PARIS — Global news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Thursday appointed Emmanuel Hoog, an experienced top administrator, as its new chairman and chief executive.
Since 2001, the 47-year-old has been head of the National Audiovisual Institute (INA), France's public film and video archive, where he has overseen a programme to digitise hundreds of thousands of hours of footage.
He replaces Pierre Louette who is leaving the agency to take up a senior executive position at France Telecom.
Hoog graduated from the Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA) -- the training ground for France's elite civil servants -- in 1988, and joined the culture ministry's budget department.
A man of culture known for his love of poetry, Hoog headed the prestigious Parisian Left Bank theatre, L'Odeon, for five years until 1997, when he headed to Milan, Italy, to help run the Piccolo Teatro.
He later became a culture and media adviser to Socialist politician Laurent Fabius when Fabius was president of the French parliament and then finance minister.
Alongside his government duties, he organised France's celebrations for the centenary of the death of the poet Arthur Rimbaud and chaired various bodies involved in the history and promotion of television.
Agence France-Presse is an independent agency with journalists in 165 countries.
A 1957 law gives AFP a unique statute designed to guarantee editorial independence. It has no capital or shareholders and must balance its accounts.
The board includes representatives of the French state, the biggest single subscriber to AFP's news services. Members voted by 12 votes to three abstentions to approve Hoog's candidacy, which was backed by the government.
France's minister of culture, Frederic Mitterrand, this week received a report by a panel of independent experts suggesting ways to reform AFP.
The previous chairman, Louette, had proposed turning the agency into a state-owned company, but media reports based on leaks from the panel suggest that the report recommends a less radical model.
AFP has 2,900 staff and freelance correspondents around the world. It covers the world 24 hours a day in six languages, delivering the news in video, text, photographs and multimedia products.
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