On Monday, Lagardère announced the appointment of Pierre Leroy as chairman and CEO of Hachette Livre, replacing longtime CEO Arnaud Nourry. Fabrice Bakhouche has been appointed deputy CEO.
The news comes just days after Nourry, among the most powerful people in French publishing, publicly criticized the suggestion that Lagardère's publishing group could be broken up or merged with Vivendi-owned rival Editis. In an interview with Le Monde last week, Nourry said that "a merger with Editis makes no strategic sense," warning that dismantling the publishing group should be avoided.
Vivendi owns a 26.7% stake in Lagardère, and is currently in a proxy battle with other shareholders—including, notably, the activist investment fund Amber Capital, which owns 20% of Lagardère—over the direction of the company. Hachette Livre, parent company of the Hachette Book Group, had total revenue of €2.4 billion in 2020, and represented more than half of Lagardère's overall revenue of €4.3 billion for the year. While the publishing business saw only a 0.4% dip in sales and an increase in profits, Lagardère's travel business took a huge hit in revenue and posted a deep operating loss.
Leroy has a long publishing pedigree. He is co-managing partner and secretary general of the Lagardère group as well as chairman of IMEC, the French institute for contemporary publishing archives; director of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France endowment fund; chairman of the jury of the Prix de la littérature arabe literary awards; and a former member of the jury of the Médicis literary prize.
Bakhouche joined Hachette Livre in 2017 having held various positions, notably media and digital advisor to the French prime minister and chief of staff to the country's minister of culture and communication.