Canal+ CEO exits

French media group Vivendi has relieved Canal+ CEO Rodolphe Belmer (pictured) from the post amid controversy over the threatened cancellation of a satirical news program airing on the French pay-TV channel.
July 3, 2015

French media group Vivendi has relieved Canal+ CEO Rodolphe Belmer (pictured) of his responsibilities after 14 years.

The decision to remove Belmer was reached on the recommendation of Bertrand Méheut, chairman of Canal+ Group’s management board, following a meeting held by the company’s supervisory board earlier today (July 3).

Maxime Saada is to replace Belmer as company CEO, while CFO Grégoire Castaing has been selected to the Canal+ Group management board.

Saada, who joined the Canal+ Group in 2004, was upped in 2013 to executive VP of Canal+ Group and head of pay-TV. Castaing, meanwhile, joined Canal+ Group as its deputy director of auditing in 2007, before being tapped as director of financial services three years later.

Belmer’s departure comes on the heels of various media reports suggesting that Vivendi head Vincent Bolloré had intended to abandon the satirical puppet series Les Guignols de l’info following a 28-year run. The reports sparked public outcry in France, with many in the country’s TV and film industries criticizing the potential move.

Meanwhile, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal, a source “familiar with the matter” said that Belmer had fallen out of favor following tumbling subscription numbers over a two-year period at the pay-TV group. A source also told Reuters that the Guignols controversy had nothing to do with the CEO shuffle, and that the decision was based on eroding sales and profits.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.