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The people who will run France after Emmanuel Macron’s win

LiveMint logoLiveMint 08-05-2017 Helene Fouquet

Paris: After years of careful preparation and months of campaigning, Emmanuel Macron and his allies are about to take control of the euro area’s second-biggest economy.

Typically associates from the elite French schools where the new president studied, or his time in government under outgoing president Francois Hollande, Team Macron were first dismissed as fantasists and then faced attacks from all sides. Now they are going to be taking decisions that will affect hundreds of billions of dollars in global trade from energy to finance and defence.

Here’s a run-down of his closest aides and the potential candidates for joining his government.

High-flying contemporaries

Alexis Kohler (44): The salt-and-pepper-haired adviser may have as many diplomas as his boss. He’s tipped to be Macron’s chief-of-staff after previously holding the same post when the candidate ran the economy ministry. Kohler is currently chief financial officer of MSC Cruises in Geneva.Studied at Sciences Po, the Sorbonne law school, ESSEC business school and ENA.

Ismael Emelien (30): Glued to his cellphone, hidden behind large glasses, the low-key campaign strategist is steering Macron through the dangerous waters of French politics. He started out in politics on Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s 2006 team and then worked for global communications firm Havas Group before joining Macron at the economy ministry.Studied at Sciences Po.

Julien Denormandie (36): An engineer who worked on Iran for the French Treasury and then at the embassy in Cairo advised Macron on trade during his time in government. Now an aide on the campaign team and mentioned as a possible specialist adviser on that topic if his boss wins.Studied at France’s top schools for land management and engineering, before getting an MBA at Paris Engineers School.

The veterans

Richard Ferrand (54): A Socialist lawmaker who’s been in politics for two decades and the national parliament since 2012, Ferrand was one of Macron’s earliest backers. He defended the young minister’s economy bill in parliament and helped him start his political movement in April last year. Could get a major cabinet position.Studied law in Toulouse.

Jean Pisani-Ferry (65): Former head of Hollande’s long-term policy unit, Pisani-Ferry has also worked for the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund and was president of the Bruegel research institute between 2005 and 2013.Graduated from a French technology institute.

Also read: How Emmanuel Macron’s French election victory has been greeted by global media

Gerard Collomb (69): Socialist senator and mayor of Lyon was another early supporter of Macron, delivering France’s No. 3 city to the candidate with 30 percent of the vote in the first round of the election. He is the oldest of Macron’s inner circle and one of many possible candidates for prime minister.Former teacher, studied Greek and Latin literature.

Macron said before the vote that he’s decided who he wants as his prime minister, though he refused to say who it was. He hasn’t given much indication of who else might be in his cabinet, but says he wants people from outside the usual political circles. With no established party to draw on, Macron is likely to seek allies from both sides of the political spectrum.

Candidates for prime minister

Sylvie Goulard (52): German- and English-speaking EU lawmaker and an early Macron supporter. Sits on the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee in the European parliament.

Xavier Bertrand (52); Republican from northern France, also beat Marine Le Pen in 2015’s regional election when he became head of Hauts-de-France in the National Front’s northern heartlands. Has been vaunting his track record of cross-party cooperation.

Jean-Yves Le Drian (69): France’s current defence minister endorsed Macron before the first round, in preference to his Socialist party’s own candidate. Across the spectrum of opinion, he’s widely seen as one of France’s most qualified politicians and commands broad support.

Valerie Pecresse (49): Republican head of the Paris region, served as budget minister under president Nicolas Sarkozy. Currently working to lure companies to the French capital taking advantage of Brexit.

Other potential ministers

Francois Bayrou (65): Macron’s one-time rival for the centrist vote endorsed the new president in February, giving him a boost when Republican Francois Fillon was threatening a comeback.

Christophe Castaner (51): Socialist lawmaker from southern France and one of his campaign spokesmen was another early supporter.

Gerard Araud (65): France’s ambassador in Washington, previously envoy to the United Nations and to Israel. Studied statistics and economics and graduated from the elite civil servants’ school.

Business executives who might come in

Renaud Dutreil (56): Former executive at luxury group LVMH used to be minister for trade and small businesses under Sarkozy. Has a broad network of contacts in the upper echelons of the business world.

Axelle Tessandier (36): Digital economy expert who worked in Silicon Valley for years now runs her own consultancy and describes herself in an interview with a website as a “a geek, a yogini and a vegetarian”. Bloomberg

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