PARIS – Edouard de Vesinne, who was appointed deputy CEO of Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp a year and a half ago, has been ousted from the company amid the lackluster performance of “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.”
De Vesinne, who was based in Paris, had been appointed to the position of deputy CEO by Marc Shmuger in April 2016. This was the first major appointment by Shmuger, who had just taken over as CEO following Christophe Lambert’s exit.
In a statement, EuropaCorp said the “shareholders’ board has decided to terminate the mandate of Edouard de Vesinne as deputy CEO of EuropaCorp effective immediately.”
The company then referred to De Vesinne’s own production vehicle, Incognita, which was co-developing and co-producing some of EuropaCorp’s French-language TV shows and films. “The shareholders’ board of EuropaCorp reckons that the production activities [both TV and film] of the company Incognita are no longer compatible with the tenure of Mr. de Vesinne as deputy CEO,” the statement said.
But ties between Incognita and EuropaCorp remain, despite de Vesinne’s ouster. EuropaCorp said it had reached a deal with Incognita to “pursue their partnership and the development of several ongoing TV projects” as well as “benefit from a first look on Incognita’s future TV productions.”
Before taking the job of deputy CEO of EuropaCorp, De Vesinne co-headed EuropaCorp Television with Thomas Anagyros and produced several high-profile series, such as “No Limit,” “Taxi Brooklyn” and “Taxi.”
De Vesinne previously served as head of film and drama production at the French network M6, after spending seven years with Polygram Group.
His exit could be one of the first casualties of the crash of Besson’s $180 million “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.” Although the movie has fared well in China, grossing an estimated $58.3 million since its Aug. 25 opening, “Valerian” has so far merely grossed $202 million worldwide – well below the film’s break-even point, which analysts believe is over $400 million globally.
EuropaCorp recently posted record losses of 119.9 million euros ($143 million) for the fiscal year ending March 31 and desperately needed “Valerian” to be a hit in order to bounce back in the black.