Canal Plus Head of Cinema to Leave Amid Executive Shake-Up [UPDATED]

Vivendi Chairman Vincent Bollore - H 2015
AP Images

Vivendi Chairman Vincent Bollore - H 2015

Her resignation is the latest departure from the French pay TV giant as Vivendi chairman Vincent Bollore strengthens his hold on the company.

Canal Plus’ director of cinema Nathalie Coste-Cerdan is the latest top executive at the French pay TV giant to resign amid a major shake-up.

The company named Didier Lupfer as her replacement. He previously co-founded production company One World Films and before heading up production and development at Ubisoft Motion Pictures.

The dismissal of Coste-Cerdan is the latest in major changes spearheaded by Vincent Bollore, head of parent company Vivendi.

On Sept. 3, Bollore let go Canal Plus management board chair Bertrand Meheut and replaced him with a close ally, Jean-Christophe Thiery, and took on the role as chairman of the supervisory board of Canal Plus himself.

Bollore also dismissed Celine Pigalle, the managing editor of Canal Plus group, and Cecilia Ragueneau, head of 24-hour news channel iTele, on Sept. 4. Thiery will also be responsible for changes at that channel, and Guillaume Zeller was named editorial director.

In July, Ara Aprikian, director of channels D8, D17 and iTele, left the group. Bollore subsequently renamed the channels C8, C17 and CNews

The executive shifts are the latest move in Bollore’s plan to strengthen his grip on the conglomerate’s media properties and transform the former telecom company into an international media and content powerhouse. Bollore seeks to create synergies with other Vivendi properties, such as Universal Music Group (UMG), event ticketing company See Tickets and its latest acquisition and YouTube competitor DailyMotion.

Vivendi has sold off many of its telecom assets in recent years, as well as a stake in video game maker Activision Blizzard. It has a massive cash war chest that Bollore is looking to use to build his media and content business.

The changes at Canal Plus signal he will steer the pay TV company into more content production and distribution, and Vivendi has said it plans to grow its English- and Spanish-language films and programs.

Pay TV giant Canal Plus has been a major financier behind French films, pre-purchasing rights that amounted to a total of $175 million (€157 million) in films in 2013 alone.

[Updated 9/8/2015 11:08 a.m. to reflect Didier Lupfer's appointment.]