(Bloomberg) -- Frank Boulben has pulled out of the race to become the next chief executive officer of Orange SA, France’s biggest telecommunications company.

Boulben, chief revenue officer of Verizon Communications Inc., confirmed the withdrawal of his bid in an email to Bloomberg News. The Frenchman, who is based in New York, has sent a letter to Orange’s board of directors relaying his decision, Le Figaro reported previously, without saying how it got the information.

A spokesman for Orange declined to comment.

This makes Christel Heydemann, currently executive vice-president for Europe at Paris-based Schneider Electric, the main contender in the race, after her bid received support from Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.

An engineer and graduate from the Ecole Polytechnique, she previously worked for Alcatel Lucent SAS for 15 years, and has been a member of Schneider Electric’s executive committee since 2017. 

Ramon Fernandez, Orange’s chief financial officer since 2016, is the only other declared candidate for the top job.

Read more: Orange CEO Race Has Narrowed to a Shortlist of Three Candidates

The board is expected to pick a CEO on Jan. 28, and may ask Stephane Richard to remain interim CEO until his successor joins the group, according to Le Figaro.

Orange, which has started to work with headhunting firm Spencer Stuart to appoint a chairman, has a shortlist of five or six candidates, according to Le Journal du Dimanche, which didn’t say how it got the information.


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