Le Monde | • Updated | By
Man of influence multiple lives, bagman of the Socialist Party, Chief of Staff and executor of François Mitterrand, André Rousselet is died Sunday, May 29 at the age of 93.
absolute fidelity to the former President of the Republic, this friendship has also allowed it to become a savvy businessman and consolidate its businesses. He thus transformed G7 taxi company into a highly profitable empire. Or founded in 1984, at age 62, Canal +, the first pay-TV channel in France. Also in building and protecting, through its political connections and his business acumen, solid monopolies like fortresses. His only unsuccessful attempt was that of becoming a media owner. He was also interested in contemporary art funding, quite discreetly, the Galerie de France.
Tanned throughout the year, high forehead, oval face, piercing eyes, André Rousselet like a sculpture by Alberto Giacometti. He exuded a presence of condottiere. Sometimes deliciously funny, charming, mischievous eye, caustic humor, he could change dramatically all to become icy and a final cruelty. Capable of launching a line if injuring an opponent that left him speechless. Two sides of a complex character, bossy, arrogant, that all its employees have always called “President”. With a fascination mixed with fear.
He was born on October 22, 1922 Nancy and her family moved to Paris ten years later. Workaholic, his father, Marcel Rousselet, senior judge writes a specific number of lively pen of law remained classics for students. Brother André Rousselet, Jean, very bright, became a renowned pediatrician, author of a book deliciously provocative title Allergy to work . André Rousselet is not he, far from it, a gifted student but still wins his BA in philosophy option in 1940 in Limoges, since his family had to leave their apartment was bombed.
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André Rousselet did not hide his family that he was Pétain to 16, c is what was later approached Robert Hersant and also allowed him to better understand François Mitterrand. Inscribed in law, André Rousselet is tempted by the experience of Uriage, in late 1942, where he made a flying visit before returning to Paris prefer to spend his license fee. To avoid compulsory labor service (STO), his father found him a job in Alsace that will not last. Picked up by the Germans, André Rousselet is yet shipped in a small German town where he remained captive for eighteen months working in a factory and sleep in barracks. Back in Paris in 1944, after the Liberation, he completed his law degree. But instead of passing the bar, André Rousselet passes the integration support to the prefectural administration, even before the contest ENA is created.
He gets his first assignment in Ariege and in the Aube before being appointed sub-prefect in the Gers. It is at Pointe-à-Pitre in Guadeloupe – where he falls in love and where is born his daughter Evelyne – in 1952 he forged the reputation of incorruptible sub-prefect. This official terminates an electoral fraud scheme operated by a local glory, Maurice Satineau. This achievement does not improve his career since placardisé in Indre, Issoudun. When François Mitterrand, just installed Beauvau place in June 1954 looking for a young sub-prefect to support him in his office, the nomination of André Rousselet is selected as default. Maurice Satineau was indeed a sworn enemy of François Mitterrand. This will be the beginning of a friendship with flawless President USDR and also with his chief of staff, Georges Dayan. Notably, André Rousselet is recruited by the June 1954 Sulphur John Paul Martin, a great friend of René Bousquet.
The career of André Rousselet approaches the François Mitterrand. His love too. December 11, 1964, the sub-prefect marries Catherine Angoulême Rogé, whose father was a friend of François Mitterrand. They had three son, Nicolas, Philippe and Olivier, died days after birth.
André Rousselet was discovered businessman talents, late, and almost by default. At 36, he has to stop temporarily to his political ambitions. He entered through the back door at Simca, then the first French carmaker held an iron hand by Henri-Théodore Pigozzi. Cramped in a menial job, André Rousselet offers to buy the G7, which lost 150 million francs, the Simca boss. First at the head of 150 taxis, it will, for a very modest investment, hold 2000 after the G7 divided into seven entities and sold the shares at a high price to six members.
Canal Splash Adventure
At the time, just like water, electricity, television – which require the award of concessions, licenses or frequencies – the taxis can not thrive in the shade of public power. André Rousselet shares the same corporate interests that its competitor in taxis, Pierre July gray eminence of Georges Pompidou. Legislative nudges governments of both right and left promote their businesses. Thus, in 1982, when André Rousselet occupies the chief of staff according to François Mitterrand, the fuel will be zero-rated for taxis. In fifteen years, from 1985 to 2000, the price of plates of these vehicles is gone.
The G7 is diversifying, with the resumption of its competitors Taxis Bleus and still grows in road transport , storage or harbor tugs Bees. Even the Galerie de France – Andre Rousselet entrusted to Catherine Thieck, which breathes a taste for contemporary art. To further develop his personal empire, he acquires Ada car rental company in 1994, which will experience ups and downs. This frenzy of expansion is halted by the failure of the recovery of the shipping company CGM.
Start a pay TV in the 1980s seems a far fetched idea, especially since the small screen definitely the boot of political power. Canal + The adventure will be born in the greatest skepticism at Havas. François Mitterrand placed his friend in the head of this company publque, quite opaque in its operation. André Rousselet makes no confidence in the small development team (Leo Scheer, Antoine Lefebure, Marc Tessier, Jacques Driencourt …). She worked on a fourth chain project, encrypted, wireless, toll-based film and entertainment. André Rousselet will make his. It debauchery Pierre Lescure d’Antenne 2 but has all the trouble to gather around the table. Still, the chain launched November 4, 1984
The beginnings are challenging and Canal +. – Nicknamed Canal Splash – almost disappeared with the arrival of two new private channels and an armada of local channels . The money pit deepens, the bankruptcy threat is real. Mitterrand will save his last, against the advice of his prime minister, Laurent Fabius, and that of the head of Schlumberger, Jean Riboud, who dreamed of recovering the frequency into a CBS to French.
“Edward killed me”
the great strength of Canal + is to create and defend a dominant position in pay-TV, selling expensive subscriptions (six times more than its US counterparts) by directly financing the cinema and buying the rights of sports broadcasts and movies pronographiques character. The chain is also enhanced by controlling the closed standard of its decoders. André Rousselet created in less than ten years an international broadcaster envied, very profitable, diversified into specialty channels, audiovisual production and film. Some adventures, such as investment in the US company for film production Carolco or Tele Più, its Italian chain, however, prove disastrous.
In 1994, while Carignon law allows a single shareholder to increase the ceiling of participation from 25 to 49% in the private channels, André Rousselet did not see coming his ouster. Havas, Générale des Eaux and Société Générale lock a pact that marginalize it. The CEO of Canal + noisily resigned from the Havas Board of Directors. He published in Le Monde a forum titled “Edward Killed Me,” in the form of indictment against the Prime Minister in place, Edouard Balladur, having just resigned from the presidency of Canal +. Pierre Lescure, he chose to stay.
After trying unsuccessfully in 1976 to launch a sports magazine and redeem France Soir , André Rousselet comes to the press after smashing his departure Canal +. It invests in the daily Infomatin in 1994 with the intention of opposing Edouard Balladur, in the race for the 1995 presidential A total lack of opposition to the editor, and the experience eventually a financial fiasco. The newspaper filed for bankruptcy on 8 January 1996. On the day of the death of François Mitterrand.