A new documentary shows one of Europe’s most powerful industrialists and EADS chairman, Arnaud Lagardère, under the thumb of a familiar tyrant: his future mother-in-law.
The Belgian television documentary is due out next week. The London Times reports that almost every time the camera crew showed up to film it, they were greeted by the omnipresent force of Maïté Paz-Foret (paywall), mother of Lagardère’s fiancé, a 22-year-old super model named Jade. Scenes show Madame Paz-Foret commanding the 51-year-old chairman of Europe’s largest aerospace company to sing the French national anthem at a football game and chiding him for wearing trousers that look too tight.
The French media has reported that executives at Lagardère, which Arnauld Lagardère inherited from his engineer father, are horrified by the documentary and concerned about their corporate image. Lagardère’s standing as EADS chairman is already shaky. He’s skipped meetings, including the one where he became chairman, and took the opportunity at one annual shareholder meeting to announce he had impregnated his girlfriend.
Lagardère Group is a massive conglomerate with large publishing holdings (including the Hachette Book Group), and also has a 7.5% stake in the Franco-German aerospace and defense company, EADS. Earlier this year Lagardère took the chairmanship amid investor concerns. The Economist reported that some executives considered him a “nincompoop” and a playboy. A video showing Lagardère and Jade Foret fondling each other at home, which went viral, exacerbated concerns. Someone close to EADS said:
In Germany any manager who shot such a video would be finished in business.
Lagardère said he regretted agreeing to be filmed and wouldn’t do it again. Yet for reasons unknown, he did exactly that. Only this time it’s more damaging. He’s shown flying to his girlfriend’s photo shoots in a private jet, and buying her a Porsche on a whim, and perhaps worse, being bossed around by his future mother-in-law.
She tells the London Times (paywall):
I have always had a fusional relationship with Jade. When Arnaud became her partner, he had to accept that she had a family.