Jean-Louis Lisimachio, longtime head of Hachette Livre, resigned last month as chief executive of the French publishing giant. In a release issued by Hachette parent company Lagardere, "strategic disagreements" between Lagardere chairman Arnaud Lagardere and Lisimachio were cited as the main reason for Lisimachio's departure. Published reports in Europe said the most serious conflict between the two men was over how to best integrate the publishing assets of Vivendi Universal Publishing into Hachette. Arnaud Nourry, director of Hachette's educational publishing division Hatier, has been named to succeed Lisimachio.
Meanwhile, the European Commission has until June 5 to decide whether it will approve the purchase of VUP's European publishing assets by Lagardere. There was widespread support for the Lagardere purchase when it was first announced, since the deal will maintain French ownership of the publishing units. But since the agreement was first announced last fall, there has been growing concern that the merger would give Lagardere too big a share of the French publishing market.