France Telecom Names Richard Chairman, Succeeding Lombard

France Telecom SA Chief Executive Officer Stephane Richard was named chairman, taking lead of France’s largest phone company’s board from former CEO Didier Lombard as part of a succession plan announced a year ago.

Richard’s added title starts March 1, the Paris-based company said today in a statement. Lombard, 68, will stay on as a special adviser to Richard, 49, on “strategic options and technological outlook,” the company said.

Richard replaced Lombard as CEO a year ago. While he was hired in 2009 to take charge after Lombard’s retirement, his takeover was accelerated by dozens of employee suicides that unions blamed on stress caused by a reorganization aimed at making the company more competitive.

France Telecom shares today fell 3 cents to 16.20 euros in Paris trading.

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