Orange Boss Sanjiv Ahuja Steps Down

During his four years at its helm, the telecom doubled its subscriber numbers. Olaf Swantee, formerly at Compaq, will take over some duties

The head of Orange, Sanjiv Ahuja, has stepped down as CEO of the mobile operator.

The announcement was made as part of the latest set of quarterly results from Orange's parent company, France Telecom.

Ahuja is to pursue new projects but will remain involved with Orange as chairman after completing four years with the network, initially as COO and then CEO.

He said in a statement: "After four great years with Orange, the time is now right for me to move ahead with a series of new ventures with the aim of exploring some of the fascinating opportunities that I believe this sector still holds. I'm also delighted to be maintaining my links with France Telecom in this context."

France Telecom will become a partner in one of those ventures, which will target emerging markets.

Since Ahuja took the helm of the operator in March 2004, the company has doubled its subscriber numbers to around 100 million and, like its rivals, has attempted to reposition itself as a converged operator, selling broadband, IPTV (internet protocol television) and FMC (fixed-mobile convergence) services.

Ajuha's role as EVP in charge of personal communication services, UK and Europe/Middle East operations will be filled by Olaf Swantee.

Swantee comes with an EMEA enterprise history with HP, having worked in the IT company's sales enterprise system group and customer solutions group and most recently holding the position of SVP of EMEA enterprise sales and software at HP. Pre-merger, Swantee worked for Compaq doing enterprise storage and product business management roles.

The individual who will take over the rest of the top job has yet to be named.

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