France's Le Monde gets new editor

10th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

Le Monde, the prestigious French newspaper of record that was saved from bankruptcy last year by a trio of tycoons, on Thursday appointed business journalist Erik Izraelewicz as its editor.

The appointment was the third this week to the head of a major centre-left title in France, after Liberation daily picked radio presenter Nicolas Demorand and Le Nouvel Observateur weekly appointed ex-Liberation chief Laurent Joffrin.

Izraelewicz, 56, the former editor of business newspaper Les Echos and the author of several books, was backed by 74 percent of staff in a vote required by the statutes of the paper founded at the request of Charles de Gaulle in 1944.

He replaces Eric Fottorino, who in December complained of harassment by the new owners who bought the title as it struggled to survive in the internet age and was seeking investors willing to pay off its 100-million-euro debt.

The trio includes Xavier Niel, a billionaire internet entrepreneur, Pierre Berge, partner of late fashion guru Yves Saint-Laurent, and Matthieu Pigasse, a banker who owns the alternative news and culture magazine Les Inrockuptibles.

On Monday, staff at Liberation approved the appointment of 39-year-old Demorand as the paper's editor, and a day later the man he will replace -- Joffrin -- was appointed to edit the news magazine Le Nouvel Observateur.

Liberation was set up by the writer and intellectual Jean-Paul Sartre, Serge July and others in the wake of the protest movements of May 1968, with all staff -- from the editor to the cleaners -- initially getting the same pay.

But later the daily was run along more traditional hierarchical lines. Businessman Edouard de Rothschild took a major stake in the paper in 2005.

© 2011 AFP

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