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Pathe Cinema Fires 40; More Changes Expected

Pathe Cinema announced the layoff of 40 employees – one-third of its workforce – in a move it calls part of a restructuring.

A company spokesman said many of the people pinkslipped are in low-level administrative and technical posts.

In effect, Pathe is moving operations from its Paris Francoeur location to Chargeurs headquarters at the Place de la Madeleine. The company also plans to shut down its Francoeur Studios, which had been rented to state-owned tv production house SFP, when the rental agreement expires in July.

Pathe, primarily an exhibition circuit, is one of France’s oldest producers and owner of an extensive film library. Aggressive capitalization of the library and renovation of its circuit are believed to be part of Pathe’s new strategy.

The layoffs came after the resignation of Pathe president Pierre Vercel, who was replaced by Jerome Seydoux, chairman of the parent company, Chargeurs. Chargeurs is part-owner of British sat company BSkyB, French film production company Renn and Gallic distributor AMLF. Seydoux has taken over day-to-day operations of Pathe.

The media-shy Seydoux has yet to reveal his plans for Pathe. Paris continues to resound with rumors that he will ultimately join forces with his brother Nicholas, owner and president of French major Gaumont. Pathe representatives were unavailable for comment.

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