Conflict with chief exec prompts departure

Gallic commercial broadcaster TF1’s second-in-command Axel Duroux ankled on Friday after less than six weeks in the post, as conflict with CEO Nonce Paolini escalated.

TF1 blamed the split on “strategic differences regarding the management of the company.”

Duroux, who was CEO of RTL in France and a member of the supervisory board of broadcaster M6, was tapped in June to support Paolini’s efforts to diversify TF1 and strengthen management.

His appointment followed news that ad revenue at TF1’s flagship channel was down 27% to E321 million ($427 million) in the first quarter of 2009.

Shortly after Duroux came aboard on Sept. 15, the French press started to report that he and Paolini were at each other’s throats. According to reports, TF1’s principal shareholder Martin Bouygues asked Duroux to focus on programming and let Paolini handle the group’s strategy — an attempt to defuse the tension that obviously failed.

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