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Mismanagement Led to the Downfall of Vivendi Universal

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Abstract

Starting with a water company, the French Compagnie Générale des Eaux, which was formed under the reign of Napoleon III in the mid-nineteenth century, Jean-Marie Messier, the company’s upstart CEO, built on sand a mobile-phone conglomerate. The drama has been played out in the setting of a globalized, industrial empire. After the crash, the fired CEO blamed his downfall on external factors such as:

  • rivalries within the French business élite

  • the bursting of the dot-com bubble, and

  • mistakes made by other people who could not share his vision.

All but forgotten was the fact that the company’s liquidity crisis in 2002 led to its downfall. Vivendi Universal’s chief executive who, at his time of passing glory was nicknamed J6M — Jean-Marie Messier, Moi-Même, Maître du Monde — mishandled not only the firm he led and its many wild acquisitions, but also the company’s debt by taking on too many short-term liabilities.

Keywords

  • Corporate Governance
  • Mobile Telephony
  • Water Company
  • Financial Account Standard Board
  • Digital Subscriber Line

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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  • DOI: 10.1057/9780230005907_7
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© 2004 Dimitris N. Chorafas

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Chorafas, D.N. (2004). Mismanagement Led to the Downfall of Vivendi Universal. In: Rating Management’s Effectiveness. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230005907_7

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