Orange's Vivek Badrinath quits at critical time for operator

Vivek Badrinath, a rising star at Orange Group and the former CEO of Orange Business Services, has decided to leave the group in order to pursue new opportunities at the Accor hotel group, the French company confirmed on Monday.

In a statement, Orange said Mari-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissiere has been appointed to run the innovation, marketing and technologies division (IMT) as executive director and member of the executive committee with effect from March 1, 2014. She replaces Badrinath, who is currently deputy chief executive of the group.

Jégo-Laveissiere has a long track record at Orange, having joined the France Telecom group in 1996.

"I have every confidence in Mari-Noëlle's ability to lead the Innovation, Marketing and Technologies Division, which I wanted to establish to carry Orange's innovations to the highest level," said Orange CEO Stéphane Richard. "I have chosen a young female talent who has demonstrated the breadth of her skills and her managerial capabilities."

However, the departure of Badrinath comes at a critical time for the French group, which continues to face cutthroat competition in its home market and faces an expected wave of consolidation in Europe.

The Wall Street Journal noted that Badrinath is a well-regarded executive who played a leading role in keeping the former French incumbent up to date with latest technological developments. He has risen quickly through the ranks and was appointed CEO of Orange Business Services in 2010. He was put in charge of innovation, marketing and technologies in May last year.

Badrinath will join the Accor group as deputy chief executive officer.

For more:
- see this Orange release
- see this Wall Street Journal article (sub. req.)

Related Articles:
Orange hit by Moody's downgrade over competition concerns
France's SFR latest to offer low-cost LTE prices
France's operators prepare for LTE price war
Orange and Bouygues hit back in LTE war, as Free launches handset leasing
Vivek Badrinath named CEO of Orange Business Services