Unfamiliar face atop French net

Paolini segues from Bouygues Telecom

PARIS After nearly two decades, France’s leading commercial web will have a new chief executive in Nonce Paolini.

The 57-year-old topper of Corsican origin may have many years under his belt at TF1 parent company Bouygues, but he is as unfamiliar to French media folk as outgoing topper Patrick Le Lay is well-known.

Le Lay ended months of speculation that he would ankle after presidential elections in April by announcing his intentions Feb. 21.

Paolini segues from running Bouygues Telecom into the hot seat at TF1 in May.

A graduate of Paris’ prestigious Ecole des Sciences Politiques, Paolini’s career appears to have followed a classic trajectory, starting with a 15-year stint at Gallic electricity and gas utilities company EFF-GDF. (On his way up to higher functions within the company, Paolini reportedly had his trousers torn by the dog of a client who hadn’t paid his bill.)

Martin Bouygues spotted his talents soon after Paolini joined and put him in charge of communications for the group. He later installed Paolini as head of human resources at the TF1 Group, where he worked from 1993 to 2001.

Paolini’s taste for TV — or lack of it — isn’t something on record, but he is a music lover with a large collection of vinyl albums and CDs, especially jazz. His very first salary went toward a hi-fi system, Paolini said last week.

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