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France Telecom Names Richard Chairman, Succeeding Lombard

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Feb. 23 (Bloomberg) -- 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.

To contact the reporter on this story: Amy Thomson in New York at athomson6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net

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