Jean-Christophe Thiery, chairman of the supervisory board of the Canal Group, provisionally took over the position of CEO of the Lagardère group on Tuesday April 30, after the indictment of Arnaud Lagardère in the context of investigations into the financing of personal expenses by its companies.

The Lagardère group repeats in a press release released Tuesday evening, formalizing the appointment of Mr. Thiery, aged 56, that Mr. Lagardère contests his “indictment as well as the provisional management ban imposed against him.” “He will file an appeal and appeal,” the group adds.

Lagardère was bought at the end of November by the media and publishing giant Vivendi, controlled by the family of billionaire Vincent Bolloré. This group, a former aeronautical and media empire, was built by Jean-Luc Lagardère, father of Arnaud. The latter inherited it in 2003, upon the death of the founder.

Lagardère has a very profitable network of stores in train stations and airports (Relay brands, duty free stores), famous performance halls (Casino de Paris, Folies Bergère, etc.), media (Europe 1, Le Journal du Dimanche, etc.), or Hachette Livres, the French number one in publishing.

Mr. Lagardère, 63, was indicted on Monday following a day of questioning by financial investigating judges. He was heard as part of a judicial investigation opened by the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) in April 2021 on the basis of a complaint from the Amber Capital fund, a report from the Financial Markets Authority (AMF) and another from the High Council of Auditors (H3C, now the High Audit Authority, H2A), according to a judicial source. The acts were allegedly committed between April 2009 and December 2022.


Arnaud Lagardère is suspected of having “financed his lifestyle and personal expenses by drawing on the funds of the Lagardère SAS and Lagardère companies” (LCM), a judicial source said. For several years, these companies “would have notably taken charge of expenses linked to the buildings he occupies, as well as an inheritance debt and numerous current account advances”, it was added.

The group, for its part, assured Tuesday that “this indictment essentially concerns facts concerning personal companies belonging entirely to it and not involving any company in the Lagardère group.” “With regard to Lagardère SA, the indictment of Mr. Arnaud Lagardère concerns only facts dating from 2018 and 2019, qualified as vote buying, abuse of power and dissemination of false or misleading information, facts which he strongly contests,” the group asserted.

This legal episode is the latest in a long series which has seen the Lagardère heir lose his aura and over the years close down the group founded in 1992 by his father. This empire was the result of the merger between the aircraft manufacturer Matra and the publisher Hachette.

In the decade following the death of Jean-Luc Lagardère, his son fell into debt, sold the EADS aerospace branch and sold several media outlets. In 2021, he renounced share sponsorship, a status created by his father which allowed them both successively to lead the Lagardère group with less than 10% of the capital, thus precipitating the dismantling of the family empire, completed in 2021. November by the takeover of Vivendi.

“We are now part of the Vivendi family. If I may say this personal word, we are joining the Bolloré family, which I find even more flattering,” said Arnaud Lagardère on April 25, during the annual general meeting of his group.