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Mighty editor, sharp reporter and thoughtful manager

François Duriaud made a mighty contribution to Reuters as an editor, shaping the file with insight and flair, particularly from the Middle East and France. He was also a sharp reporter and a thoughtful manager.

As colleagues have movingly described, he was a first-class editor of quiet authority and exacting standards, with great enthusiasm for a good story. All that plus a discreet dash of Franco-British humour. “Please pop in”, “gosh!” and “that would have been useful” catch the essence of his very individual style.

I can only add, from my own experience, that François brought the same qualities to two other aspects of his career, first as a correspondent and later as a manager.

We met for the first time in the Congo, where I joined him to cover an arcane African summit conference. François was the ideal colleague. He had the contacts and he knew the issues. He was a terrier of a reporter, a master at pursuing evasive delegates and digging out the stories they wanted to conceal in closed sessions. The assignment was great fun.

Much later, I had the opportunity to admire François’ management skills in running Middle East editorial budgets and staff issues. He displayed the same tenacity in fighting his managerial corner as he did as a journalist in the field and on the desk. He was also thoughtful, constructive and sympathetic with people.   

As ever, it was stimulating to work with François - and for my wife Marie-Hélène and me, always a great pleasure to meet socially over the years, together with his wife, Alak.

We shall miss you, François. RIP. ■