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NEW VIVENDI CFO

Espinasse Faces Tough Task as VU
Begins Restructure
In a move to restore investor confidence in Vivendi Universal, the company's new management team has named a respected French TV executive as its new Chief Financial Officer.

Jacques Espinasse, COO at French satellite TV consortium TPS, hass been named CFO replacing Guillaume Hannezo, who was retained on a six-month contract as a special adviser to Vivendi's new Chairman/CEO, Jean-Renee Fourtou. VU said. Hannezo left his post less than a week ago. Hannezo had close ties to former Chief Executive Jean-Marie Messier, ousted in a boardroom coup two weeks ago.

Espinasse faces a daunting task as Vivendi copes with a cash crunch and an investigation by French regulators into its financial communications with investors. The company recently secured a $1 billion loan with banks and is said to be negotiating a second loan for $2 billion to $3 billion.

Espinasse had been tipped as Hannezo's most likely successor.

He joins the company at a critical time. Debt-ridden Vivendi is negotiating a second round of short-term financing with its creditor banks, vital for its survival.

Fourtou, who took over from Messier earlier this month, is reviewing Vivendi's strategy. Some have suggested the company could be dismantled as it seeks to lower its $17 billion debt through asset sales.

Espinasse, who holds an MBA from the University of Michigan, has held a number of senior management posts, including CFO of the Havas group starting in 1985 and Senior Executive VP of Havas when it was privatized in 1987.

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