France Telecom rues general counsel loss

France Telecom’s respected general counsel Jean-Pierre Mattout has quit the company and has yet to be replaced.

Former chief executive Michael Bon appointed Mattout to the role in February 2002, but his star seems to have faded since the appointment of Thierry Breton, who succeeded Bon in October of that year.

Mattout was formerly the head of worldwide legal affairs for the BNP Paribas group, and before that he was at Banque Nationale de Paris, where he established the bank’s first legal department before joining Paribas in 1990.

Since joining France Telecom, Mattout has guided the legal department through a period of upheaval while the partially state-owned company underwent a restructure. Mattout has worked on a series of crucial deals, such as its e15bn (£10.1bn) capital increase last year.

In tandem with Mattout’s shock resignation, the legal department has been split in two. The regulatory department has parted from legal and now reports directly to Breton.

France Telecom confirmed the departure and the lack of a replacement, but had no further comment. Mattout was not available for comment.