French specialty chemicals and explosives producer SNPE has appointed a new chairman and CEO, Jacques Zyss, and a new executive vice president for chemicals, Michel Nicolas. Nicolas took up his post on June 3, replacing Bernard Fontana; Zyss must be approved at the next meeting of the French Council of Ministers. Nicolas oversees the company's four chemical units: Isochem fine chemicals, peptides, chemical specialties, and Bergerac nail polishes. SNPE has been seeking a joint-venture partner for Isochem for some time as part of a strategy of becoming a more global fine chemicals player. A recent press report put the firm in discussions with Solvay, but an SNPE spokesman counters that the company is in talks with several companies. Isochem has also been suggested as a merger partner for Rhodia, creating one of the national champions being encouraged by the French government.