Orange has announced that Chairman and CEO Stephane Richard has relinquished his role in the company after being convicted by the Paris Court of Appeal of “complicity in the misuse of public funds” due to his actions at the French Ministry of Finance more than 13 years ago. Widely known as “Affaire Tapie”, according to TelecomTV.
Richard was found guilty and given a one-year suspended prison sentence, and a fine of 50 thousand euros: as a result he submitted his resignation, which was accepted by the Council of Orange.
The Frenchman, who was appointed CEO of Orange in March 2011, will continue in his position until the board of directors approves a new governance structure, which is due to be approved within the next two months.
A spokesperson for Orange explained: “Stefan Richard had already proposed a few months ago to separate the role of Chairman and CEO, and the search for a new CEO for the group was already underway… This new governance structure still needs to be approved by the Board of Directors and the owners interest, and that will happen by the end of January 2022.”
The Orange Board of Directors thanked its current Chairman for his “commitment to lead Orange over the past 11 years, from restoring a comfortable work environment after the social crisis to transforming Orange into a leading multi-service operator in Europe and Africa. Stefan will have made a significant contribution to the group’s history in turbulent times.” Sometimes he works for the company.
But Pritchard was eventually ousted by actions taken during his involvement in French politics more than a decade ago.
Orange’s share price fell very slightly after news of the court’s decision on Thursday and is largely unchanged today at €9.89.
Orange’s board would have few credible options but to accept Richard’s resignation, no matter how much he wanted to remain in office (and since he’s been chairman for 11 years, it’s been a very long time in the top communications table world, it seems he was considered the right person). for this role).
Not only has Richard’s resignation impacted Orange, he is currently president of the GSMA industry association.
The association has no news or comment to share immediately, but its spokesperson says it expects to release a statement in the coming days, noting that Richard has been a “very supportive president” during his tenure (he has been the GSMA president since January 2019).
For Richard in addition to doing everything he can to enable a smooth delivery at Orange, his focus is on clearing his name, as he works to appeal the decision of the Paris Court of Appeal.
In a statement published to the media hours before his resignation, the CEO of Orange said: “The accusations of complicity in the misuse of public funds are baseless.
He continued, “No new items appeared in this appeal process and I remind you that the court completely acquitted me in the first instance. During this process, the charges shifted from fraud to conspiracy to fraud and then to my complete acquittal, now to the separation of the charge of conspiracy in the fraud charge, but the verdict on A new accusation of complicity in the misuse of public funds is completely incomprehensible and deeply unjust.”
He said: “I implemented a ministerial decision to go to arbitration for which Christine Lagarde assumed full responsibility and was subsequently convicted of simple negligence.”