A polytechnician experienced in the telecoms sector who comes to feminize the CAC 40 a little more: strong of fifteen years spent at Alcatel-Lucent, the general manager Europe of Schneider Electric, Christel Heydemann, was appointed Friday, at 47, general manager of ‘Orange.
Also a graduate of the Ecole des Ponts et Chaussées, she had climbed all the levels of Schneider Electric since her arrival in 2014 at the French giant of equipment and solutions for energy, to the position of president of the group in France then director for Europe.
Christel Heydemann had also already been a member of the board of directors of Orange since 2017.
With her appointment, she becomes the second woman to run a CAC 40 company, along with the CEO of Engie, Catherine MacGregor.
From July 1, the two leaders will be joined in this still very closed circle by Estelle Brachlianoff, who will become Chief Executive Officer of Veolia.
– Digital transformation –
After beginning her career in 1997 as a consultant with the prestigious Boston Consulting Group, Christel Heydemann joined Alcatel, the former French telecom flagship, two years later, where she held various positions of responsibility, particularly in the merger between Alcatel and Lucent.
Appointed commercial director of Alcatel-Lucent France in 2008, she negotiated a strategic alliance the following year with the computer equipment manufacturer HP in the United States, before being promoted in 2011 to general director of human resources and member of the executive committee.
Christel Heydemann then joined Schneider Electric in 2014 as Director of Strategic Alliances.
After having held the position of President France of Schneider Electric, she took over in May 2021 the head of the European activities of the French multinational.
Decarbonization of the economy, development of industry 4.0, revolution of the Internet of Things… The leader notably managed the file of the digital transformation of the group, accelerated by the health crisis.
It was while she headed Schneider Electric France that the Vaudreuil plant in Eure became a pioneer in France of digital transformation using 5G (with Orange) and augmented reality in the industrial process itself. same.
The site, particularly at the forefront, was distinguished in 2019 as one of the 16 “showcases” of the 4.0 factory in the world, in a study carried out by the firm McKinsey for the World Economic Forum.
– Report on family leave –
President of Gimélec (group of companies in the French digital electronics sector), Christel Heydemann is also a member of the National Council for Industry.
“She’s anything but a dictator: she gets everyone on board and has the ability to imagine the impossible,” Ben Verwaayen, her ex-boss at Alcatel-Lucent, told Le Figaro last year. “She’s a natural CEO”.
This mother of two, experienced in social dialogue, had also co-piloted a government mission until June 2021 on the development of parental leave and the reconciliation of professional and family time, with sociologist Julien Damon.
Flagship recommendation? That parental leave, taken after maternity or paternity leave, and currently for a period of one year, renewable until the child is three years old, be shortened and better compensated.
She had recommended that it be shortened to six months for each parent, or a total of one year, during the child’s first year, while the remuneration would be proportional to the previous salary, but capped, so that it was more attractive and better shared between men and women.
“The general ambition must be not to continue to pile up answers but to simplify life, that of people, that of companies”, she judged with her co-rapporteur. A similar philosophy to be expected at Orange?