Lagardère Group Chairman Resigns 'For Personal Reasons'
Financial Times (12/05/19) Pooler, Michael
Citing personal reasons, Xavier de Sarrau has resigned as chairman of the supervisory board of Lagardère Group (MMB), a position he had held since 2010. De Sarrau will remain a member of the supervisory board and be replaced as its chairman by Patrick Valroff, who has served on the board for about 10 years. The development comes as the French group crosses swords with Amber Capital, a London-based hedge fund that recently became the group's third-largest shareholder by increasing its stake to 6.8%. Lagardère has shrunk considerably under the leadership of Arnaud Lagardère, who took over the group after the sudden death of his father Jean-Luc Lagardère in 2003. Amber has criticized the firm's corporate governance and tried to oust de Sarrau as chairman at its last annual shareholder meeting, which failed. In the past Amber has pointed to what it sees as a breach of independence at Lagardère's supervisory board. Valroff, the new chairman, has strong links with Crédit Agricole (CRARY), the main lender to Arnaud Lagardère's personal holding company, Lagardère Capital & Management. LC & M, through which Arnaud Lagardère holds a 7.3% stake in Lagardère, had €204 million of debt at the end of 2017, which exceeds the current value of his shares in the group that bear his family's name. In October a French commercial court demanded Arnaud Lagardère publish a decade of annual accounts for LC & M, another of Amber's demands. Arnaud Lagardère has defied the court order and is appealing the decision. Meanwhile, four members of Lagardère’s supervisory board have their mandates coming up for renewal by shareholders next year, and Arnaud Lagardère's own mandate as the group's managing partner is up for renewal by the supervisory board in March 2021.
Read the article