After more than 20 years on the Board of Directors, I have decided that it is time for me to pass on the baton to a new Chairman for Orange Belgium. This company represents such an important part of my life that I could not leave it without saying a few words to you all.
I’ve been with Mobistar, now Orange, right from the start. More than 20 years ago, I was involved in the launch of what was to become Belgium’s challenger telecoms company. Over the last 14 years, I’ve had the honour of being the Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Circumstances now dictate that I hand over the torch, one year on from the company name change and its dramatic and impressive entry onto the fixed-mobile convergence market. I am glad to be conducting this handover at a point where, backed by a winning strategy and the support of an innovative industry group, Orange Belgium is all set to write a new chapter in its history.
Faced with the new opportunities ahead, it is a good time to proudly remember both how well we have risen to and indeed exceeded the challenges of the past and our capacity for change and innovation.
10 years after its inception, Mobistar had already far exceeded its intended market share, whilst some were in doubt as to this newcomer’s capacity to change the Belgian telecoms landscape forever. I also remember the launch of the Tempo prepaid card, a first for the Belgian market. More recently, I was thrilled by our market leadership with Orange’s 3G and 4G networks.
We have of course also been through tough times, but we have always continued to invest and consolidate our position, enabling us to calmly consider the future. In this regard, I would like to acknowledge the patience of our shareholders, who have accepted the occasional absence of dividends for the sake of our long-term vision. Today, I am proud to announce that we will propose the payment of a dividend for the year 2016.
I would also like to highlight the confidence in us and the constructive role played by our major shareholder, the Orange Group, right throughout the history of this company which has always retained its “start-up” spirit.
As Chairman of the Board of Directors, I have always worked to conciliate the various viewpoints of the shareholders, management and staff. I was happy to fulfil this role in an environment which has always been friendly and in which the human dimension always predominated.
Thank you for all these connections and these moments which will become for me treasured memories.
May the next 20 years of Orange Belgium be as bright as those through which I have worked and lived.
With warmest regards,