I don't care. Because I'm going to make it easy for all the players in the marketplace. That comes from my background, having thought about many of these problems in the fixed-line world. Now the wireless world is trying to catch up to the fixed-line world. And guess what? I've already seen the movie.
HB You're going to provide the network.
TRUJILLO The customer experience, that's how I like to describe it. Part of it's the actual network - the antennas and all that. Part of it is making the use of this device as easy and simple as possible. It's enabling the devices, not making the devices.
It's also making it easy for the customer to interact with you - billing, customer care, and updating the technology all the time so the customer's experience is always unique.
HB On a wireless VPM, would you have access to databases?
HB Is that available in many places?
TRUJILLO It's available in Paris today.
HB Is that an Orange first?
TRUJILLO Yes. I'm not aware of another company that has done it. We have unique capability in working with France Telecom, and that gets back to the integration. I ran a company in the U.S. [US West] that had a wireless business, an enterprise business, an Internet business, and a fixed-line business. And we made it all work together. So again, I've already seen part of this movie, and I know it's possible. But there's also part of the movie to play out. There are multiple endings. And multiple plots that can play out over the next few years. That's the fun for me.
This is a much bigger platform, and much bigger company. We have 40 million customers and growing. In three years, this business [Orange] will be bigger than France Telecom's fixed-line business. That how big it is - bigger than a country's fixed-line business. This is bigger than AT&T Wireless, Cingular, all the companies we have here [in the U.S.] in terms of size.
So for me, this is an interesting play-out, to build something. US West was a smaller company, without all the resources to play it the way we can here.
HB How much bigger do you think it can get? Any plans at this time for the U.S. market?
TRUJILLO Not at this time, simply because we have so much ahead of us where we already have a footprint. First, I want to build that [business] model, and then we can consider other things down the road.
But life and business is about focus. We've got to stay focused on our near-term opportunities, with an eye toward the longer-term as well.
HB Once you build the better mousetrap, it's fairly adaptable to other markets. But let me ask you: In the past, Orange has expanded by acquisition. They acquired [wireless] companies in Belgium and Luxembourg and elsewhere. Is that going to continue in the near-term, or are you slowing up and consolidating?
TRUJILLO I want to concentrate on our core portfolio, because there's a lot of growth there. In business, you always focus on your core first. You grow it, treat it well and serve it well. I'm looking at our footprint from a strategic perspective, and [judging] some properties where we're only a minority investor, like we had with WIN [a cellular operation] in Italy. We were a 26 percent owner. We didn't have control. We weren't going to be able to brand the company Orange. Why are we staying there? It's not a good use of our resources or cash, so let's sell it back to those people who want to control it. We'll take our cash and use it for other things.
In Sweden, we were in a situation where [the government] gave multiple 3G licenses. it was going to cost a fortune to play out, and then you're with four or five other [competitors]. No need to get into that kind of situation, so why not get out? Extricate yourself. Because strategically, it wasn't critical and it required a lot of cash.
Again, I want to use my cash where I can give my investors the best return on capital and my customers the best kind of experience, and protect my core businesses. So I'm going to try to get us stronger where we are, and stronger where we aren't in a partnering or acquisitive way, over the medium term.
But in the near term, we have more than enough to do. We don't need to acquire more properties, because those can be distracting.
HB That [acquiring] was popular during the land-grab phase you talked about.
TRUJILLO And there's a lot of dead bodies lying around in the telecommunications world. Companies that thought the future was about acquiring lots of things. The problem is you've got to make them work. You've got to integrate them. Almost all the [telecom] companies that got into bankruptcy or severe financial trouble didn't do that. They thought it was all about issuing press releases and buying things.
HB Getting back to what you said about the importance of diversity. Any plans to make Orange more diverse?
TRUJILLO I'm learning a new context for diversity in Europe. We have people of all races, colors, religions, et ceterTrujillo My challenge is to take advantage of all the people who are part of our constellation, whether men or women or French or English or from BotswanTrujillo My job is to take advantage of the resources, and have everybody think that they have a shot at my job, or making a difference. That was the philosophy I had here [in the U.S.]. I think it showed on almost any [diversity] ranking or survey, and our results were always better.
HB No more questions. Just what lessons your career teaches. Any philosophizing?
TRUJILLO Philosohically, I have always believed your integrity and ethics are critical. It's been borne out the last several years in the U.S. and in other countries. What you do is your brand - your personal brand. You ought to be aware of that in how you conduct your professional life. Sometimes it's easy to take shortcuts. You think you can get away with things. Taking the easy way out may not be the best way. So always try to do things in the highest ethical way possible.
Second, you lead by example. I don't think you'll find anyone who ever worked around me who doesn't say if I ask someone to do something, I won't do it twice as hard and twice as much.
Third, when you think about a career, and why somebody would ask me to go to another part of the world and run a business - along with a lot of other people who asked me and I said no. You have to ask why. At the end of the day, it's all about performance. In business, in sports, in any professional context, it's about results. What you do. You create your brand by what you do.
If you end up creating significant value for your investors, that's good. If you can be better than your competitors at serving your customers, that's good.
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