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AFP's global news chief steps down

The global news director of Agence France-Presse, Michele Léridon, announced Tuesday she is stepping down after more than four years  to allow a successor to pursue a major reform plan under chief executive Fabrice Fries. "I am handing over the baton", she told an editorial meeting in Paris.

Fries, who joined AFP as chairman and chief executive in April last year, has unveiled a plan to cut 125 jobs over five years and to boost revenues with the aim of balancing AFP's books in 2021. "Four to five years in this job is fine," Leridon said. "At Fabrice Fries' request, I agreed to ensure the transition. We have arrived at a new stage. With the AFP transformation plan, I think we need new energy to carry it through," she added."I am not packing my boxes right now since my successor, male or female, has not yet been named. You will probably see my name as a job candidate, either within AFP or outside," she said. "This is also a sign of transparency with you." Fries, who revealed the reform plan in October last year, said her successor would be named within weeks. "We knew this would happen one day but it is still an event," Fries told senior editors. "I want to thank Michele for agreeing to accompany me as I took on my post. Michele earned the respect of everyone in a difficult job," he said. Her replacement would be chosen  "by the third week of January at the latest and if we need to accelerate that timetable, it will be accelerated," he said.

Created at the end of World War II, AFP operates in 151 countries and employs 2,300 people from 80 different nationalities who put out more than 5,000 stories, 3,000 photographs and more than 250 videos daily.

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