French major Gaumont, which has seen its films struggle tomake a significant impact at the local box office over the past two years, hasannounced a re-organisation of its management structure.
The changes involve managing director Patrice Ledouxstepping away from the helm to concentrate on production while chairman NicolasSeydoux will play a less hands-on role.
From April 29, Seydoux, whose family is the company'smajor shareholder, will no longer hold the title of president of the board ofdirectors. The board will instead be made up of three members -current head ofworldwide marketing and distribution Franck Chorot, Sidonie Dumas head ofproduction and financial director Christophe Riandee.
In a statement Seydoux said he would take on the role ofmanaging director until the April general assembly and would then oversee theimplementation of strategies put in place by the new management. It appearslikely, however, that Seydoux will take over the presidency of the supervisoryboard and should be backed up by Antoine Gallimard president of publisherGallimard, producer Michel Seydoux (Nicolas' brother) and BertrandSiguier a member of the board of the Publicis Group, among others.
Patrice Ledoux meanwhile will turn his full attention toChris Nahon's upcoming Empire Of The Wolves based on the Jean-Christophe Grange novel as well as otherhigh-profile projects.
Gaumont has gone through a series of changes and growingpains over the past few years. The most recent announcement was a break withpartner Buena Vista International in distribution venture GBVI. As of July 1,Gaumont will join with Columbia to form Gaumont Columbia TriStar Films in orderto distribute films from the two majors.
The past years have seen some disappointments at thebox-office including Just Visiting and LovelyRita with the company announcing revenuesof Euros 70.2 million and profits of Euros 2.8 million for 2003. Those figures are healthier than 2002which saw losses of Euros 60.9 million and Euros 8 million in revenues andprofits respectively.
Gaumont noted that 2003's positive results werelargely down to DVD catalogue sales and two strong theatrical performers: EricLartigau's Mais Qui A Tue Pamela Rose' and Michel Boujenah's Father And Son. However, a Euros 9.9 million write down was alsoflagged for films that had failed to perform in 2003.
Separately, French mogul Vincent Bollore recently upped hisstake in Gaumont to 10.06% and is rumoured to be looking to become moreinvolved in media in general.