France Telecom's heir apparent wants Lombard to leave

France Telecom's current CEO Didier Lombard has found himself facing requests that he leave his leadership post and let his successor Stephane Richard take charge of the company.

Richard, who is set to become the telco's next chief executive when Lombard's term expires next June, believes that France Telecom needs to wipe the slate clean to restore its employees' faith in management following low employee morale and suicides in 2009. To ensure a smooth passing of the CEO torch, Richard thinks Lombard should become a non-executive director.  

This is not the first time that Lombard has been asked to resign. When news broke of the 24th suicide at the French telco, political groups asked Lombard to immediately step down. Interestingly, at the time of the 24th suicide, Richard said he would stand by Lombard.

However, Lombard has no intention of leaving France Telecom before next June. Not only does he think Richard isn't ready to take on the CEO post, he feels he has more work to do.

According to a France Telecom insider quoted in the Financial Times this week, the 50-year telecom veteran is set on introducing a new industrial strategy and a "compact" with the employees. "He wants to be the architect of the renewal of the company," said the company insider.

For more:
- Financial Times has this article

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