Post bloodletting, Deezer appoints a new CEO

[France] Following controversial moves in which its CEO went missing from a major conference and initially appeared to have been ousted, the streaming music startup Deezer, has finally clarified the company’s new structure.

In a terse press release, the startup announced the appointment of Axel Dauchez as CEO, replacing former CEO Jonathan Benassaya. Dauchez was the CEO of leading European animation group Moonscoop for nine years. See our previous story for all the juicy background.

Dauchez has his work cut out. There is a viable business model still to be found for the company, which has been struggling to monetize the Deezer Premium and Deezer HQ paid-content models that it launched in November 2009. With over 12 million members, the company has seen fewer than 15,000 register for either of the paid options. Thus, Benassaya will continue to be part of Deezer’s board but will have to yield all strategic responsibilities to Dauchez.

In a statement he said: “Deezer is already a fantastic success but is still far from having exploited its full potential.” That’s a pretty obvious slap down to the former management’s strategy.

Despite that Deezer Co-founders Benassaya and Daniel Marhely are staying on the board. Dauchez has had over 15 years of experience at the head of digital entertainment companies and has launched multiple platforms in France, the US and Asia.

Deezer raised €6.5 million in October 2009 from investors including AGF Private Equity, one of the company’s investors.

At least Deezer remains the leading music site in France, although Spotify is breathing down its neck.