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A QUAL god who returned to Earth

For those of us who worked for him in the Paris bureau in the 1990s, François was a QUAL god who returned to Earth to lead a hugely complicated bureau, ensuring diametrically opposed teams of English-language and French-language reporting and editing teams worked together for a greater good.

His one-sentence, hand-written notes left on stories that he printed out in his office and which he left on our keyboards could make or break one’s day, but they were always incisive and on the mark.

He personified Reuters best values of impartiality, freedom from bias, balance, fairness. He stands alongside Ian Macdowall as the epitome of Reuters standards. Entire generations of Reuter journalists owe their careers to François, because he helped us see what distinguished Reuters from the rest and shaped our reporting and the Reuters file to the strict standards that he and his fellow QUAL gods set for a global staff.

He had not worked in a Reuters newsroom for some time, but the values that predominate in bureaus around the world were passed on by François to those of us lucky enough to have worked with him. RIP. ■