Leadership rows hit France Telecom, Vodafone

Michael Carroll
29 Jan 2010

Investors and top executives are calling for the heads of the bosses at France Telecom and Vodafone, which are embroiled in two separate management crises.

Didier Lombard, chairman and CEO of France Telecom, is under pressure to step aside and take up a non-executive director role after a series of staff suicides in 2009, the Financial Times has reported.

Lombard’s designated successor and current deputy, Stephane Richard, is leading the charge against his boss.

He questions whether the current management structure will allow France Telecom to meet its goals for 2010.

Richard is reportedly keen to keep Lombard in a non-executive position so the firm can continue to benefit from Lombard’s long experience in the telecoms industry.

Richard was unveiled as Lombard’s successor in April 2009, and was due to take the helm from June 2011. However, the leadership crisis could see Richard installed as chief executive by end-February, reports state.

Meanwhile, Vodafone’s investors are behind speculation regarding chief executive Vittorio Colao’s position within the firm.

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