Max Guzzini Exits France's NRJ

Max Guazzini has unexpectedly stepped down as president/CEO of Paris-based radio company NRJ Group. He will be replaced by director general Jean-Charles Mathey.

Max Guazzini has unexpectedly stepped down as president/CEO of Paris-based radio company NRJ Group. He will be replaced by director general Jean-Charles Mathey.

Guazzini will also stop serving as NRJ Group's director general of programming in June. No indication has been given as to who will succeed him in that role.

In an announcement issued Wednesday (April 7) to NRJ staff, Guazzini said he was aware that his departure "may surprise" some colleagues, but added that he had given "considerable thought" to his decision, made after 22 years with the broadcaster.

Although he will remain a shareholder in NRJ, Guazzini says he will not retain operational functions. Some of his colleagues are understood to have proposed that he stay on as a VP of the group's advisory committee.

Guazzini is widely considered the most influential media personality in France. Together with Jean-Paul Baudecroux, NRJ chairman of the supervisory board, Guazzini spearheaded NRJ's evolution from humble beginnings in 1981 to France's leading commercial music radio network and second-largest radio group.

NRJ operates four national networks: leading top-40 station NRJ, AC Chérie FM and the Gold Nostalgie and Comedy Rire et Chansons stations. International expansion started in 1988; the company is now present in nine European countries.

NRJ is traded on the Paris stock exchange market, but Baudecroux controls the majority of shares. In 2003, NRJ had sales of nearly €300 million ($365 million).
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