September 19, 2018 / 3:05 PM / in a month

Exclusive: Orange Bank's CEO Coisne to resign in next few weeks - sources

PARIS (Reuters) - The boss of telecom group Orange’s (ORAN.PA) online bank will resign in the next few weeks, three sources close to the matter told Reuters, underscoring operational challenges at the lender less than a year after its launch.

FILE PHOTO: Andre Coisne, chief executive of Orange Bank, speaks during an interview with Reuters at the Bank headquarters in Montreuil near Paris, France, October 27, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

Andre Coisne had been hired to run and develop Orange Bank, which was formed after Orange acquired a majority stake in Groupama Banque in 2016. He had previously launched online banks in France for ING Direct and Credit Agricole’s BforBank.

FILE PHOTO: Andre Coisne, chief executive of Orange Bank, speaks during an interview with Reuters at the Bank headquarters in Montreuil near Paris, France, October 27, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

The nomination in May this year of a new group head for mobile financial services at Orange Bank, Paul de Leusse, precipitated Coisne’s departure, as a new management structure is being prepared at the banking unit, two of the sources said.

Orange’s Chief Executive Stephane Richard has championed the new division as a key driver for growth and a new way to attract customers as a price war continues to rage in France’s telecoms market.

Orange has set a goal to get two million bank customers within 10 years, or a quarter of France’s online banking sector.

But the group has declined to update the markets on its progress since February, when it said the service had a total of 100,000 clients.

“Paul de Leusse came in with his team, perhaps Andre Coisne felt excluded from this new organization,” one of the sources said.

“The operational integration hasn’t been done yet. The culture clash between Groupama and Orange hadn’t been anticipated,” another source said.

De Leusse, a former chief financial officer at Credit Agricole’s investment bank, is set to have broad authority over Orange Bank, with the aim of developing the service internationally, two of the sources said.

Orange Bank is only present in France and offers customers services that include instant mobile payment, free debit card, current and savings accounts as well as consumer loans.

Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain and Gwenaelle Barzic; Editing by Leigh Thomas and Susan Fenton

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