Le Monde publisher removed from French group's board

15th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

The publisher of Le Monde, who complained of harassment by the prestigious French daily's new owners, was Wednesday removed from his post as president of the group's management board, the group said.

Eric Fottorino will be replaced by Louis Dreyfus, the director of a culture magazine owned by banker Matthieu Pigasse, one of three French business tycoons who last month took control of the prestigious newspaper.

Fottorino will continue in his role as publisher of the daily but "a new management team for the newspaper will be proposed in the first weeks of 2011," the group said in a statement.

The other two owners are Xavier Niel, an entrepreneur who shook up the French Internet market with cheap connection packages, and Pierre Berge, the rich partner of the late fashion guru Yves Saint-Laurent.

Berge has been appointed to head the supervisory board of Le Monde group, which includes a stable of magazines, the group's statement said.

Fottorino said in an email last week he believed the new owners' claims that they were backing Le Monde because they saw it as an important part of French life and wanted to work with its management to fix its disastrous finances.

But he said in the mail addressed to the tycoon trio that he now felt "betrayed" because they had kept none of their promises and instead were engaging in "managerial harassment."

Today about 280 journalists work for Le Monde, which has a circulation of about 300,000.

© 2010 AFP

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