Christel Heydemann is to succeed Stéphane Richard at the head of Orange

In recent weeks, the candidacy of Christel Heydemann for the general management of Orange has received the approval of the Elysée and Bercy. His appointment should be recorded at a board meeting next Friday.

A new era is about to dawn at Orange. Unless there is a last minute twist, it is Christel Heydemann, current head of Schneider Electric in Europe, who will become the new general manager of the French group. This decision should be definitively recorded at a board meeting to be held on Friday January 28, 2022.

For Christel Heydemann, things settled down over the weekend. While her candidacy had already received the approval of the Élysée and Bercy, the 47-year-old polytechnician took a decisive step towards the general management of Orange after the withdrawal of Frank Boulben from the selection process. According to information from Figaro, the Chief Revenue Officer of the American operator Verizon preferred to give up “to allow a serene decision of the council”, in an e-mail addressed to the administrators of the operator.

The latter had however retained the candidacies of Frank Boulben and Ramon Fernandez, financial director of Orange, at first. But that was before the state, a 23% shareholder in the group, got involved to impose its preferred candidate. In recent weeks, the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, and the Secretary General of the Élysée, Alexis Kohler, had received the three applicants. Through these meetings in the mysteries of power, the name of Christel Heydemann, who has served on the board of directors of Orange since 2017, has established itself with the executive.

Stéphane Richard will play extra time at the head of Orange

However, if the question of the general management of the group should be settled by Friday, this does not mean that Stéphane Richard will quickly let go of the controls of Orange. Indeed, the current CEO of the tricolor operator should ensure the transition with Christel Heydemann in the coming weeks, while retaining his duties as president, until a successor is appointed. According to BFM Business, Pascal Cagni, president of Business France and former boss of Apple in Europe, would be well placed to recover this position. He would even have already met Christel Heydemann. But once again, the name of the future president of Orange will have to receive the blessing of the executive, which should not fail to create a stir within the board of directors of the operator.

Sentenced last November 24 to a one-year suspended prison sentence and a fine of €50,000 for complicity in the embezzlement of public property in the context of the Tapie affair, Stéphane Richard could therefore remain in place until the general assembly of Orange shareholders next spring. After submitting his resignation to the group’s board of directors, Bercy had insisted that he leave his post by January 31, 2022 at the latest. a decade at the head of the French operator.

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