Paris (France) (AFP) – AFP’s chief executive Emmanuel Hoog announced Wednesday that he was withdrawing his bid for a third term at the head of the international news agency after failing to secure government support.
“I was made aware this morning that my programme did not have the necessary and crucial support of the state, as has been the case since 2010,” Hoog said in his letter to the company board which was emailed to staff.
“With regret, I am withdrawing my candidacy,” the 55-year-old said.
The board had been due to interview Hoog on Wednesday for a fresh five-year term alongside a rival candidate for the top job, Fabrice Fries, former head of communications and PR company Publicis Consultants.
The interview with Fries has gone ahead, despite calls for a delay from some board members.
Fries, 58, led the consultancy until 2016 and was previously a top executive at French media group Vivendi and advertising firm Havas after studying at Berkeley and Harvard in the US and France’s elite Ecole Nationale d’Administration.
To secure the CEO role, he must obtain 13 out of 18 votes on the board, which includes representatives of the French press, the government and AFP staff.
Agence France-Presse (AFP) grew out of Agence Havas, the world’s first news agency, founded by Charles Havas in 1835.
Today it counts some 2,300 staff including 1,500 journalists, covering 151 countries around the world, as well as serving as France’s national news agency.
It is supported financially by the French state, but its editorial independence is guaranteed by an act of parliament.
Hoog, also a graduate of the prestigious Ecole Nationale d’Administration, previously headed the National Audiovisual Institute (Ina) before taking the reins of AFP in 2010.
He was elected to a second term in 2013.