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FOURTOU TO BARRY DILLER: HELP!

Vivendi Universal Entertainment Head To Serve As VU Interim Co-Chief Exec
Barry Diller has been asked by Vivendi Universal chief Jean-Rene Fourtou to step up to the role of interim co-chief executive to help sort out Vivendi Universal’s problems, as the ultimate show-business outsider reaches out to the ultimate show-business insider for assistance, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Fourtou, a former pharmaceutical executive known for his fiscal abilities, has no experience in the entertainment sector, while Diller, who has run studios and networks, is known as a consummate dealmaker and is well regarded on Wall Street. Due to Vivendi’s current financial and image problems at the corporate level, Fourtou is asking Diller to step up to help assuage investors while the pair work on the problems.

Diller, who became head of Vivendi Universal Entertainment when Vivendi bought his USA Network assets, has long been rumored to be taking a larger role, possibly as head of an entertainment spin-off. It has been unclear whether Doug Morris Universal Music Group would be part of such a new company, but Diller has previously said he doesn't wish to oversee a music company.

But following Diller’s elevation, Fourtou is expected to promote video game division chief Kenneth Cron to VUE COO, and UMG may be added to his purview in the reshuffling, according to the Times. That would give Cron, who joined the company last year when it bought his Uproar game company, oversight of movies, television, cable, music and theme parks.

UMG will continue to be run by Morris, while Universal Pictures will continue to be run by Ron Meyer, the Times says.

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