Biographical directory of personalities, Who's Who in France, the 2024 edition of which appears on Wednesday, is celebrating its 70th anniversary with a new editor, Franck Papazian, determined to make it a platform of influence, with an annual ceremony, a daily newsletter and a literary prize. Published every year, the “Who's Who”, nicknamed the “red bible”, lists some 20,000 “active” personalities from all walks of life (politicians, soldiers, big bosses, scientists, journalists, artists, athletes, craftsmen, etc.). ), “contributing to the activity and influence of France” and chosen according to criteria of “notoriety and talent”. Each duly verified biographical sketch indicates the members' background, their responsibilities and their contact details. The French edition of Who's Who was bought in April by former advertising executive Franck Papazian (CBNews, Stratégies, Le Journal du Luxe, also founder of Mediaschool, a group of communication schools, and administrator of the Professional Press Union) . Initiated in 2022, the transaction, the amount of which was not revealed, was announced in April, a month after the sudden death of publisher Antoine Hébrard who had owned French Who's Who since 1984.
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Launched in 1953 by publisher Jacques Lafitte, the first Who's Who included 5,000 names, of which only 1% were women. Seventy years later, the “bible of those who count in France” lists 3,637 women, or nearly 20%, in constant progression. Among the applicants in 2024, selected by a committee on professional success criteria, Corinne Mrejen, president of the Les Echos-Le Parisien group, Nathalie Smirnov, general director of the Red Cross, the actor and humorist François Rollin, Fabrice Desvignes, the chef of the kitchens of the Elysée, Thibaut Vallette, the chief squire of the Cadre noir de Saumur, Harry Sokol, professor of gastroenterology, the master cabinetmaker Benoit Marcu and the journalist-presenter Cécile de Ménibus. The economic world represents 47% of members, politics and diplomacy 16.6%, culture 11.2%, research and universities 4.8%, media 3.9%, agriculture and gastronomy 2 .9%... The average age is 64 years old. The elders are Simone Rozès, 103 years old, first woman appointed First President of the Court of Cassation, and the philosopher Edgar Morin, 102 years old. The youngest in the class is the MP for Polynesia Tematai Le Gayic, 23 years old. “The next promotions will have to put more emphasis on women, young talents and the regions,” wishes Franck Papazian, in an interview with AFP. France is full of talent and not just in Île-de-France.”
“The repurchase of Who's Who is done in continuity because we are not touching such an institution. But, as Antoine Hébrard wished, we are going to awaken the sleeping beauty of French excellence by developing this network of networks notably through an exchange platform,” continues the new publisher. “Who's Who in France has the potential to become one of the most powerful French networks of influence. The quality of its members is unmatched. Highlighting them through interviews (on the site and in the newsletter) will allow us to promote our economic, cultural and artistic wealth,” underlines Franck Papazian, who aims to make his website a “new media dedicated to excellence and know-how. “Each year we will award Golden Who's Who at a ceremony. The premiere will take place at L’Olympia on January 27, 2025,” he adds. And the Antoine Hébrard Literary Prize will reward each year a biography, a “success story” or “positive stories”. Printed in 5,000 copies, the 2024 printed edition, weighing 4 kg, is sold for 699 euros.