Orange overhauls European leadership as Bouygues talks continue

Orange unveiled a raft of changes to its management structure in Europe as it continues to discuss a possible deal with Bouygues Telecom that would have a profound impact on its positioning in France.

The company said the changes, to take effect from May 1, would primarily affect senior management teams in the Europe zone, which will continue to be led by Gervais Pellissier, deputy CEO and executive director for Europe.

In detail, Bruno Duthoit, currently the CEO of Orange Polska (Poland), will join Pellissier's management team as deputy executive director for Europe, responsible for Central Europe. Jean-François Fallacher, ‎currently the CEO of Orange Romania, will become the CEO of Orange Polska, while Liudmila Climoc, currently the CEO of Orange Moldova, will take ‎over as Orange Romania CEO. Julien Ducarroz, currently COO of Orange Romania, will become the new CEO of Orange Moldova.

Pellissier noted that the development of the existing team "reinforces synergies between our operations across Europe."

"I am particularly happy that Bruno Duthoit will now be working at my side as deputy in charge of Central Europe, and we can look forward to benefitting from his extensive experience within the group, particularly in his role at the helm of Orange Polska. I have full confidence in the team in Europe and look forward to further successes in the years to come," he added.

Orange is now active in seven European countries outside France: Spain, Poland, Belgium, Romania, Slovakia, Moldova and Luxembourg. It has also previously announced that Laurent Paillassot will take over the role as CEO of Orange Spain with effect from Mar. 1.

The group has placed a strong focus on the convergence of fixed and mobile services across its footprint, with France the leading example of this strategy thanks to long-established Orange Open plans.

A successful outcome of ongoing talks over a possible merger between Orange and Bouygues Telecom would further enhance the group's position on its domestic market and would also reduce the number of mobile players from four to three.

According to Reuters, Orange Group CEO Stephane Richard said the talks should conclude by early March at the latest, and reiterated his belief that the chances of securing a deal were 50-50. Reports have said that the transaction could be valued at €10 billion ($10.9 billion).

Bloomberg also reported that France is said to be willing to reduce its 22 per cent stake in Orange to help smooth progress towards a deal. Citing unnamed sources, the news agency noted that the government still wants to remain Orange's largest shareholder and retain a blocking minority in terms of voting rights.

For more:
- see this Orange release
- see this Reuters article
- see this Bloomberg article

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