Who is Christel Heydemann, new CEO of Orange?


Alexander Boero

January 28, 2022 at 3:18 p.m.

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Christel Heydemann © Schneider Electric

© Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric’s European General Manager, Christel Heydemann, has been chosen to become the new boss of the Orange group. She will succeed Stéphane Richard in the coming weeks.

Orange’s board of directors officially decided on Friday, January 28, and chose Christel Heydemann to take the helm of the incumbent operator, as the company indicates in a press release published in the morning. At 47, the one who has climbed the ranks of Schneider Electric Europe in recent years to occupy the position of general manager, is already preparing for her new role.

Christel Heydemann succeeds Stéphane Richard, head of Orange for more than a decade

On April 4, 2022, Christel Heydemann will assume the position of Chief Executive Officer of Orange, of which she has already been a member of the Board of Directors since 2017. She will succeed Stéphane Richard, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the leading French telecommunications operator for 11 years, pushed out after his conviction in the Tapie-Crédit Lyonnais case last November. To his credit, Stéphane Richard was able to pull the company to the top, which upon his arrival was going through the greatest social crisis in its history.

Orange evokes the choice of a personality with recognized skills in the world of telecoms and business transformation “, although the board of directors has apparently hesitated between the boss of Schneider Electric Europe and Frank Boulben, sales manager of the American telecom giant Verizon. Christel Heydemann was favored by the government, Bruno Le Maire having expressed his wish to see a woman take over as head of the group.

Christel Heydemann will therefore take up her new position on April 4, 2022. Until then, Orange will separate the functions of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, which will allow Stéphane Richard to retain his functions as non-executive Chairman of the company until upon the arrival of the new manager, at the latest until May 19, 2022, the date of Orange’s next general meeting.

Stephane Richard © Nicolas Gouhier / Orange

Stephane Richard © Nicolas Gouhier / Orange

A leader who does not arrive in unknown territory

A graduate of the École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, she began her professional career in 1997 with the strategy consulting firm Boston Consulting Group, before joining Alcatel two years later, occupying various positions and participating in the merger between Alcatel and Lucent. Offering herself a little more experience in telecoms, she joined the commercial department of Alcatel-Lucent in 2005, to take charge of Orange and SFR accounts. In 2008, she became commercial director for France and joined the management committee of Alcatel-Lucent, before taking over the general management of human resources and the transformation of the group in 2011, a group of which she became a member of the executive committee.

It was not until 2014 that Christel Heydemann was recruited by Schneider Electric, first as director of strategic alliances, then as president and general manager France in 2017. Since May 2021, she was the general manager Europe of the group. With a good knowledge of the world of telecoms and strong experience of administration of the Orange group for five years, she does not arrive in unknown territory.

I thank the members of the Board of Directors for their trust. As a Group Director for nearly five years, I have been able to understand the technological challenges facing our company. I know that the challenges are major, but it is also a huge honor to contribute to the development of one of the major players in the telecoms industry. I will invest myself fully at the head of Orange “, she said after her appointment on Friday.

On the same subject :
Orange, first operator to reach 6 million fiber optic subscribers

Source: orange press release



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