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VU CFO TO STEP DOWN

Hannezo to Resign Following Reports of Vivendi’s Dire Cash Situation

Vivendi Universal CFO Guillaume Hannezo intends to resign following recent revelations that the media and utility conglomerate's liquidity position is much worse than thought.

Hannezo, one of the most trusted lieutenants of ousted Vivendi Chairman Jean-Marie Messier, has been "discredited" by the July 3 disclosure of Vivendi's dire cash situation, which contradicted the rosy assessment the company had given of its finances until then, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Hannezo is expected to remain at Vivendi for a short period of time until the company's new chairman, Jean-Rene Fourtou, finds a replacement for him.

Through a Vivendi spokesman, Hannezo said: "It's normal for the new management of a company to consider appointing a new financial director. I will continue to work constructively with the new management for as long as they believe I can contribute."

Last week, France's stock-market watchdog, the Commission des Operations de Bourse, raided Vivendi's headquarters in Paris as part of an investigation into the company's financial disclosures. One of the agency's key concerns is whether Vivendi's former management and its board failed to give investors an accurate picture of the company's short-term cash position.

New Vivendi director Claude Bebear, who is heading a new financial committee of Vivendi's board, is leading the search for a new finance chief. Bebear, the influential chairman of French insurance giant AXA, was instrumental in toppling Messier and getting his friend, Fourtou, appointed in his place.

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