Orange CEO steps down; UK Q1 flat

Orange CEO steps down; UK Q1 flat
Sanjiv Ahuja is stepping down as Orange CEO, having completed the integration of Orange into the France Telecom Group. But he will retain his links with the UK business as its chairman.

Olaf Swantee, currently senior vice president at Hewlett-Packard, will take charge of Ahuja's mobile responsibilities in the UK and Europe and Middle East, reporting to group Chairman and CEO Didier Lombard.

The news emerged as as Orange reported its results for the first three months of 2007, in which UK ARPU fell from £263 to £257.

Orange UK reported revenues for the Personal Communication Services division of €1.49bn (£1bn), up 3.1% from the first quarter of 2006. Revenues increased just 0.8% on a comparable basis.

UK customers increased very slightly from 14.96 million to 15.1 million for the quarter, of which 4.9 million were contract customers.

The number of broadband customers more than doubled in one year to 1.14 million customers, compared to 425,000 at 31 March 2006. During the first quarter of 2007, 208,000 Broadband customers were added, in line with the quarterly acquisition rate recorded during in the two preceding quarters.

Data services revenues were up 8.8% in the first quarter 2007, reflecting strong growth in data services excluding messaging, up 25% compared to the previous year, and to a lesser degree, growth in SMS, up 4%.

Overall revenues from Personal Communication Services (PCS) totalled €6.9bn (£4.7bn) for the quarter to 31 March, an increase of 4.5% on an historical basis. France Telecom said revenue growth in mature markets was impacted by the decrease in call termination rates set by the regulator and more moderate growth in the customer base.

Ahuja said he wanted to explore other opportunities in the telecoms sector. France Telecom is to become a partner in one of his new ventures, targeting emerging markets.

Ahuja said: '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.'

Written by Mobile Today
Mobile Today

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