Jean-Marie Messier

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Jean-Marie Messier
Born (1956-12-13) 13 December 1956 (age 66)
Alma materÉcole Polytechnique, ÉNA

Jean-Marie Messier (born 13 December 1956) is a French businessman who was chairman and chief executive of the multinational media conglomerate Vivendi (formerly Vivendi Universal) until 2002. He is also frequently referred to by the nickname "J2M" and "J6M", based on his initials.[1][2]

Business career[edit]

After studying at the École Polytechnique from 1976 to 1980, and then at the École nationale d'administration between 1980 and 1982, Messier held several posts at the French Economy Ministry, including a post as technical counselor for privatization under Édouard Balladur, during the 1980s, before moving to investment bank Lazard Frères in 1989. He established the boutique bank Messier Partners.[3] After taking up the chairmanship of the utility company Compagnie Générale des Eaux in 1994,[4] he oversaw its diversification into the media sector and its 2000 merger with Canal+ and Seagram (owners of Universal Studios) to form Vivendi Universal.[5]

Forced resignation, and dispute over apartment[edit]

Messier was forced to resign from his position with Vivendi in July 2002,[6] after the company posted a non-cash loss of 13.6 billion euro ($US 11.8 billion) during 2001. During his time as CEO of Vivendi, Messier used corporate funds to buy a $17.5 million apartment for his personal use at 515 Park Avenue at 60th Street in New York City, the swank Arthur Zeckendorf development that was home to Senator Jon Corzine for a time. After he was fired, Messier tried to claim the apartment as part of his severance package, but was rebuffed.[7] However, he did receive 23.4 million dollars in severance from his former employer, Vivendi.[8] Messier then relocated to New York City to work as a business consultant.[9]

Prosecution and conviction[edit]

Messier was put on trial in France in 2011 and was found guilty of misappropriation of company funds and divulging misleading information when he headed Vivendi. He appealed the decision, and in 2014 the court overturned Messier's conviction on charges of misleading investors but upheld the conviction on charges of misuse of corporate funds.[10]


  1. ^ One variant being "J6M" which stands for "Jean-Marie Messier Moi-Même-Maître-du-Monde" (Jean-Marie Messier, Myself Master of the World), an alliterative reference to his alleged great power during his time as chairman of Vivendi, coined by satirical show Les Guignols de l'info (which airs on French television channel Canal+, owned by Vivendi).
  2. ^ "BBC News | Business | The rise and fall of Jean-Marie Messier". Retrieved 2017-06-21.
  3. ^ "Iota's high connections in Paris". Africa Energy Intelligence. 5 March 2013. Archived from the original on 16 November 2020. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  4. ^ Executives, Corporate. "Jean-Marie Messier". Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  5. ^ Neligan, Myles (2002-07-02). "Profile: Jean-Marie Messier". BBC News: Business. BBC. Retrieved 2006-03-14.
  6. ^ "French court reduces Jean-Marie Messier's sentence". Financial Times. May 19, 2014. Retrieved 2017-06-21.
  7. ^ Johnson, Jo and Orange, Martine, The Man Who Tried To Buy The World: Jean-Marie Messier and Vivendi Universal, Pg 238
  8. ^ Sorkin, Andrew (July 1, 2003). "Arbitrators Say Vivendi Owes Messier $23.4 Million". New York Times. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  9. ^ Johnson, Jo. "Lunch with the FT: Jean-Marie Messier: Antoinette Messier". Financial Times. Financial Times. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
  10. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (December 7, 2020). "Vivendi's Shareholder Securities Fraud Lawsuit Delayed to Early 2021". Variety.

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