Colonna is first femme to head powerful org

PARIS — David Kessler, head of Gallic film funding org the Centre National de la Cinematographie (CNC), will step down this fall, according to industry insiders, to be replaced by President Jacques Chirac’s spokeswoman Catherine Colonna.

Colonna, who has no cinema background, will be the first woman to head the powerful film org.

While there is no term limit for a CNC topper, the post is generally reassigned with a change of political administration.

Kessler was former Prime Minister Lionel Jospin’s counselor for culture and communication before taking his current post in 2001. He survived Jospin’s defeated bid for the presidency and the ushering in of Chirac-appointed Culture Minister Jean-Jacques Aillagon in 2002. But the recent appointment of new Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres seems to have signaled the end of Kessler’s term.

The CNC declined to comment.

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