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One of a kind

François was the architect of our improved coverage of the Middle East in the mid-1980s.

As Middle East editor, he strengthened the network of correspondents and nurtured the regional editing desk in Bahrain. He was greatly respected and admired by all those local and expatriate staff in his team.

Fulsome sentiments already posted capture the essence of François as a fastidious workaholic journalist and an honourable, humble, kind and generous man. I would add that in 18 months as his deputy in Bahrain, I never once heard him raise his voice, even when things went pear-shaped in the strife-torn area we reported.

He was a grandmaster of subtle understatement and also the pregnant pause, which often served as a gentle admonishment or a polite way of telling you to think again.

His one distraction from work was French rugby and he was known to wager a bottle of Calvados with a certain Bahrain deskman on any game against Scotland.

François was unflappable in a crisis, stoical in adversity, unfailingly courteous. It was a privilege to have known and worked with him. Indeed, one of a kind who will be sorely missed. ■