Former France Telecom head will not serve as advisor

2nd March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Former France Telecom chief executive Didier Lombard said Wednesday he was stepping down from his post as advisor to the new head of the company because of the controversy it had caused.

Earlier, Labour Minister Xavier Bertrand had said Lombard should only keep the advisor's post if he worked for free, after reports he would be paid 500,000 euros ($685,000) in his new role.

"In the interests of France Telecom, a company where I spent most of my professional life, I have decided today to give up the post of advisor ... and to leave the group," Lombard said in a statement.

Lombard became chief executive in 2005 and made way in March 2010 for Stephane Richard after huge controversy over a series of worker suicides at one of France's most prominent companies.

It was announced last week, however, that Lombard, 69, would be a special adviser to Richard and he took up the post on Tuesday amid considerable adverse comment from unions and management bodies alike.

Minister Bertrand said earlier that "does not need this payment. He has had a high-level career and he has been well paid.

"Either it is done for nothing or France Telecom is not going in the right direction," he added.

The French state holds a 27 percent stake in France Telecom.

© 2011 AFP

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