Bollore says not a candidate for Vivendi CEO job

Tue Sep 10, 2013 2:39pm EDT
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By Leila Abboud and Gwénaëlle Barzic

PARIS (Reuters) - Vivendi's (VIV.PA: Quote) largest shareholder Vincent Bollore said on Tuesday he was not seeking the chief executive job at the media and telecoms group, paving the way for a resolution of a boardroom tussle.

Bollore had clashed with Vivendi chairman Jean-Rene Fourtou over a plan to choose a new chief executive, a source earlier told Reuters.

The company is in the middle of a shake-up that includes asset sales to streamline its diverse group of businesses built up during an acquisition spree in the late 1990s.

The row over the CEO appointment marks the first time Bollore has openly clashed with Fourtou and used his influence as Vivendi's largest shareholder. Bollore had previously backed the management's strategy and advised patience on asset sales.

Fourtou has been leading the restructuring since he forced out the previous CEO Jean Bernard Levy in early 2012. Jean-Francois Dubos, a Vivendi veteran, is chief executive of the management board.

Bollore, a French industrialist and investor, floated the idea of his own candidacy for the CEO job last week, potentially derailing the CEO recruitment process.

Since then intermediaries have been trying to broker a deal between the two men ahead of a Wednesday board meeting.

Under the terms being discussed, Bollore would withdraw his CEO bid and Fourtou would agree a timetable to step aside as chairman, a person familiar with the situation said.   Continued...

Vincent Bollore, CEO of investment group Bollore, stands by Autolib' electric cars during the inauguration of the the Autolib' service in Paris December 5, 2011. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier