Pierre Laval (1883-1945) had already served as President of the Council of Ministers four times before joining the Vichy government. The polar opposite of Pétain, he was a pacifist and a career politician. He was a socialist and champion of the workers. Before World War I, he said, "I am a comrade among comrades, a worker among workers." Laval and the patriarchal, conservative Pétain must have made odd bedfellows.
He was appointed foreign minister in December 1940, then sacked by Pétain, only to return as Prime Minister in 1942.
After the war, he was sentenced to death for his role in the Vichy government. Unlike Pétain, he was not granted a stay of execution. He faced a firing squad on 15 October 1945, and shouted "Vive la France!" as he died.