Orange wants to cut the workforce of its B2B branch
Major maneuvers are continuing within the Orange group. One month after the presentation of its new strategic plan to strengthen itself by 2025, the French operator is in fact preparing to begin the restructuring of Orange Business (formerly Orange Business Services), which was formerly one of its engines of growth. With operating profit in free fall (-35% in three years), the B2B branch of Orange is looking for a second wind.
To relaunch this division, a new boss was appointed last year in the person of Aliette Mousnier-Lompré. It is therefore this manager who is responsible for leading the restructuring of this key subsidiary for the Orange group. But this shift is likely to be painful, since 700 job cuts are planned, according to The world. This reduction in the workforce would be done within the framework of a collective conventional rupture device, which must be announced this Wednesday, March 22 during a social and economic committee.
Workforce reduction subject to union approval
However, Orange must obtain the blessing of the unions to set up this project, otherwise the group will have to resort to a plan of voluntary departures to reduce the payroll of Orange Business. This is also the approach that had been favored by the European telecom heavyweight since the “suicide crisis” in 2009 to reduce its workforce in France. To do this, in 2010 Orange set up a senior part-time scheme (TPS), which benefited 42,000 employees, including 7,600 in 2022, to anticipate their retirement, according to The world.
In this context, the social dialogue therefore promises to be tense in the coming weeks within the French group. But this reorganization of the B2B branch should allow Orange to refine its approach to restructure other entities of the group in difficulty, like Orange Bank. And for good reason, Christel Heydemann, CEO of Orange since last year, adopted a tone radically from his predecessor, Stéphane Richard, craftsman of the diversification of the company with a mixed record. Indeed, it wishes to reassess the loss-making activities that are far from the group’s core business.
At Orange, the time is now for austerity, which requires an intense policy of cost reduction, which Orange Business will wipe the plaster. To relaunch the group’s B2B subsidiary, Aliette Mousnier-Lompré presented last September, during the Orange Business Summit, the five priorities for boosting its operating profit: the transformation of customers’ digital infrastructures, data analysis and artificial intelligence, business collaboration tools, changing customer experience and connected industry, including digital twins and the Internet of Things.