Change of leadership at French daily Le Figaro stirs rumours
Management at Le Figaro, one of France's top-selling daily newspapers, announced the departure of the paper's editor Thursday in a message forwarded to AFP, amid rumours that he was forced out.
“The Figaro Group and Etienne Mougeotte have decided to end their collaboration,” wrote group editor Marc Feuillee, announcing Mougeotte’s replacement as Alexis Brezet, the current editor of Figaro Magazine.
Brezet will be expected to “give new impetus to the convergence of (the paper’s) digital and paper news content,” Feuillee said.
Mougeotte, who was appointed editor at the centre-right paper by the Figaro’s owner Serge Dassault in 2007 after 20 years at private channel TF1, often clashed with journalists at the paper — particularly during the May presidential election.
Le Figaro’s open support for Nicolas Sarkozy over Socialist Francois Hollande led France’s new president to refuse all interview requests from journalists at the paper.
Though journalists were expecting the 72-year-old to move on, his departure was nevertheless perceived as sudden.
Only 10 days ago, Mougeotte had told journalists at a meeting with the SDJ union that he was staying put at the paper.
“I am staying,” he said. “The group is keeping me and I am happy about that. I love my job and the people at Le Figaro, you all need to believe it.”
His comments led to rumours in the French press that he had been sacked.
Brezet, 49, spent much of his career at the weekly news magazine Valeurs Actuelles (Current Values) before arriving at Le Figaro in 2000. He is said to be well-viewed by staff.
In his first meeting with staff after his nomination, Brezet paid tribute to his predecessor and called for “inventiveness” from journalists.
Launched in 1826, Le Figaro’s average circulation is 321,101 copies per day.