France's Orange backs CEO for second term

PARIS, March 26 Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:10pm EDT

PARIS, March 26 (Reuters) - The board of France's state-backed Orange on Wednesday voted to give its chief executive, Stephane Richard, a second term, providing continuity to the group at a time of tumult in its domestic market and brewing consolidation in Europe.

The decision will have to be approved by shareholders at the annual meeting on May 27, the company said in a statement.

The French government, which owns 27 percent of the company, backed Richard to stay on despite an ongoing investigation of his role as a government aide in a 2008 arbitration case in which the state awarded a large payout to businessman Bernard Tapie.

The state nominates three of Orange's 15 directors, and effectively names the CEO. (Reporting by Leila Abboud; Editing by Maya Nikolaeva)

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