Exclusive: Vivendi CFO Capron to be named Veolia CFO - sources

Reuters

By Matthieu Protard and Leila Abboud

PARIS (Reuters) - The chief financial officer of Vivendi (VIV.PA), Philippe Capron, will move to the same post at Veolia Environnement (VIE.PA), a blow to the media and telecom group in a time of transition, four sources familiar with the situation said.

Spokesmen for both companies declined to comment on Wednesday.

The departure of Capron, who has been with Vivendi since 2007, will deprive the conglomerate of a key executive in the middle of a restructuring aimed at selling telecom assets and focusing more on media activities.

Vivendi is working on a spin-off and listing of its French telecom unit SFR next year when Capron would have had an important role explaining the deal to bond and equity investors.

Veolia, which specializes in waste and water services, will gain an executive to help it with an ongoing turnaround and debt reduction plan.

It had been looking for a finance chief since September when Pierre-Francois Riolacci announced that he would join Air France-KLM (AIRF.PA).

"Veolia is expected to announce the name of the new CFO on November 7 with the quarterly results, but it has not been finalized so it would be premature to announce now," said a source familiar with selection process.

Vivendi's shares fell 1.4 percent to 18.50 euros at 1544 GMT, while Veolia's were up 0.80 percent to 12.54 euros.

People familiar with Vivendi played down the impact of Capron's departure since the group has decided to split its telecom and media businesses, rendering the group CFO role obsolete.

As part of the reshuffle, Vivendi has restarted the search for a boss for its new media company, said two of the sources.

An earlier selection process fell apart in September because of dissension between board chairman Jean-Rene Fourtou and leading shareholder Vincent Bollore.

Both men now agree that Vivendi needs an executive to be the face of its media company, which after the split will consist of pay-TV operator Canal+, Universal Music Group and Brazilian telco GVT.

The newcomer will be tasked with developing the businesses, as well as carrying out acquisitions to grow. No leading candidate has emerged publicly and there is no deadline for an appointment.

(Additional reporting by Benjamin Mallet in Paris and Sophie Sassard in London; Editing by Paul Taylor and David Cowell)

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