Edgar Bronfman Jr, the head of drinks and media giant Seagram before it merged with Vivendi, has resigned as executive vice-chairman of Vivendi Universal.

The company said Bronfman would step down at the end of the first quarter of 2002, though he would remain non-executive vice-chairman of the board.

Vivendi's share price has not been affected by the announcement and analysts have said that the departure should end fears of conflict between Bronfman and Vivendi chief Jean-Marie Messier.

"I deeply regret Edgar's decision but fully understand his wishes," Messier said in a statement. Bronfman has cited plans to spend more time on family and personal interests as the reason for his move.

It is unclear if Bronfman will be replaced and if so by who. However, Bronfman said he had no plans to sell his family's roughly 3% stake in Vivendi for at least a year and would remain an active member of the board.