Orange boss Stephane Richard in Israel (Photo: Daniel Bar-On)
Orange Boss lands in Israel to 'clarify misunderstanding'
The head of the French Telecoms giant is in Israel for a series of meetings with 'Partner' managment, and Israeli officials including PM.

Stephane Richard, CEO of French telecoms giant Orange, landed at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv Thursday morning.


 Richard said he would meet with officials and Orange staff during his two-day visit.



The orange Boss was in Israel to "clarify the misunderstanding" sparked by his remarks during a news conference in Cairo on June 3 in which he said the firm was planning to withdraw its brand from Israel at the earliest possible opportunity


Orange boss Stephane Richard in Israel (Photo: Daniel Bar-On)
Orange boss Stephane Richard in Israel (Photo: Daniel Bar-On)


An official in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said the he would meet with Richard on Friday.


Orange is not a telecoms operator in Israel but licenses its name and logo for use by local firm Partner Communications under an agreement due to run until 2025.


Israelis reacted in anger to Richard's comments, in one case covering a billboard displaying the Orange logo with a massive Israeli flag.


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Richard's comments in Cairo were seen as an attempt to appease supporters of the BDS movement, with Netanyahu demanding that France comdemn the decision to pull out.


Richard for his part insisted there was no political motivation, and that the decision was solely driven by Orange's brand strategy.


'Orange doesn't support boycott'


According to Orange, Israel is the only country in the world where it has a trademark agreement with a company that is not a subsidiary.


Over the weekend Richard told AFP that he "sincerely regrets" the comments, and was invited by the Israeli government to visit the Jewish state, saying he would be "a welcome visitor".


In a letter to Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, Richard said: "Orange does not support any form of boycott, in Israel or anywhere else in the world."


In a letter to AFP Richard said Orange "has a lasting presence in Israel" through its Orange Fab startup accelerator program and its subsidiaries Orange Business Services and Internet television specialist Viaccess-Orca.


At the height of the backlash Netanyahu called on the French Government, "to publicly renounce the miserable remarks and the miserable action of a company that is under its partial ownership," he said.


Partner, Israel's second largest mobile operator, had insisted the Orange chief travel to the country to explain himself, an invitation he quickly accepted.




פרסום ראשון: 06.11.15, 20:03
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