The former CEO of France Télécom Thierry Breton was appointed back in 2002 after leaving his previous company Thomson SA (formerly THOMSON Multimedia SA, owner of the legendary American brand RCA) where he served as the CEO. On February 25, 2005, he has been appointed minister of finance and industries. The current CEO is Didier Lombard.
Up to 1988, France Télécom was known as the Direction Générale des Télécommunications, a division of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. It became autonomous in 1990. It ceased to be a state monopoly on January 1, 1998. Its headquarters are in Paris, place Alleray.
In 2004 France Télécom is likely to have to pay back ?1 billion in alleged unlawful subsidies (in breach of state aid rules) it received from the French government, following an 18-month investigation by Mario Monti, the EC Competition Commissioner. It is understood that both France Télécom and the French government are appealing this decision.
In August of 2005 FT acquired an 80% ownership in the Spanish mobile phone company Amena. 
France Télécom operates through several divisions, like Wanadoo (first internet service provider in France, second in Europe), Orange (first mobile phone company in France) and Equant. France Télécom has announced that it intends to stop using the Equant and Wanadoo brand names by rebranding these services as Orange in 2006. (See Wanadoo is to make way for Orange.)
One of its most important subsidiaries was Telecom Argentina; France Télécom sold most of its shares in 2003 at the same time as it sold CTE Salvador, and now only owns approximately 1% of Telecom Argentina.
France Telecom is present in the US through its Equant brand and its venture capital arm, Innovacom as well as two R&D labs: one in Boston and the other in South San Francisco, California.