co-founder of Mediawan


He is a self-taught entrepreneur and has worked in the Internet and telecommunications industry since the late 1980s. In 1993 he co-founded France’s first ISP, and in 1999 he created Free – France’s first free-access ISP. 

He co-invented Triple Play and the concept of the box, launching the Freebox in 2002 – a unique, state-of-the-art, multiservices box combining broadband Internet with telephony and television. 

Xavier controls telecom operators in a personal capacity in many countries outside France, including Switzerland, Ireland and Monaco. 

In 2013, he co-founded “42”, a not-for-profit organization that delivers free coding training based on peer-to-peer learning. This training is available in a large number of countries and the network of “42” schools trains over 5,000 students worldwide. In 2017, the “42” school in Paris was named the best coding school in the world. 

In 2017, Xavier has also co-founded Station F – the world’s largest start-up campus, which hosts a thousand start-ups in a former railway station in Paris occupying 34,000 sq.m. 

Since 2010 Xavier has been the joint controlling shareholder of the Le Monde newspaper and the Télérama, Courrier International and L’Obs magazines.