Did ex-Vivendi boss Jean-Marie Messier get convergence right? It's starting to look that way

Lee Crespi for TIME

Portrait of former Vivendi Universal CEO Jean-Marie Messier, at the offices of his consulting firm in central Paris, France on February 27, 2008.

The trademark tan has dimmed, and his voice softens when he recounts the tumultuous events surrounding his downfall as a corporate titan. But if former Vivendi Universal CEO Jean-Marie Messier no longer boasts the "master of the world" moniker, don't expect to find him repudiating his stint as an empire-building media tycoon either. "I still receive e-mails and get stopped in the street by young people saying 'You gave me the desire to form my own company,'" says Messier.

He followed that very desire in the months after his 2002 ejection from Vivendi in the depths of the tech bust. With...

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