Lenormand Expand-ing

Exec o'sees board, Dutoit to manage day-to-day operations

PARIS — Studio Canal prexy Richard Lenormand will take over Vivendi Universal’s TV production arm Expand, replacing Dominique Ambiel, who ankled last week.

Christian Dutoit, founder and former director of Viv U’s iTelevision, was named managing director of Expand.

Lenormand’s position at StudioCanal already technically made him topper of Expand, but he will now also preside over the subsid’s board of directors. Dutoit will manage day-to-day operations.

Ambiel, who created and developed Expand, France’s leading producer of audiovisual programming, left due to differences over the company’s management after it merged with StudioCanal’s production arm Ellipse in March 2000.

The company said “the physiognomy of the group had profoundly changed” since the merger and that “at each of these steps, Dominique Ambiel had expressed his reservations but had bowed to the decisions of the majority shareholders and founders of the group.”

Just days after Ambiel quit, his close friend and newly elected prime minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, offered him a plum job as counselorfor the coordination of communications. Ambiel was television adviser under Culture and Communications Minister Francois Leotard from 1986-87.