Snook opts for retail therapy as Orange role draws to a close

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The Independent Online

Hans Snook, the architect of the mobile phone giant Orange, is to sever ties with the group at the end of this year to pursue his plans for a alternative medicine retail chain full time.

His decision to part company with Orange comes nine months after he stepped down from the position of chief executive to become a "special adviser" to the group when it floated on the stock market in February. France Telecom retains a controlling stake in Orange.

Mr Snook, who has long been a champion of alternative medicine, said he had been given the opportunity to do something different after overseeing the successful integration of the company with France Telecom and the rebranding of France Telecom's mobile assets to Orange. "I'm now going to do that 'something different', confident that the future of Orange is not only as bright as ever, but is greatly expanded with the successful integration and rebranding of France Telecom's mobile assets and the direct support of France Telecom," he said.

When Mr Snook revealed his plans to take an advisory role at Orange a year ago, he said he wanted to pursue other interests in the healthcare arena. He has famously extolled the virtues of colonic irrigation and is also known to believe in Feng Shui, the ancient art of placing objects, and to embrace alternative therapies such as reflexology and acupuncture.

While the precise nature of his new venture is unclear, Mr Snook is thought to favour setting up high street outlets where patients can be diagnosed and treated using a range of traditional and alternative remedies. "Part of the problem is that he has been quite involved in Orange. He now wants to move rather faster and further than he's been able to," a spokesman said.