The board of directors of Orange has issued a statement in which it publicly asserts “full confidence” in CEO and chairman Stéphane Richard, who has been arrested in connection with a corruption investigation in France dating back to 2008.
Richard previously worked in the French Finance Ministry and he faces questions relating to his role in a 2008 payment made to businessman Bernard Tapie.
He was arrested last week and his detention was extended by 24 hours on Tuesday by the Court of Justice of the Republic, which investigates ministerial misconduct in France.
In a statement released on June 17th, following a meeting with Richard in which he explained his position, the Orange board said: “The Board has decided to reassert its full confidence in Stéphane Richard and his ability to effectively meet the numerous challenges facing Orange with the same energy as ever in the best interests of the company, its employees, its customers and its shareholders.
“In particular the Board considers that the legal measures affecting Stéphane Richard do not impede his ability to fully and effectively lead Orange as its chairman and [CEO]“.
Votes of confidence are easily rescinded, however. In October last year TeliaSonera CEO Lars Nyberg was given public backing by his board only to be ousted in February this year. Today it was announced that his replacement will be Johan Dennelind, until now the CEO of South African operator Vodacom.