Orange: the fate of the CEO suspended on the verdict of the Tapie trial

The fate of the Orange CEO, Stéphane Richard, is suspended the judgment that will be delivered Tuesday in the trial on the disputed arbitration of 2008 in favor of Bernard Tapie in his litigation with Credit Lyonnais.
The verdict is highly anticipated. The fate of the Orange CEO, Stéphane Richard, is suspended the judgment that will be delivered Tuesday in the trial on the disputed arbitration of 2008 in favor of Bernard Tapie in his litigation with Credit Lyonnais. The public prosecutor requested April 1 three years in prison including 18 months of reprieve against the former chief of staff of the Minister of Economy and Finance at the time, Christine Lagarde. The prosecutor Nicolas Baietto also required a 100,000 euros fine and the ban on exercising any public office for five years against the one who is today the boss of the incumbent operator and number one French telecom.

Renewed last year for a third term, Stéphane Richard, 57, warned that he would hand over his mandate to the board of directors in case of conviction. According to his entourage, however, he could be justified in maintaining himself in the event of a “symbolic” sentence. But the State shareholder of Orange could hear it from another ear. In January 2018, the Minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, had estimated on Radio Classique that Stéphane Richard had “done a good job at the head of Orange” and was therefore to be re-elected at the head of the society.

But he added: “If ever in the course of this legal process there should be a conviction, he would immediately return his mandate and resign.” Asked this weekend on the sidelines of the Economic Encounters of Aix-en-Provence, Bruno The Mayor told reporters he “tried” as a rule “not to change his mind”. Asked if it was also in case of symbolic condemnation, he replied: “We have set rules, they are clear and they will be respected.”

Employees help Richard
The Association for the defense of employee savings and shareholding (ADEAS) and the CFE-CGC Orange have defended the CEO of Orange and called Sunday Bruno Le Maire “the greatest restraint as to the decisions to be made following a possible conviction of Stéphane Richard in the trial Tapie “. Personal shareholders and main unions in Orange are asking to be received by the minister to “consider the follow-up to be given to a possible conviction and all consequences arising from it,” add these organizations in a statement. They recall that Christine Lagarde remained President of the International Monetary Fund and that she is now expected to head the European Central Bank, while she was, they write, “sentenced in the same case”.

Christine Lagarde was found guilty of negligence on 19 December 2016 by the Court of Justice of the Republic for having waived an appeal against arbitration but exempted from punishment. “The remarks made at the Aix Economic Meetings stating (that Stéphane Richard) should resign regardless of his conviction appear particularly inappropriate,” add the two organizations. These remarks “do not take into account the general interest of a company having suffered a destabilization of an importance of importance.” Stéphane Richard allowed the social appeasement and the return of the confidence of the personnel, “they plead. An allusion to the crisis crossed under the previous leadership by what was still France Telecom – the implementation of a massive plan to reduce staff suspected of being at the origin of a wave of suicides in 2008-2010.

The fate of Tapie in the background
Coincidence of the schedule, the predecessor of Stephane Richard, Didier Lombard, is currently being tried for moral harassment with six other former leaders of France Telecom in the same court room of Paris, where the two men could almost cross Tuesday. prosecutor’s office on Friday against Didier Lombard one year in prison and 15,000 euros fine, maximum penalty for moral harassment.Si Stéphane Richard had to leave Orange, several names are circulating to replace him, including those of the financial director Ramon Fernandez, the Executive Director of France Fabienne Dulac or Director of Orange Spain, Laurent Paillassot. The current managing director of BpiFrance, Nicolas Dufourcq, is also mentioned as a possible pretender.

The fate of the CEO of Orange almost overwhelmed that of other protagonists, including the main character of this case, Bernard Tapie, 76 years. The public prosecutor has required five years in prison for the former businessman, who suffers from cancer and whose possible sentence will probably never be implemented. He says he was cheated by the Credit Lyonnais at the 1983 sale of the sports equipment manufacturer Adidas and was awarded 15 years later 403 million euros, including 45 million for non-pecuniary damage. Amounts of which the state, civil party, asks for the refund.

But Bernard Tapie and his lawyer Maurice Lantourne are accused of fraudulently obtaining this arbitration, in collusion with one of the referees, Pierre Estoup, 92 years old, and with the complicity of Stéphane Richard. A charge that the Orange CEO has been refuting during the trial. He said he had only done his job as a cabinet director and played only a secondary role in a decision that he believed had the support of the executive branch.

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