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Speculation mounts about future chief for Vivendi

By | Published on Tuesday 10 September 2013


The Chairman of Universal Music parent company Vivendi wants Bertelsmann chief Thomas Rabe to run the group, according to French newspaper Les Echos. Jean-Rene Fourtou apparently reckons Rabe, who became CEO of BMG owner Bertelsmann in 2011, is the man to oversee Vivendi’s plan to focus its efforts on its content business.

As previously reported, Vivendi lost its last CEO Jean-Bernard Levy in June 2012 over disagreements regards the future direction of the company, which has both entertainment and telecoms interests. The firm’s board seems keen to ultimately offload its flagging telecoms business to focus on Universal Music and French TV company Canal Plus, and probably new acquisitions in the media and entertainment space.

Legal counsel Jean-Francois Dubos has been leading Vivendi on an interim basis since Levy’s departure, and was charged with the task of confirming a strategy for future direction. Meanwhile Fourtou has been overseeing the recruitment of a permanent new CEO.

And while Rabe’s name is reportedly on his list for consideration it’s worth noting that the Bertelsmann chief doesn’t seem in any mood to leave his current employer, plus back at Vivendi one key shareholder and board member, Vincent Bollore, reportedly has another proposal – appointing him as the next CEO. Even though some have in the past tipped Bollore as a successor to Fourtou as Chairman.

Which is all fun. These rumours are seemingly doing the rounds this week because tomorrow the Vivendi board will meet to discuss the ongoing CEO selection process. Needless to say, no official statements have as yet been made.