Christel Heydemann

Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt—AFP
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As the first woman to take over France’s largest phone carrier, Heydemann is facing slowing growth and increased market pressures from Big Tech firms. But she’s making moves to counteract the headwinds: Since becoming CEO of $50-billion-in-revenue Orange in April, the former Schneider Electric executive signed a joint venture deal with Spain’s Masmovil that would create a telecom operator valued at $19 billion.