May 22, 2022

Christel Heydemann appointed to become CEO of Orange

In April, she will succeed Stéphane Richard, who is retiring after his court conviction in the arbitration case between Bernard Tapie and Crédit Lyonnais.

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It is a strategic position that was the subject of much speculation. Orange’s board of directors has chosen Christel Heydemann to become the group’s new general manager. His taking office is scheduled for April 4, 2022, according to a press release dated Friday, January 28. She will take over from Stéphane Richard, who is retiring after a court conviction.

Christel Heydemann, 47, was until now European director of Schneider Electric, after chairing its French branch. A polytechnician by training, she has also held management positions in the telecoms field at Alcatel-Lucent. She had been a member of the Orange Board of Directors since 2017.

When she takes office, she will be the second woman to lead a CAC 40 company, along with the CEO of Engie, Catherine MacGregor. On July 1, Estelle Brachlianoff will be added, who will become Chief Executive Officer of Veolia.

The Ministry of the Economy publicly showed its support for Christel Heydemann in early January, indicating that it preferred the appointment of a woman among the three candidates in the running. And the State is the main shareholder of the Orange group.

In November, Stéphane Richard, CEO of Orange since 2011, was convicted in November of complicity in the embezzlement of public property in the controversial arbitration case rendered in 2008 between Bernard Tapie and Crédit Lyonnais. He was given a one-year suspended prison sentence and a 50,000 euro fine. His term was due to end in mid-2022.

The post of chairman will be separated from that of general manager and its future holder has not yet been chosen.