(Bloomberg) -- Electricite de France SA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jean-Bernard Levy will step down amid plans to nationalize the debt-laden utility as it battles widespread reactor shutdowns and soaring costs.

A process to replace Levy, who took the helm in 2014, has begun, the Finance Ministry and EDF said in separate statements. While his mandate ends in March, the government aims to have a successor in place from September, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said in an interview on Europe 1 radio on Thursday.

France this week announced plans to nationalize the struggling nuclear giant to help it ride out Europe’s worst energy crisis in a generation. Such a move “gives us the opportunity to be more independent in energy in the coming years,” Le Maire said. “It’s a strong, strategic and necessary decision.”

No decision has yet been made on whether to split the roles of CEO and chairman, Le Figaro reported earlier on Thursday.

EDF shares slipped 0.5% at 9:22 a.m. in Paris, after surging 15% on Wednesday following news of the government’s plans. Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said the state wants to own 100% of the utility, up from the current 84%.

“The nationalization process may be delivered either via nationalization law, which would require political agreement, or via share offer,” Piotr Dzieciolowski, an analyst at Citigroup Inc., said in a note. The latter is more likely as an “easier and probably cheaper option,” and there’s a “high probability” it will be done at a premium to the current share price, he said.

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