EUROPEAN MEDIA: The famous five - Do you know just how much of a chronic shopaholic Jean-Marie Messier is? Campaign profiles five of the most influential people in European media


Steve Case once worked for Procter & Gamble. But working on Abound, a

hair conditioning towelette, was not for him, so he left after two years

to work as the manager of new pizza development for Pizza Hut. Even

though a career "testing" pizza sounds like a dream come true, Case

remained unfulfilled. He looked to his PC for comfort and chatted on

bulletin boards.

Today, the company he founded reaches 25.8 million subscribers and has a

clear mission, outlined on Case's own website: "We founded AOL with a

simple, but powerful mission - to build a global medium as central to

people's lives as the telephone or television ... and even more


Just as important, we were determined to build a medium that we could be

proud of - one that left no-one behind in the digital future we were


As if that wasn't achievement enough, AOL bought Time Warner for $150 billion at the dawn of the new millennium in an unprecedented deal

which saw Case's 15-year-old company claim a majority stake in a

77-year-old media stalwart. Not bad for a former pizza taster from



Vivendi is one of the few traditional media companies with cross-media

interests which has seriously embraced the new economy. Jean-Marie

Messier has played his aces at the right time with the right people and,

by doing so, has got rid of Vivendi's middle-aged spread.

The first step was last year's $34 billion purchase of Seagram

with its Universal Music Group. This year, the shopping cart was full

again, with Messier snapped up for $372 million

and is poised to be a major player in online music delivery. And the

44-year-old has not stopped there.

His latest deal was with Sony to launch Duet, which will facilitate

music delivery on WAP-enabled phones. Messier's vision, some say, is to

turn Vivendi Universal into a continental European version of AOL Time


While Vivendi may not be there just yet, there's no doubt that with the

company's plush new offices just down the road from the Arc de Triomphe,

boasting an ultramodern cybercafe, it is making its intentions perfectly



Roger Parry, referring to his past life in publishing, says his first

real job was "buying Maurice Saatchi's lunchtime sausage". These days,

he is described on Clear Channel's website as "the catalyst and pace

setter for change in More Group". Is this just corporate hype? Well, the

site claims Parry "turned a small domestic company into an international

force in three years". And the 48-year-old Parry was also credited for

the even bigger achievement of convincing the City of Clear Channel's


And to think he was once just a humble BBC journalist.

Following his stint at the Beeb, he swapped the world of public service

broadcasting for international management consulting by joining


He then joined the management team, which restructured the media buying

group Aegis, Carat's parent company. Parry first entered the outdoor ad

company More Group in 1995 and became chief executive in 1996. More

Group was bought by Clear Channel in June 1998 and Parry became its

chief executive.

Clear Channel Communications, which is the world's biggest radio,

outdoor advertising and live events company, now entrusts Parry with its

international division, covering Europe, Asia and Africa. His biggest

achievement this year was to establish a presence for Clear Channel in



Marjorie Morris' first job in media was taking dictation at the

Associated Press in Washington, DC in 1970, where she met her future

husband and business partner, Albert Scardino. Via a couple of

businesses she co-owned with her husband - including a shrimp boat and a

weekly newspaper which scooped a Pulitzer for its editorials penned by

Albert - the 54-year-old Texan is now one of the most powerful women in

European media.

Famous for being the first woman CEO of a British FTSE company in 1997

(she still is today), as well as for being chummy with her colleagues

(she starts memos to the company "Dear Everyone"), she revitalised

Pearson, largely by trimming off interests which were not core

activities and investing in educational publishing companies, the most

famous being Simon & Schuster.

Scardino, who was at The Economist between 1992 and 1997, has also been

responsible for implementing several deals during her reign at Pearson,

including the company's joint venture with Gruner & Jahr - Financial

Times Deutschland.

She is often described as "feisty", but describes herself as a warrior

and has often been the breadwinner in her marriage while her husband has

taken care of bringing up their three children. She supports Manchester

United football team.


Didier Bellens could be said to be an anomaly in European broadcasting:

someone who cares about what audiences want. Earlier this year, when the

French station M6 was showing Loft Story, the country's version of Big

Brother, Bellens stood up for showing "intimate" scenes and refused to

censor the programme, arguing that broadcasters should show audiences

what they want.

Still, as the head of Europe's largest TV and radio broadcasting and

production company, he must have an idea of what impresses 120 million

viewers and 25 million listeners in 11 countries. Perhaps his biggest

achievement was to see the UK terrestrial station Channel 5 enter

profitability. After a shaky start, the channel eventually broke even

earlier this year. But his reach in the UK also extends to production.

RTL controls Pearson TV, which makes The Bill as well as Neighbours.

Bellens is also managing that tricky balance of delivering to audiences

while also pleasing its shareholders. Bertelsmann bought a 30 per cent

stake in RTL from Belgium's Groupe Bruxelles Lambert, giving the company

a 67 per cent majority stake. But the progress doesn't stop there.

Bellens is keen to join the FTSE 100 index within the next year. And

when he turns his mind to something, there's no saying what might


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