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Business Words in the News
Friday 05 July 2002
Vocabulary from the business news. Listen to and read the report then find explanations of difficult words below.

  Jean-Marie Fourtou
Vivendi's troubles
Summary: The troubled Franco-American company Vivendi Universal confirmed on Wednesday the resignation of its chief executive Jean-Marie Messier. Mr Messier had forged the world's second largest media and entertainment group out of what started as a French water company. But the enlargement was not a financial success. This report from Mark Gregory.
The News Listen  
  Jean-Marie Messier was not at the meeting that sealed his fate. He was en route for New York where he has a luxurious 18 million dollar apartment paid for by the company that has now dumped him. Mr Messier will be replaced as chief executive of Vivendi Universal by Jean-Rene Fourtou. The new man is regarded as a safe pair of hands, a company reorganisation expert who steered the French drugs group Rhone Poulenc back to financial health in the 1990s. He now has a job every bit as tough. Vivendi's share price has slumped eighty percent or so since the peak a couple of years ago. It's widely expected that the empire will be broken up into its constituent parts - almost as if Mr Messier's hectic dealmaking had never taken place. Vivendi owns some very valuable assets, including a Hollywood film studio and a French pay television network. But there were always doubts about the financial logic of putting the assorted parts together in one business. It's reported that Mr Messier negotiated an 18 million dollar pay off in return for giving up the top job. The boardroom revolt that led to his departure took place some days ago, but it took time to sort out the details. In keeping with his flamboyant, pugnacious personality, Mr Messier refused to go without a fight.

Mark Gregory, BBC

The Words Listen
  sealed his fate
determined what would happen to him


  company reorganisation expert
someone who knows how to restructure companies so that they become profitable health
made it profitable again

fell suddenly by a large amount

here, a group of companies controlled by one person

  hectic dealmaking
business agreements made at speed


  assorted parts
here, individual companies of different sizes and types

  boardroom revolt
attempt to remove the chief executive by members of the group of people who run the company

  Read more about this story  

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