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April 26, 2007 2:22 am

Orange CEO to step down

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The head of France Telecom’s mobile businesses is stepping down, the Paris-based telecoms group will announce on Thursday.

Sanjiv Ahuja has chosen to leave his role as chief executive of Orange, the brand used by France Telecom for its domestic and international mobile businesses, said people familiar with the matter. They added that the parting was amicable, and Mr Ahuja’s successor may be announced on Thursday when France Telecom reports its first-quarter results. The company declined to comment.

Mr Ahuja, who began his career as a software engineer at IBM, joined Orange in 2003 as chief operating officer, and became chief executive in 2004. He has played a leading role in France Telecom’s convergence strategy. Like many of its peers, the group is staking future growth on selling bundles of services based on fixed-line and mobile.

London-based Mr Ahuja led the extension of the Orange brand to France Telecom’s fixed-line broadband operations over the past two years. He had responsibility for all of France Telecom’s operations in the UK, where it has been battling fierce competition in mobile and fixed-line broadband

In its 2006 fiscal year, France Telecom took a €2.4bn ($3.27bn) goodwill impairment on its UK mobile business.

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