Vivendi chief Jean-Marie Messier has announced that Pierre Lescure - who has already been named COO of the future Vivendi Universal - will also be chairman of Universal Studios, which is to operate as a subsidiary of the new Canal Plus group, itself a 100% subsidiary of Vivendi Universal.

Seeking to alleviate fears that Canal Plus will lose its independence following the Vivendi-Seagram-Canal Plus merger, Messier has released a charter, personally addressed to Lescure and detailing Canal Plus' role and organisation within the future structure.

The charter was released July 5, on the same day as a meeting between Messier, Lescure and French broadcasting industry watchdog Conseil Superieur de l'Audiovisuel (CSA) to clarify how Canal Plus will satisfy French regulations once the merger is completed. The charter, and the CSA meeting, appear to have been designed to offer further proof that foreign interests are to fall into Canal Plus' hands and not the other way round.

In order to "guarantee the creativity, dynamism and development of Canal Plus", as well as its editorial independence, the new company will have a two-tiered managerial structure, comprised of a supervisory board, chaired by Messier, and a six-member executive board, headed by Lescure.

The new Canal Plus group, which regroups all of Vivendi Universal's film and television activities, will also - as a partner in Vivendi.Net and internet portal Vizzavi - "co-pilot" Vivendi Universal's internet ventures.