Canal+ has relieved CEO Rodolphe Belmer of his duties and named executive VP and head of pay TV Maxime Saada as his replacement with immediate effect.
The French pay TV giant has also raised chief financial officer Grégoire Castaing to the group’s management board, which now comprises Saada, Castaing and Canal+ president Bertrand Méheut (pictured below right).
Belmer (pictured left) 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 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.