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Snook gets an Orange bullet

IT has been confirmed that Orange boss Hans Snook will step down when Orange is grouped with the other mobile phone operations of France Telecom and floated. As expected Snook's job will go to Jean-Francois Pontal. Snook will become a "special advisor" to Orange.

When France Telecom bought Orange from Vodafone in May Snook was expected to remain as chief executive but the French decided that they wanted their own man running operations. The company will be floated on the Paris Bourse at the end of March next year and it is expected that France Telecom will make as much as $16bn from the sell-off. At the moment the company is expected to be called New Orange but it remains to be seen whether or not management of France Telecom decide to continue with the Orange brand. This has been hugely successful in the British market but might not work as well in different markets across Europe.

The decision is important as the title sponsorship of the Arrows team depends on the Orange brand being retained. France Telecom may wish to withdraw from F1 or could decide to switch to a different branding.

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