Vincent Grimond has left Vivendi Universal, the latest in a line of senior French executives to part with the troubled media concern.

Grimond, the former chairman and CEO of production and distribution division StudioCanal, moved over to Los Angeles in January 2001 following the Vivendi-Universal-Canal Plus tie-up under Jean-Marie Messier. With the title of senior executive VP at Universal Studio Group, he reported directly to Universal president Ron Meyer and was charged with linking up StudioCanal and Universal's production and distribution activities.

However, this transatlantic role proved difficult and the two divisions have effectively begun working more autonomously - particularly since the departure of Messier in the summer.

Grimond, who intends to remain active in the film industry sector, told Screendaily: "It has been a wonderful experience. I'm leaving with no regrets or rancor. I had the best of relationships with the Universal team. I have learned a lot, especially that there are some things that Hollywood will always do better than anybody else in the world, such as turning out blockbusters and distributing them the world over."

Canal Plus described Grimond's departure as amicable and said that both sides had agreed 'to explore opportunities for future cooperation'.

In the past six months a string of senior executives have left the embattled Vivendi Universal group, including Canal Plus boss Pierre Lescure and his second-in-command Denis Olivennes.