If hot issues are piling up on his desk, Christel Heydemann, new CEO of Orange, will at least have the chance to take the reins of the former France Telecom this Monday, April 4 in a peaceful internal social climate. His predecessor, Stéphane Richard, CEO from 2011 to 2022, devoted the first part of his term to it, when he arrived in a company traumatized by a series of suicides.
“With the director of human resources at the time, he allowed the company not to imploderemembers Sébastien Crozier, president of CFE-CGC Orange. From the arrival of a new financial director in 2015, the second part of his presidency was marked by a financialization of the strategy and a policy of cost reduction, limiting ambitions for a real industrial project. To the detriment of external growth, the company has adopted the habit of paying out all its dividends. It has become a yield value for shareholders. »
→ REREAD. Stéphane Richard, ten eventful years at the head of Orange
The finding seems severe, at the risk of not doing justice to the diversity of the incumbent operator’s markets. “The company is in rather good shape in France, where the competitive intensity is less than a few years ago.observes a telecom specialist. On the other hand, the income from leasing its historical copper network to other operators will fall. The question is how she will manage the “all fiber”. » The extinction of the copper network will be spread out until 2030.
In Europe, converge mobile and fixed
A solid leader in its historic market, the former France Telecom and its 142,000 employees are now present in 26 countries. In Spain, for example, the company is discussing – under the supervision of the European authorities – a merger with MásMóvil, the fourth national operator, after discussions with Vodafone which did not succeed.
In other European markets, Orange must consolidate positions acquired after several takeovers, such as that of the Belgian cable operator Voo, for more than 1.5 billion euros at the end of 2021. By buying fixed infrastructures – with the aim of converting them to fiber – Orange expects a convergence of fixed and mobile networks, and thus lower the rate of “churn”an indicator that measures customer churn. “Without this takeover, Orange would probably have been ousted from the Belgian market”, deciphers the specialist. On the African continent, Orange can continue to count on strong demographic and economic growth in these markets where mobile continues to predominate over fixed networks.
What future for business services?
The telecoms specialist also intends to consolidate its position in the field of digital household services. “Orange Bank, launched in 2017, is progressing, but is not the first online bank on the market; our OCS channel has nearly 3 million subscribers but remains far behind the streaming giantsargues Sébastien Crozier. To become leaders in these markets, it is necessary to invest more heavily. »
“It’s difficult to be first in a profession very different from the originalreplies an observer, but the question also arises for the cloud, which is nevertheless a business closer to telecoms. » Implicitly arises the future of the subsidiary Orange Business Services (OBS), whose director resigned in January. “It doesn’t bode well.analyzes someone close to the company. To catch up with behemoths like Microsoft or Amazon Web Services, Orange may not have sufficient investment capacity. »
In court due to Scopelec
In the immediate future, the new general manager will have to look into the Scopelec case, one of the company’s oldest subcontractors, which has decided to sue her for “sudden termination of business relationship”. A major partner for nearly fifty years, the cooperative society argues that nearly 1,000 of its employees are threatened with losing their jobs after it lost two-thirds of its contracts with the operator, representing 40% of its turnover. ‘business. “The acceleration of the deployment of fiber, encouraged by the government, has increased this recourse to subcontracting, and therefore to a degraded way of working”, explains Sébastien Crozier.
The operator highlights problems with the quality of services rendered, which the company disputes, which claims not to have had time to organize itself to cushion the shock. A hearing is scheduled for April 8 before the Lyon Commercial Court.
Jacques Aschenbroich, proposed for the presidency and challenged
Orange’s board of directors has approved the appointment of former Valeo CEO Jacques Aschenbroich as chairman of the group. It will be submitted to the vote of the shareholders on May 19. Jacques Aschenbroich is expected to remain non-executive chairman of Valeo until the end of the year. The salaried directors dispute the possibility that he chairs two companies at the same time, while also being on the boards of directors of TotalEnergies and BNP Paribas. His appointment would also require a revision of the statutes, which provide for a maximum age of 70: Jacques Aschenbroich will be 68 in June.