The tight deadline to fill the position, however, may see outgoing CEO Stephane Richard remain in the role for some months yet

In November 2021, long-serving Orange CEO Stephane Richard was charged with the misuse of public funds, leading to his immediate resignation from his leadership position at Orange. 
The conviction came after the Paris Court of Appeal ruled against him in a legal scuffle that dates back to 2008, when Richard was serving as chief of staff to then French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde. At the time, the government was embroiled in a legal dispute with businessman Bernard Tapie, which ultimately resulted in Tapie receiving a €400 million pay-out. Richard oversaw this transaction.
However, the legality of this settlement quickly came under scrutiny, ultimately being declared illegal and seeing Lagarde charged with negligence in 2016. 
The legal battle regarding Richard’s own culpability in the settlement has been raging ever since, with Richard saying he simply followed Lagarde’s directions. 
“I simply carried out a ministerial decision to go to arbitration for which Christine Lagarde assumed complete responsibility and for which she was then found guilty of simple negligence,” he said at the time.   
As a result of the conviction, Richard said he will step down as both CEO at the end of January, leaving something of a power vacuum to be filled in the Orange executive.
Now, a selection committee of board members has reportedly identified three possible candidates to step into the role: Ramon Fernandez, Orange’s current chief financial officer; Christel Heydemann, an Orange board member and Schneider Electric’s European head; and Frank Boulben; Verizon’s chief revenue officer. 
The Orange board are reportedly preparing to meet on January 24 to select the appointee, but, in fact, meeting this short deadline could prove problematic. Sources are suggesting that the French government, who own at 23% stake in Orange, are unconvinced by the suggested candidates and may extend the hiring process if they remain unconvinced. 
Some media sources are even going so far as to suggest that Richard may ultimately remain the role until May, when his term as CEO was already due to expire anyway, regardless of the conviction.  
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