The French government has denied reports it is planning to replace France Telecom CEO Stephane Richard as part of a management reshuffle at its state-affiliated industries.
Lettre d’Expansion reported that Richard – who has led the Orange-branded telco giant since March 2009 – would be sent to lead French water, waste and energy company Veolia, while Anne Lauvergeon, who led nuclear reactor maker Areva from 2001 to 2011, would replace him as CEO.
However, a government spokesperson later told Reuters that it “denies the departure of Stephane Richard, whose term is still ongoing”.
The French state owns 27 percent of France Telecom. According to Reuters, the choice of CEO at the operator is typically made by the French President and then confirmed by the board. The state also owns 87 percent of Areva and 9.2 percent of Veolia.
Like rival incumbents SFR and Bouygues Telecom, Orange has been under pressure at home following the launch of Iliad’s low-cost mobile arm Free Mobile a year ago.
While consolidation among the four main players has been mooted, the French antitrust regulator has said it is not willing to entertain the idea of M&A to ease the fierce pricing war.