Canal Plus CEO Rodolphe Belmer has been ousted from his post following a meeting today by the French pay TV giant’s Supervisory Board, on the recommendation of Bertrand Méheut, chairman of Canal Plus’ management board. Belmer will be replaced by Maxime Saada, who joined Canal Plus in 2001 and previously served as EVP of the Canal Plus Group and and head of Pay-TV.
The board also appointed Grégoire Castaing, Canal Plus CFO, to Canal Plus’ management board. It promises to be a summer of change at Canal Plus and its film subsidiary StudioCanal. Parent Vivendi is sitting on a war chest of up to $15 billion following a campaign of asset divestment by billionaire chairman Vincent Bollore that has left the company re-focused on media through its two main assets: Canal Plus and Universal Music Group.
Belmer had worked at Canal Plus for 14 years. He had come under pressure to maintain Canal’s subscriber base in the wake of losing out on sports rights to Qatar’s deep-pocketed beIN Sports. Canal has been moving increasingly into premium and exclusive English-language and international TV content as a way to make its offering more attractive to subs.
On a more strategic level, Vivendi is believed to be exploring the viability of establishing a pan-European OTT rival to Netflix and other on-demand platforms.