Billionaire Bollore replaced by son Cyrille as CEO of family conglomerate

PARIS (Reuters) - French tycoon Vincent Bollore moved closer to full retirement on Thursday after his eponymous group said his 33-year old son Cyrille would replace him as chairman and chief executive.

The 66-year old billionaire, who has built up his fortune through shrewd investments and creeping control methods over four decades, will not seek to renew his mandate as board member of the company, the Bollore group added.

The businessman pledged to hand over his businesses, which span from transportation and logistics to media and electric batteries, to his four children by Feb. 17, 2022, the date that will mark the group’s bicentenary.

“He’s just moving one step further in the succession plan that he has set up for himself,” a source close to the matter said. Bollore will keep control of the listed group via a private holding company, Financiere de l’Odet.

The move comes just a month after French media giant Vivendi, which Bollore controls, said the billionaire would be replaced by Cyrille in April as board member.

Last year, he left the chairmanship of Vivendi, which owns Universal, the world’s top music label, to his eldest son Yannick.

Bollore was put under formal investigation last April over allegations of corruption in West Africa - allegations which the company denies.

By anointing Cyrille as head of the conglomerate, Bollore made clear his second son will take the reins of the family interests when he retires.

Separately, the group said its full-year core operating profit jumped by 25 percent at constant scope and exchange rates to 1.30 billion euros ($1.47 billion), on revenue of 23 billion euros, mainly driven by the performance of Universal.

(This story fixes typo in second paragraph)

Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain and Gwenaelle Barzic; editing by Michel Rose