Orange CEO Race Narrows to a Shortlist of Three Candidates
(Bloomberg) -- Orange SA has narrowed its search for a new chief executive officer down to three people, according to people familiar with the matter.
The selection committee of France’s biggest telecommunications company has whittled its pool of candidates down to Frank Boulben, Christel Heydemann and Ramon Fernandez, according to the people, who asked not to be named discussing private information. The board would like the CEO to be announced before the end of the month.
Current CEO and Chairman Stephane Richard resigned after his fraud conviction in November ended his 11-year run in the top job. The three top candidates represent a mix of internal and international expertise as well as government connections.
Much now depends on the thinking at the company’s biggest shareholder, the French government, which has a 23% stake. The potential for officials to reject all the candidates proposed by Orange’s selection committee means that another person could be chosen for the role, one of the people said. A spokesman for the French presidency declined to comment.
Heydemann and Boulben did not reply to requests for comment. Fernandez and a spokesperson for Paris-based Orange declined to comment.
A Frenchman based in New York, Frank Boulben, 55, is currently the chief revenue officer of Verizon Communications Inc. He did a stint at Orange from 2004 to 2007 and has also worked at U.K.-based Vodafone Group Plc and Rogers Communications Inc., which is headquartered in Toronto.
Christel Heydemann, 47, is executive vice-president for Europe at Paris-based Schneider Electric. A trained engineer and graduate from the Ecole Polytechnique, she previously worked for Alcatel Lucent SAS for 15 years, and has been a member of Orange’s executive committee since 2017.
Ramon Fernandez, 54, has been Orange’s chief financial officer since 2016. He has worked at the International Monetary Fund and has had various roles at several government departments, including Director General at the French Treasury.
French newspaper Liberation reported the names earlier Thursday.
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