SFR CFO quits after just 5 months

François Vauthier has been appointed CFO of SFR

Jean Raby resigned from his position as CFO of SFR just five months after first taking on the role and less than two weeks after parent company Altice unveiled an offer to buy out minority shareholders in the France-based operator.

SFR said François Vauthier, currently the chief controlling officer of Altice, is to replace Raby. It appears that Raby is not leaving the Altice group, however, and will be taking on other, as yet unspecified, projects.

The French operator added that Raby was originally appointed to reorganise and improve the financial processes at SFR, and had decided to step down as CFO after “fulfilling these objectives”.

Some might beg to differ: like rivals, SFR has struggled to maintain customer numbers since Free Mobile launched its low-cost mobile plans in 2012.

Although the situation has eased in the last year, second-quarter results from SFR indicated that the company is still shedding too many customers. Reports in August also suggested that the operator could cut around one third of its domestic workforce by mid-2019.

Altice is clearly taking greater control over the management of its French telecoms unit. As well as offering to buy out minority shareholders the company also outlined a broader plan to implement a new corporate strategy at all units within the group including SFR.

The “Altice way” is how the group describes this new industrial strategy at group level. It essentially means that units such as SFR will increasingly benefit from processes that are implemented across the group. For SFR in particular, this relates to the development and the maintenance of the company’s fixed and mobile network.

Altice has already introduced several new strategies at SFR, including the creation of SFR Media as part of a stronger focus on content and convergence. By acquiring all shares in SFR, Altice intends to simplify its group structure, improve organisational flexibility and cash flows, and facilitate the sharing of skills and best practices within the group.

The Netherlands-listed telecoms and cable group, which is also in the process of integrating recently acquired assets such as U.S.-based Cablevision, plans to buy the 22.5 per cent stake in SFR that it does not already own by offering to exchange eight new shares in Altice NV for five SFR shares. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

For more:
- see this SFR release (in French)

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