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Maxime Saada Appointed Chairman of Canal Plus Board; Vincent Bolloré Exits Supervisory Role

Maxime Saada Canal Plus Group
Eric DESSONS/JDD/SIPA/REX/Shutte

Canal Plus Group CEO Maxime Saada has been appointed chairman of the company’s board of directors, and is set to take full rein of the Vivendi-owned European film and TV powerhouse’s operations.

Saada will replace Jean-Christophe Thiery at the helm of the board of directors. Thiery will become chairman of the supervisory board of Canal Plus Group, replacing Vincent Bolloré, who remains Vivendi chairman.

Under Saada’s leadership, Canal Plus Group stabilized its money-losing pay-TV unit Canal Plus in France through the creation of new subscriber packages and alliances with telecom operators such as Orange. Saada is also responsible for successfully executing a cost-cutting plan which allowed Canal Plus Group to save $410 million in 2017.

Saada told Variety that his new position on the directors’ board will allow him to keep carrying out the company’s strategy, which he said has been paying off. The executive added that Bolloré decided it was time to leave the supervisory board of Canal Plus Group because the company is now on the right track strategy-wise. The pay-TV banner gained 1,000 subscribers during the third quarter of 2017, ending three straight years of declining numbers, and Saada said the upward trend was continuing during the first trimester 2018.

Upon being appointed chairman of Studiocanal in February, Saada, whose mantra is “buy less, own more,” also vowed to ramp up Canal Plus Group’s premium content production and ownership in both film and TV. The company recently announced the launch of an in-house film-TV drama production unit in France to own more IPs. The unit aims to produce for both Canal Plus and third-party buyers in and outside France under the Studiocanal umbrella.

Saada, who joined Canal Plus Group in 2004 and became CEO of the company in 2015, is also the driving force behind the launch of Canal Plus International and CNews channels in the U.S. on DirecTV.

Thiery joined Bolloré Group in 2001 and became chairman of the directors’ board of Canal Plus Group in 2015.