Appointments

Orange ‘picks car parts chief to chair company’, says report

Jacques Aschenbroich Orange.jpg

Jacques Aschenbroich, president of car parts maker Valeo, will chair Orange, according to a report from Paris this morning.

The newspaper Le Monde says that Orange’s governance committee picked Aschenbroich yesterday, and adds that he will be confirmed by the whole board next Wednesday.

Aschenbroich (pictured, CC BY-SA 3.0, Oliver Vallet) will lead Orange with new CEO Christel Heydemann, who starts work on 4 April, says the newspaper, whose sources say that Heydemann played a role in choosing the new chairman. Le Monde’s source told it: “She was involved in the entire selection process.”

Most of his career has been in the Saint Gobain building materials group, but 35 years ago he was a technical adviser on industrial affairs to Jacques Chirac when he was prime minister of France. His current company, Valeo, includes automotive brands such as Ferodo.

Heydemann and Aschenbroich together replace Stéphane Richard, who left following his conviction in a fraud trial for misuse of public funds. The board of Orange decided to separate out the role of chairman and CEO.

Today’s newspaper report suggests that Bruno Le Maire, France’s Minister of the Economy, was looking to appoint a woman as chair, but could not find a suitable candidate.

It names as one of the candidates who on the short list Anne Bouverot, a former Orange executive who then became director-general of the GSMA, the mobile industry association. Bouverot now heads Technicolor.

Orange’s shareholders will have the final word on Aschenbroich, at their annual meeting on 19 May.

Aschenbroich is 67, and Orange is in the process of modifying its rules so that a chairman can remain in office after the current age limit of 70. Le Monde points out that the operator is encouraging its employees to retire from 57 years old.

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