Battle for Vivendi top job after corporate raider enters the ring

Oliver Smith
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FRENCH media giant Vivendi is facing a battle over who will be the company’s next chief executive after major shareholder Vincent Bollore threw his hat into the ring this weekend.

The French press reported over the weekend that Vivendi chair Jean-Rene Fourtou had wanted to pick Bertelsmann chief executive Thomas Rabe.

Les Echos, a daily French newspaper, reported on Saturday that Bollore – the company’s main shareholder with a 4.95 per cent stake – had not been happy with Fourtou’s pick and instead threw his hat into the ring.

Bollore, 61, is a French industrialist and chief executive of the Bollore conglomerate. Previously he was chief executive of France’s second largest advertising group, Havas, after mounting a coup against the chief executive.

A nomination committee is expected to discuss the topic next week, before a meeting of the supervisory board at the end of the month, Les Echos added.

A Vivendi spokesman declined to comment on the reports.