Au Revoir, Jean Marie
Favorite headline: Another Fine Messier, but Universal Disaster comes pretty close
Commentary from Deborah Asbrand, Media Unspun ... No one said morphing from a water utility to a new-media champion would be easy. Reuters is reporting that Vivendi Universal chief exec Jean-Marie Messier has found out the hard way just how tough it could be. According to the wire service's no-name source and a report in French daily Le Monde, Messier has agreed to resign.
Messier had moved to New York recently, but you can bet the French boss spent little time this weekend planning Independence Day barbecues like other Yanks. The Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal ran stories on the twin forces working against Messier throughout the weekend: eroding support among his French allies on Vivendi's board, and the take-no-prisoners fury of the Bronfman family, which owns 5% of Vivendi and wants Messier gone.
No doubt part of the appeal for the French board members is that another countryman has reportedly been identified as a replacement for Messier. Reuters reports that six European board members have proposed Jean-Rene Fourtou, vice chairman of drugmaker Aventis, to replace Messier. After all, when it comes to revolution, the French love liberte, egalite, and especially fraternite.
Vivendi Chief Reportedly Agrees to Step Down (Reuters)
New York Times (free subscription required)
Tensions Rise Over Vivendi Leadership
Los Angeles Times
Vivendi's Messier Fights to Survive As Directors Seek to Topple CEO
Wall Street Journal (paid subscription required.)
Rivals wait to pick up the pieces of Messier's crumbling Vivendi empire
French farce that just gets Messier and Messier for Vivendi
Universal disaster as Vivendi crumbles
City Comment: Excesses are universal
Boardroom coup ends Messier's reign at Vivendi
Accounts fears hit Vivendi shares
Messier pays the price for his American 'sell-out'
Messier's fall stirs Gallic pride
Another fine Messier
Tuesday, July 02, 2002