Orange reshuffles top management with a focus on MEA, Spain

Orange unveiled sweeping changes to its top management structure as part of efforts to realise the targets outlined in the company's Essentials2020 strategy for the next five years.

The changes all take effect from March 2016 and will see Marc Rennard, who is currently in charge of the France-based company's development in the Middle East and Africa, appointed deputy CEO in charge of customer experience and mobile financial services.

Bruno Mettling, currently deputy CEO of human resources, will be appointed deputy CEO in charge of operations in the Middle East and Africa -- a region referred to by Orange as AMEA. Current Orange Spain CEO Jean-Marc Vignolles will become Mettling's second in command as COO of AMEA operations.

The appointments emphasise Orange's strong focus on AMEA and mobile financial services within the Essentials2020 strategy.

Indeed, the company has repeatedly emphasised that it sees Africa and the Middle East as key to its future growth and this year brought the 20 units in the region under one holding company. It is also in talks with India's Bharti Airtel to explore the possible acquisition of Airtel's mobile units in Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville and Sierra Leone.

However, the company's policy is also to sell units in countries where it believes it would be unable to become the number one or number two player over time. It has already exited Uganda and is reported to be close to selling its unit in Kenya.

Meanwhile in other appointments announced this week, Orange said Vignolles is to be replaced by Laurent Paillassot as CEO of Orange Spain. Paillassot is currently deputy CEO of customer experience and mobile banking.

Orange said its subsidiary in Spain is set to become "the most dynamic convergent player in the Spanish market" with the acquisition of Jazztel, and now represents more than 10 per cent of the group's revenues.

Jérôme Barré will be appointed senior executive vice president in charge of human resources, while Thierry Bonhomme, currently in charge of Orange Business Services (OBS), will be appointed deputy CEO.

Commenting on the appointments, Orange CEO and chairman Stéphane Richard, said the new organisation had been thought out to support the Essentials2020 strategic plan.

"These changes will take effect on 1 March 2016 in order to allow for the completion of certain particularly important projects for the group, such as the preparation of our mobile banking offer and the integration of Jazztel. I also wanted the coming months to be devoted to the preparation and organisation of this transition, so that it can take place in an efficient and coherent manner, and so that the new organisation will be fully operational from day one," Richard said.

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

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