Orange CEO Stéphane Richard, during a speech at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, June 28, 2021 Pau BARRENA
A board of directors is scheduled for the end of the day at 6 p.m. to decide on the future of the CEO of Orange Stéphane Richard, sentenced by the Paris Court of Appeal to one year of suspended imprisonment in the case of the ‘2008 arbitration between Bernard Tapie and Crédit Lyonnais, we learned on Wednesday.
The CEO of Orange, whose mandate at the head of the operator comes to an end in mid-2022, expressed the “personal wish” to remain chairman of the group after this date, by dissociating the function of managing director.
In 2018, the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire had however warned that in the event of conviction, Stéphane Richard would have to hand over his mandate, while the French telecoms giant has as its main shareholder the State with more than 20% of the capital. .
The board of directors of Orange “will draw the consequences” of the conviction of CEO Stéphane Richard, the Ministry of the Economy said on Wednesday in a statement sent to AFP.
“We take note of the court decision concerning Stéphane Richard” and “we are obviously attentive to the continuity of the good functioning of the company”, adds Bercy.
“I put my mandate in the hands of the board of directors of Orange,” said Mr. Richard in a statement sent to AFP.
After a general acquittal in July 2019, the court of appeal ruled on Wednesday that the arbitration, which had awarded 403 million euros to Bernard Tapie and has since been canceled in civil proceedings, was indeed “fraudulent” in that it was biased towards the interests of the businessman.
Stéphane Richard, 60, who was at the time chief of staff to the Minister of the Economy Christine Lagarde, was found guilty of complicity in the misappropriation of public property.
“The accusations of complicity in the embezzlement of public funds are without any foundation and are not based on any evidence. I totally reject them and will appeal to me in cassation,” he announced.
Stéphane Richard, a graduate of HEC and ENA, joined the Orange group in September 2009. He became CEO in June 2010, and finally CEO in February 2011.