Vivendi Names Promethean’s Charlier to Oversee Telecoms Units

Vivendi SA, Europe’s biggest media and telecommunications company, named board member Jean-Yves Charlier to lead its telecommunications businesses as it considers an overhaul of the company structure.

Charlier, 48, will take over the role in October and participate in the strategic review of the business, the Paris-based company said today in a statement. Charlier will step down as a member of Vivendi’s supervisory board and from his position as chief executive officer of Promethean World Plc as sales at the British maker of electronic equipment for classrooms slump.

Charlier will oversee all Vivendi’s telecommunications assets, including domestic operator SFR and the Brazilian phone carrier GVT. Vivendi hired Rothschild and Deutsche Bank AG to study strategic options for GVT, two people familiar with the matter said this month. Stephane Roussel, the current CEO of SFR who will remain in his position, is set to set to start a cost-cutting program to reduce expenses by as much as 800 million euros through 2013.

Vivendi is re-evaluating its businesses as Chairman Jean- Rene Fourtou looks to overhaul the company’s structure and restore investor confidence after the stock fell to a nine-year low in April. Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings have said that Vivendi’s debt rating may be cut unless it reduces liabilities.

Fourtou has taken over overseeing strategy since Chief Executive Officer Jean-Bernard Levy was ousted in June. The Vivendi chairman is interested in exploring a de-emphasis of the group’s telecommunications businesses, which he believes require too much investment to be successful and lack scale, people familiar with the matter said in June. Vodafone Group Plc’s Michel Combes had been due to take over as SFR chief before Levy was ousted.

Charlier, who had been CEO of Promethean since 2007, is quitting the British company after the stock declined as much as 60 percent so far this year.

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