Vivendi appoints new telecoms chief; strategic review underway - Mobile World Live

Vivendi appoints new telecoms chief; strategic review underway

21 AUG 2012

French conglomerate Vivendi appointed a new head for its telecoms business, a move the Financial Times said comes as the company “ponders large-scale asset disposals or spin-offs”.

It has appointed Jean-Yves Charlier, currently chairman of its Strategic Committee, as Senior EVP in charge of Telecoms Activities, noting that he will also “participate in the group’s strategic review”.

Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported that Jean-Rene Fourtou, chairman of Vivendi’s supervisory board, was looking to “de-emphasize” the telecoms business, which is investment-heavy and lacks the scale needed to succeed.

Vivendi also confirmed the appointment of Stephane Roussel as chairman and CEO of the French integrated operator, a position previously expected to be filled by former Vodafone executive Michel Combes.

According to Bloomberg, Combes decided not to join SFR after the ousting of Jean-Bernard Levy, chairman of the management board of Vivendi, due to the reduced chance he could take on the top job at Vivendi in the future – especially if telecoms is placed down the strategic priority list.

In a statement at the time, Vivendi said the departure of Levy was due to “a divergence of views on the strategic development of the group”.

SFR has faced increased competition in the French market in recent months, following the debut of low-cost operator Free Mobile into the market. In the first quarter of 2012, this business saw a 4.2 percent drop in revenue to EUR2.9 billion, although it was noted that this was due to the fact that “price cuts imposed by the regulators weighed heavily”.

SFR’s mobile revenue during the period fell by 6.8 percent to EUR2 billion, again impacted by regulatory actions.

In addition to SFR, Vivendi owns Maroc Telecom and Brazilian fixed-line player GVT.

Charlier has previously served as CEO of education company Promethean, as chairman and CEO of Colt Telecom “with responsibility for restructuring the European telecommunications operator”, and has also held positions with BT and Equant.

Vivendi is expected to report its first half 2012 results next week.


Steve Costello

Steve works across all of Mobile World Live’s channels and played a lead role in the launch and ongoing success of our apps and devices services. He has been a journalist...More

Read more