France Telecom seeks to add 100 million clients to its Orange brand by 2015

Monday, July 5, 2010

New France Telecom CEO lays out 5-year plan

PARIS — New France Telecom CEO Stephane Richard on Monday laid out plans to boost employee moral and make 5 percent of the global population clients of his Orange brand by 2015.

Richard took over as CEO four months ago after his predecessor Didier Lombard was criticized over his handling of a spate of employee suicides last year.

At a press conference in Paris, Richard presented a five year plan which he said is designed to motivate staff and make France Telecom a better company to work for.

“The aim of this project is to create a more human company,” he said.

In its home market, France Telecom plans to add 10,000 jobs by 2012, including doctors and psychologists who France Telecom is recruiting as part of a €900 million ($1.1 billion) new social contract.

Currently, France Telecom has 180,000 employees, of which 100,000 are in France.

Richard said France Telecom needs to reinvigorate an aging work force, where the average age is more than 47.

The plan also covers the previously announced €2 billion ($2.5 billion) investment in fiber optic networks by 2015 as Orange — the brand by which most of France Telecom’s non fixed line services are known — focusses on its core business.

The digital revolution offers many new opportunities for the former telecom monopoly turned mobile network operator and internet service provider, Richard said.

But Orange’s internet television business — launched in a bid to attract customers — has not had the intended success, and Richard said he will be looking for partners who can provide content to continue offering the service to Orange’s 800,000 subscribers.

France Telecom pays €200 million a year for the rights to French premier soccer league on its Orange Sport channel.

Internationally, Richard said he wants to double revenue from emerging countries over the five years, with potential acquisitions in Africa.

The plan lays out ambitious objectives, such as increasing client numbers by 50 percent — but is short on financial details.

Richard said he will explain to financial analysts how he will meet his aims in the autumn.

By 2015, Richard wants to find another 100 million customers of its Orange brand, bringing the total to 300 million — or five percent of the world’s population.

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