Media executive Axel Duroux has been named CEO at troubled French film giant EuropaCorp. He takes over the role from founder Luc Besson, who is moving upstairs to the newly-formed role of non-executive chairman. The company said going forward Besson would focus on his responsibilities as Artistic Director, overseeing its creative output.
EuropaCorp, which has produced pics including the big-budget Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets and the successful Taken, Taxi and Transporter franchises, has been in financial difficulty for several years and lost $125M in 2018-19. However, it did finaize a rescue deal with NY-based Vine Alternative Investments earlier this year, allowing it to establish a substantial new credit line.
The deal was completed last month and the company is now looking to resume production after a multi-year hiatus.
Duroux will take up his role on September 1. Mostly recently, he was Senior Partner and Head of the Paris office at PR firm Brunswick Group. His previous positions include Executive Vice-President of Publicis Group, Chief Executive Officer of RTL Radio, and Managing Director of TF1 Group.
Besson has been at the center of controversy in recent years, including back in October when a French court re-opened an investigation into an alleged rape following new testimony of inappropriate behaviour from multiple women; Besson has maintained his innocence throughout. The filmmaker and EuropaCorp are also battling allegations of discriminatory dismissal against a former assistant, a claim they have denied.
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