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Canal+ ejects Belmer, ups Saada to CEO role

Rodolphe Belmer

Rodolphe Belmer

Canal+ has relieved CEO Rodolphe Belmer of his duties and named EVP and head of pay TV Maxime Saada as his replacement with immediate effect.

Canal+ has also raised chief financial officer Grégoire Castaing to the group’s management board, which now comprises, Saada, Castaing and Canal+ president Bertrand Méheut.

Belmer was previously viewed as being groomed to succeed Méheut. However, the latter has now been confirmed in his role. Parent company Vivendi has viewed Canal+’s recent results as disappointing, according to French press reports. Reuters cited an unnamed source as saying that there had been a failure to rejuvenate the company and halt a slide in sales under Belmer’s leadership.

Belmer’s ejection was preceded by reports that Canal+ was preparing to drop long-running satirical show Les Guignols de l’info, the continuation of which Belmer had supported.  The puppet-based show is reportedly disliked by Vivendi chairman Vincent Bolloré, a close ally of of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, a frequent target of the Les Guignols.

Bolloré’s spokesman has since told French press that there is no question of Canal+ dropping the show, but that its format in the future is still subject to discussion.

The possible suppression of Les Guignols led former Canal+ CEO Pierre Lescure to resign from the administrative board of Bolloré-owned advertising group Havas last week.