AFP names first woman as global news chief

Agence France-Presse, for the first time, named a woman to head its global operations

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Agence France-Presse on Monday for the first time named a woman to head its global operations after news director Philippe Massonnet announced he was stepping down.

Michele Leridon, who joined the news agency in 1981 and has been Rome bureau chief since 2009, will replace Massonnet from August 1 after he resigned citing "personal reasons".

AFP CEO Emmanuel Hoog praised Massonnet as a "passionate, inventive and committed" news chief since taking up the post in 2009.

He described Leridon as "a great news professional" and said she would work on AFP projects including developing the agency's video service and strengthening its sports and cultural coverage.

In a letter to staff, Massonnet said having a new global news director "will inject new blood and give new impetus to editorial developments launched in recent years."

He said: "I am proud to have led a global editorial team made up of talented people and to have been part of the agency's drive to grow and evolve worldwide."

Leridon has worked in a number of senior positions at AFP's Paris headquarters and in Africa, including as Abidjan deputy bureau chief, deputy editor-in-chief for Europe and Africa, head of the social affairs service and as managing editor from 2006 to 2009.

AFP is a leading international news agency delivering coverage of international news in text, photo, video, multimedia and graphics.

It has bureaux in 150 countries with 2,260 staff covering the world in six languages.