On a spring afternoon, Xavier Niel enters the boardroom of Iliad SA, the Paris-based telecommunications firm he founded two decades ago. He’s wearing a white dress shirt and jeans, the same outfit he’s sported with Steve Jobs–like regularity for years. With his longish hair and rumpled attire, he looks more like a hacker who’s blundered into the wrong office than a man who’s worth $10.5 billion.
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