AFP's chief executive Emmanuel Hoog announced Wednesday that he was withdrawing his bid for another five-year term at the head of the international news agency after failing to secure government support.
"I was made aware this morning that my candidacy did not have the necessary and crucial support of the state, as has been the case since 2010," Hoog said in his letter to the company board which was emailed to staff.
"With regret, I am withdrawing my candidacy," the 55-year-old said.
The interview with Fries has gone ahead, despite calls for a delay from some board members.
Fries, 58, led the consultancy until 2016 and was previously a top executive at French media group Vivendi and advertising firm Havas after studying at Berkeley and Harvard in the US and France's elite Ecole Nationale d'Administration.
Today it counts some 2,300 staff including 1,500 journalists, covering 151 countries around the world, as well as serving as France's national news agency.
It is supported financially by the French state, but its editorial independence is guaranteed by an act of parliament.
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