Orange changes direction with Christel Heydemann who becomes the operator’s new boss. She is the first woman to hold this position, thus succeeding Stéphane Richard, who was sentenced in November for complicity in the embezzlement of public property.
Christel Heydemann, new boss of Orange
In order to preserve the continuity of the company’s activities and to ensure an efficient transition, the Board of Directors of Orange has asked Stéphane Richard to continue his mandate as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) until he takes position of Christel Heydemann. In addition, the Board of Directors has now separated the functions of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Thus, Stéphane Richard will continue, upon the arrival of the new Chief Executive Officer, to perform the duties of non-executive Chairman until the arrival of a new Chairman and at the latest until May 19, 2022, the date of the Orange General Meeting.
For her part, Christel Heydemann will officially become the new boss of Orange on April 4, 2022. With a long experience in the telecoms sector at Alcatel-Lucent, she has been a member of the operator’s board of directors since 2017.
Christel Heydemann was until now the European director of the Schneider Electric group. She had climbed several levels since her arrival in 2014 at the French giant of equipment and solutions for energy, to the position of president of the group in France then director for Europe. She notably managed the group’s digital transformation file.
“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 telecom industry. I will invest myself fully at the head of Orange”, said Christel Heydemann. “And I know I can count, like my predecessor, on the strength and commitment of the teams to support the company towards success”, she added.
First woman at the controls of the operator
The Ministry of the Economy had publicly shown its support for Christel Heydemann in early January, indicating that it preferred the appointment of a woman among the three candidates in the running, with the group’s current deputy general manager, Ramon Fernandez, and the sales manager of the American operator Verizon, Frank Boulben. Minister Bruno Le Maire wants more women to access governance positions in large companies.