By Mathieu Rosemain and Gwénaëlle Barzic
PARIS -The CEO of Orange, Stephane Richard, will hand in his resignation at a board meeting on Wednesday after a Paris appeal court convicted him of complicity of misuse of public funds, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
Separately, two sources said Richard, who also serves as Orange chairman, was likely to remain in office on an interim basis while the company looks for replacements.
Richard had earlier said in a statement it was up to the board to decide whether he should keep his job. He called the court’s verdict, which handed him a one year suspended prison sentence, “deeply unfair” and said he would appeal.
“I place my mandate within the hands of Orange’s board of directors,” said Richard, who was acquitted in a first trial.
Orange’s board meeting started at 1700 GMT. Two sources close to the matter said it would be difficult for Richard, who has denied any wrongdoing, to keep his job.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has repeatedly said that the government position is that bosses of state-owned companies should quit if convicted of a crime. A finance ministry statement noted the verdict and said it was paying close attention to the proper functioning of the company.