Orange News Update: Orange Back Richard
Orange news update: telecommunications company Orange have reaffirmed their faith in CEO Stéphane Richard following accusations of fraudulent activities.
“Richard has been given a vote of confidence by the board of France Telecom following support from France’s Socialist government despite being placed under suspicion of fraud last week.
The company’s board met on Monday to review Mr Richard’s position as chief executive following the court decision to begin a formal investigation for organised fraud. The case relates to his time as an official in the finance ministry under former President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Mr Richard’s position was in effect secured over the weekend following comments by the government supporting his leadership of the group. The state owns a 27 per cent stake in the group, and has a strong influence over its leadership.
Shares in France Telecom, which has recently formally renamed itself Orange, rose on the back of the news, dispelling worries over a damaging succession. Even so, analysts say that Mr Richard may be less likely to have his contract extended when it comes for renewal next year.
In a statement, the board of the group said that it had ‘decided to reassert its full confidence in Stéphane Richard and his ability to effectively meet the numerous challenges facing Orange’.
It added: ‘In particular, the board considers that the legal measures affecting Stéphane Richard do not impede his ability to fully and effectively lead Orange.’
The board said that it had appointed Bernard Dufau, an independent board member, to follow the situation to ensure it would not affect Mr Richard’s leadership.
The case against Mr Richard concerns his role in an arbitration process that in 2008 resulted in a €400m payout to Bernard Tapie, a businessman and prominent backer of Mr Sarkozy, after a longstanding commercial dispute between the tycoon and the state.
Mr Richard was chief of staff to finance minister Christine Lagarde at the time. Last week Mr Richard was questioned in police custody for 48 hours before being placed under formal investigation. Under French law, being under formal investigation means the court believes there is serious evidence pointing towards a crime. It usually precedes a prosecution, but not always.”
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Article originally sourced from www.ft.com
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