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France’s Orange backs CEO for second term


The board of Frances state-backed Orange on Wednesday voted to give chief executive Stephane Richard a second term, providing continuity to the group at a time of tumult in its domestic market and brewing consolidation in Europe. The French government, which owns 27 percent of the company, backed Richard to stay on despite an ongoing investigation of his role as a government aide in a 2008 arbitration case in which the state awarded a large payout to businessman Bernard Tapie. The state nominates three of Oranges 15 directors, and effectively names the CEO. The 53 year-old executive will now pilot Orange through a rough environment as group sales continue to decline – as they have been since 2008 – under the effect of tough competition in France and regulatory changes that cut mobile fees.

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