Christel Heydemann

Photo de Christel Heydemann, Directrice générale chez Orange.

“I firmly believe that Orange, driven by its purpose, has a responsibility to the creation of a digital world that is responsible, green, inclusive, and safe-by-design.” 

Reflecting on our activities in 2023, how is Orange doing?  

Christel Heydemann: A year after the launch of our strategic plan, Lead the Future, Orange remains steadfast in its execution. We have successfully achieved all our financial goals for 2023 and are well on course to meet both financial and non-financial targets outlined in our plan by 2025. These outcomes underscore the relevance of our strategy, our execution prowess, and the resilience of our Group in delivering sustainable value for all stakeholders. All Orange employees are mobilized and committed, as evidenced by the very positive results from our new “Voice Up” social barometer. It’s immensely gratifying and I extend my sincere thanks. 

Among our notable achievements, I’d like to highlight the widespread deployment of very high-speed broadband, including the extensive rollout of fiber, the expansion of 4G/5G coverage, and the introduction of our consumer satellite offering in France. Additionally, our strong performance in Europe, driven by our value-focused strategy and converged offerings, stands out. The promising transformation of Orange Business, with the repositioning of our connectivity solutions and the introduction of new AI and Cloud services, has been particularly noteworthy. Furthermore, the exceptional growth in revenue from Orange Cyberdefense, surpassing the one billion euros mark, is a testament to our success in this vital sector. Lastly, the remarkable double-digit growth in the Africa and Middle East region underscores our dynamic presence in these markets. We are well on our way to success, and it is a collective success that everyone can take pride in. 

Telecom operators are grappling with various challenges. How is the Group contributing to the sector’s transformation, especially in Europe? 

C.H.: As Europe’s second-largest telecommunications operator, Orange is committed to reshaping the future of telecoms, alongside our peers, particularly in Europe where the market is fragmented, undergoing significant upheavals and marked by intense competition and regulatory scrutiny. 

Today, our industry is more essential than ever, providing crucial digital services for consumers, businesses, and governments, and playing a significant role in our economy. To tackle these challenges, European telecommunications operators face a complex balancing act. On one hand, there is a pressing need for substantial investments to cope with the ever-increasing network traffic. On the other hand, there is regulatory pressure and fierce competition in a mature and saturated market. Our aim is to champion the interests of our industry, fostering growth and investment among its players. Orange, alongside our peers, is actively engaging in ongoing discussions with European authorities to advocate for reforms that encourage long-term investment, innovation in critical infrastructures, their value creation, and innovation in general. 

Consolidation within the sector will be crucial in the years ahead. For that matter, we’re the most active operator in leading national consolidation efforts across Europe, bolstering our position as a leader in fiber and convergence. Most recently, in Spain, following the European Commission’s approval of the merger between Orange and MásMóvil, we have formed the joint venture MásOrange, making us the leading Spanish operator in terms of customer base, with over 37 million broadband and mobile subscribers! 

On what other pillars has Orange chosen to base its growth and leadership? 

C.H.: We will continue to develop what makes us unique: the strength of our brand, for which we have just launched a new signature, “Orange is here”; our operations in Africa and the Middle East, which are performing exceptionally well with sustained and continuous growth; our infrastructures, which are benefiting from our capacity to innovate by adopting new technologies – generative AI, in particular – to make our networks more efficient, more secure and more resilient; and our commercial offerings to meet the quality of service expected by our customers and offer them a differentiating experience with Orange. 

We will also be strengthening our commitment to corporate social and environmental responsibility, an approach shared by everyone in the Group. In 2023, we exceeded our target for reducing our CO₂ emissions (scopes 1 and 2) two years ahead of schedule, and we are continuing on this trajectory.

We are also strengthening the sustainability of our infrastructures and promoting digital inclusion with the deployment of our networks and free training programs in digital professions – more than 1.8 million people have already benefited from these since 2021. 

Internally, how is Orange reinventing itself to support its strategy? 

C.H.: To gain in agility, efficiency and responsibility, we have embarked on a transformation of our enterprise model to simplify the way we operate and to accelerate our data & AI initiatives across all business lines. This is a collective change, which is being played out on the ground, and the firm commitment of the men and women of the Group forms its first pillar. 

To support them, we will continue to develop talent and skills. This is a key expectation of Orange employees, as highlighted by “Voice Up”: to give them career development prospects and to advise them on their career paths. 

We have also launched a major project to ensure that we continue to succeed together: adapting our corporate culture, which will guide the way we act based on a shared mindset and common values throughout the Group. 

How do you see 2024?  

C.H.: Team spirit and self-improvement are among the values that bring us together, and Orange is extremely proud to be a Premium Partner and Official Supplier of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This extraordinary event will be an opportunity for our Group to rise to every challenge, to demonstrate the excellence of our technical expertise and innovation, and to offer the best connectivity to four billion television viewers. 

By contributing, in this and many other areas, to pushing the boundaries and raising standards, we aim to build a more responsible, sustainable and inclusive digital world.