Orange appoints new CEOs for MEA units as Kenya exit looms

Orange appointed new CEOs for four of its businesses in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), placing an emphasis on executives with a strong track record in the telecoms industry as the France-based operator gears up for further growth in the region.

The company has replaced the CEOs at Orange Guinea, Orange Mali, Jordan Telecom and Sonatel in Senegal. All four CEOs have been appointed from within the Orange group and have previously worked in the MEA region.

In Guinea, Éric Bouquillon has replaced Alassane Diene, while Alassane Diene is now CEO in Mali, replacing Jean-Luc Bohé. Jérôme Hénique has replaced Jean-François Thomas in Jordan, while Thierry Marigny has taken over the CEO position from Jérôme Hénique in Senegal.

Marc Rennard, Orange international EVP for MEA, stressed that the new CEOs have significant executive experience in the telecommunications industry.

"They will continue and enhance the development of their respective subsidiaries, in an innovation-driven environment. Their contribution will be vital for the Orange group, which is accelerating its growth in Africa and the Middle East," Rennard said.

Orange has repeatedly emphasised that it sees the MEA area as key to its future growth. The company has around 100 million subscribers in the region, which accounts for around 10 per cent of group revenue.

In July Orange CFO Ramon Fernandez said the company is targeting annual revenue growth of around 5 per cent in Africa and the Middle East by 2018 and was looking for further opportunities to expand in the region.

Also in July, the company acquired a further nine per cent of Moroccan operator Méditel after signing an agreement with private equity firm Fipar-Holding -- part of state investment company CDG -- and investment fund FinanceCom for an undisclosed amount.

Prior to that deal, Orange entered into an exclusive agreement with India's Bharti Airtel to explore the possible acquisition by Orange of Airtel's mobile subsidiaries in Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville and Sierra Leone.

At the same time, the company's policy is to sell units in countries where it believes it would be unable to become the number one or number two player over time. It highlighted Uganda and Kenya as two potential exit opportunities, and completed the sale of Orange Uganda last November.

Reports this week have also suggested that Orange is closing in on an agreement to sell its Kenyan unit.

Business Daily Africa said Helios Investment Partners is the latest company to show interest in buying Telkom Kenya, and is targeting a stake of around 51 per cent.

An Orange spokesperson said the company was aware of the reports, but was unable to comment at this time. Helios Investment Partners also declined to comment.

For more:
- see this Orange release
- see this Business Daily Africa article

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