Ambiel exits Studio Canal arm

Topper blames differences over co.'s organization, management

This article was corrected on May 8, 2002.

PARIS — The topper of Studio Canal TV production arm Expand ankled on Monday in another shakeup at the Canal Plus Group.

Dominique Ambiel blamed differences over the company’s organization and management.

He created and developed Expand’s audiovisual production activities before the group merged with Studio Canal’s TV production arm, Ellipse, in March 2000.

Since the merger, and Expand’s absorption into the Vivendi Universal empire in June 2001, Ambiel said he had seen a “profound modification in the physiognomy of the group’s operations.”

The media rumor mill is linking his resignation with the appointment of close friend, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, as France’s new prime minister, leaving him free to chase a communications post in the new ministry. In 1986-87, Ambiel was culture and communications minister François Leotard’s cinema and television advisor.

Expand is one of France’s largest producers of audiovisual programming, creating game and reality shows, cartoons, documentaries and fiction formats and employing 300 people. In 2000, the group had revenues of 152 million euros ($136.8 million).

Studio Canal topper, Richard Lenormand, will name Ambiel’s replacement next week.