All Change at the Top for France’s Thomson

26 July 2004

French media services and equipment group Thomson is preparing for a management shake-up.

Charles Dehelly will step down as ceo to become managing director. His shoes will be filled by Frank Dangeard, currently non-executive chairman of Thomson and second in command at France Telecom. According to Thomson, the changes underscore its shift of emphasis from consumer electronics to the provision of services to media groups.

This strategy was introduced in 2000 with the launch of Thomson's Digital Media Services unit, and sealed this month with the operational integration of its loss-making TV and DVD manufacturing activities into a joint venture with Chinese rival TCL.

DMS provides digital video networking systems for the secure delivery of content from studio to the consumer. These focus on encoding, hosting, digital rights management, navigation and search, personalization and metrics.

In addition, Thomson plans to buy back $400 million (€329m; £218m) of its own shares and will make a tranche available to its workforce. It is also selling a $500m stake -- 7.5% of its share capital -- to US private equity firm Silver Lake Partners.

The group expects these moves, allied to its management makeover, to be reflected in its share price.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff