Paris — One of the top officials in the French Defense Ministry, Yves Blanc, is leaving the Direction Générale de l’Armement procurement office where he was director of the international development department, a defense official said July 24.
“He is leaving his functions,” the official said. No further details were available.
The head of the international development department plays a key role in negotiating arms export contracts, leading a national effort to sell weapon systems to nations deemed to be friendly.
The Defense Ministry has made a temporary internal appointment, armaments engineer Sévérin Miallet, while a search is held to name a permanent head. A swift internal appointment is intended to provide continuity in relationships and reassure potential clients that complex negotiations under way will proceed in an orderly fashion.
A government Cabinet meeting is needed to ratify the appointment of a permanent head of the department.
France and the domestic industry are relying on raising foreign sales to offset expected cuts in the national military budget. Paris is pursuing a number of export campaigns, including Brazil, India and the United Arab Emirates, in an increasingly competitive world market, with rivalry from Western and emerging economies.
The Defense Ministry appointed Blanc as department head in May last year. He was previously director of institutional and international affairs at Eutelsat, the commercial satellite operator, and had previously worked as a senior civil servant before leaving for the private sector.