France Telecom’s board to discuss charges against Richard

France Telecom’s board to discuss charges against RichardThe board of directors of the France Telecom are expected to meet today to determine charges against Chief Executive Stephane Richard relating to fraud and to take a decision on whether he will continue to head the telecom service provider.

Richard is facing fraud charges from his time in the finance ministry of France five years ago. France's largest phone company will face a third change of head in a decade if the board decides to relieve Richard from his duties. Richard had joined the Paris-based company three years ago after Didier Lombard stepped down after criticisms over his handling of the employee suicides.

The state has a stake of 27 per cent and is the largest shareholder in the company. President Francois Hollande has only said that the decision will be announced after voting on Monday. It is not known as to which side the government representatives will vote on the matter. The government has only indicated that the decision will be taken for the best interest of the company.

The company's board has 15 members including three representatives of the French state, three directors elected by workers and, appointed by employee shareholders, France's first woman astronaut Claudie Haignere and former Carrefour SA Chairman Jose Luis Duran.