One of France's most important businessmen has admitted his regret about a video in which he cozied up to his 20-year-old girlfriend.

"/> One of France's most important businessmen has admitted his regret about a video in which he cozied up to his 20-year-old girlfriend.

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Lagardere: sexy video was ‘ridiculous’

One of France's most important businessmen has admitted his regret about a video in which he cozied up to his 20-year-old girlfriend.

Lagardere: sexy video was 'ridiculous'

The video, which provoked much mirth in France, showed 50-year-old Arnaud Lagardère striking a series of provocative poses with Jade Foret, a well-known Belgian model and TV presenter. An ambient music track in the background completed the mood.

The film was shot as the two were being photographed for top-selling Belgian newspaper Le Soir.

In the interview on Tuesday with French business daily Les Echos, Lagardère said he wouldn’t be caught out again. 

“When you have a camera in front of you that’s filming you while you’re being photographed, it’s difficult to say you’ve been trapped,” he said. “If I’d known it would be distributed in the way it was, I wouldn’t have accepted”

Despite the embarrassing film, which Jade Foret herself described as “kitsch”, the two are still an item.

“As for my relationship with my fiancée,” he said, “I’m really happy about it.”

Lagardère heads up a huge media, publishing and retail empire that also has a stake in aircraft manufacturer EADS, which it plans to sell. The company was founded by his father, Jean-Luc, who died in 2003.

In the interview he rejected claims that he has not been sufficiently devoted to the business.

“I have lived with and for my group since I was tiny,” he said. “I’ve personally invested everything I have in this business. To accuse me of being someone who hasn’t invested enough in this company or who doesn’t spend enough time on it … that’s like the video: ridiculous!”

Lagardère was nevertheless prepared to accept that he is, perhaps, an unusual type of business leader.

“Perhaps I am an atypical boss, different,” he said. “Big deal!”

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Airbus-maker EADS set to cut 1,000 French jobs

Some 1,000 jobs are set to be lost in France, after European aerospace giant and the maker of Airbus aircraft, EADS announced on Monday that it would be cutting some 5,800 European posts from its defence and space division.

Airbus-maker EADS set to cut 1,000 French jobs
An Airbus A350, made by aerospace giant EADS, which on Monday announced the loss of 1,000 French jobs. File Photo: Eric Cabanis/AFP

The 1,000 layoffs, part of a major restructuring in the face of falling orders, will take place over the next three years, French union Force Ouvrière said in a statement.

The job cuts will also affect the group's work force in Germany, France, Spain and Britain, the company said in a statement.

The news came after a meeting of its European works council with chief executive Tom Enders, whose bold plan to merge the conglomerate with Britain's defence group BAE Systems was torpedoed last year with a surprise veto by Germany.

"We need to improve our competitiveness in defence and space – and we need to do it now," Enders said, according to the statement.

"With our traditional markets down, we urgently need to improve access to international customers, to growth markets. For that to work, we need to cut costs, eliminate product and resource overlaps, create synergies in our operations and product portfolio and better focus our Research and Development efforts."

He added: "That's what the restructuring and integration plan for our defence and space business is all about."

An industry source said about 2,600 of the jobs cuts would hit Germany, around 1,700 come in France, with some 700 in Britain and another 600 in Spain

Anticipating fierce resistance from labour representatives, the company said it would do what it could to cushion the impact of the job cuts, due to be completed by the end of 2016.

Furloughed employees will be offered redeployment in 1,500 jobs at the company's Airbus and Eurocopter divisions.

About 1,300 short-term contracts will not be renewed, and with voluntary measures, the company estimated final redundancies to come in at between 1,000 and 1,450 employees.

"The Group also intends to enter into negotiations with its works councils to seek agreements on labour cost reductions which could help mitigate the social impact of the restructuring plan," it added.

EADS has previously announced that it is changing its name the name of the group to Airbus to raise its public profile.

The overhauled defence and space division, to be called Airbus DS, will have a streamlined legal structure to cut costs and be up and running by January 1, the company said.

Shares in EADS rose 0.82 percent to 50.49 euros in Paris on the news.

 But a French union, the FO Metalworkers' Federation, reacted angrily to the announcement, protesting that EADS on the whole "is doing well financially and its order books are in good shape".

It said the group's focus on improving its profit margin should not come at the expense of its staff and urged the French state as a major shareholder to fight to protect jobs.

"FO calls on EADS to avoid layoffs and appeals to its sense of responsibility and solidarity so that no employee will be left behind," it said.

Enders has stressed that the company cannot continue with business as usual while government clients are increasingly resorting to cuts to the military to shore up strained public finances.

He has cited lost orders worth several billion euros (dollars) in Germany alone that the company had thought were certain.

In November, Germany's biggest union IG Metall held industrial action as a warning against the company's expected restructuring plans.

But the overhaul is seen by management as unavoidable after the failed plan to merge with BAE.

That was shelved after objections from Germany, which had worried it would trigger major job losses.

The success of the Airbus division came after a radical restructuring in 2007 in a plan that originally called for 10,000 job cuts, but in the end cost 7,900 jobs.