A dramatic top-down purge at Bell Media, that swept out top executives Phil King (programming), Chris Gordon (radio and local TV), Adam Ashton and Charles Benoit (top man in Quebec) in August, then people like Discovery Channel head Paul Lewis and Quebec content chief Mario Clément in September, has now filtered down another level, and more managers are getting the boot.
They include the heads of specialty channels Canal Vie (Lyne Denault), Z (Jacques Mathieu) and CTV News Channel (Lisa Beaton), regional managers in Atlantic Canada (Mike Elgie), Abitibi (Marlène Trottier), Victoria (Kevin Bell), Peterborough (Steve Fawcett), Edmonton (Lloyd Lewis) and Windsor (Eric Proksch), and Louis Douville, the general manager of CTV Montreal. (Jean Martin, the manager for the Mauricie region, is also leaving, but that departure is being announced separately as a retirement.)
A Bell Media spokesperson said Martin Spalding, vice-president of radio operations and local sales in Quebec, would take over Douville’s duties. But an internal memo also listed Jed Kahane, CTV Montreal’s news director, as taking Douville’s reports “in the interim”. Those three words prompted a lot of speculation about who might be on the chopping block when the next round of cuts happen.
That is expected to be in about six weeks, which doesn’t exactly leave Bell Media employees in a relaxed state.
Douville, who grew up in Montreal, has been general manager of CTV Montreal since January 2012, taking over from Don Bastien. Before that he was general manager of CTV Ottawa for almost 11 years, and before that worked in sales at CTV stations in Edmonton and Saskatchewan. In all, he worked for CTV for 30 years.
He had recently taken over additional responsibilities, running the Bell Local (now Bell TV1) community channels in Montreal as well as Bell’s radio stations in the city.
On a personal level, I’ll add that Douville was a very good source, never ducking my phone calls, always helpful, always willing to explain the tough decisions and being honest about how things work, while other managers would try to avoid talking about bad news or find some way to obfuscate the issue. For that I’ll miss him.
Bell says these changes are necessary to remain competitive (even though it’s the largest media company in Canada) and operate efficiently. This despite the fact that Bell Media’s profits (before interest and taxes) increased to $734 million last year and $215 million in the last quarter.
UPDATE: Douville wrote a message to his friends on Facebook and forwarded it to me:
It reads like the script for the final episode of the television program The Amazing Race…
4 Provinces…7 Cities…7,266 Kilometres…33 years…Hundreds of amazing colleagues…Thousands of brilliant business partners… An incredibly supportive family…And one Amazing career !
This week my great adventure with Bell Media came to an end, and what a ride it has been !!!
I have been so fortunate to work in the field of my choice for so many years, growing through the ranks until I attained the goals I had set for myself.
I learned so much along the way, mostly about the importance of treating people like human beings, recognizing the contribution my colleagues made every day, and creating a work environment where people thrive and are happy to come to work.
Now it is time to look to the future and see what new and exciting adventures await me.
No matter what they are, I will always stay true to my values and I will always enjoy every minute of every day.
Thank you to all of you who have crossed my path over the years, you have truly enriched my life and made me a better man.
I look forward to seeing you soon !