PERSON OF THE WEEK: Michele Boccoz, New French Ambassador to Croatia
Michèle Boccoz, French Ambassador to Croatia, delivered her credentials to Croatian President Ivo Josipovic on 29 January. Next week, she will have the opportunity to also greet the French business delegation to Croatia by MEDEF International. On 17 January 2013, France ratified Croatia’s EU Accession Treaty, making it the first EU member state to do so in 2013 of the 21 member states to ratify the treaty.
Many French companies are present on the Croatian market in the banking, transportation, industrial and foods industries, generating approximately 8,000 jobs. In the transportation sector, the French construction giant Bouygues is present as a concessionaire in the Bina Istra (51%) motorway Management Company, since 1995, and is a member of the French-Croatian consortium and concessionaire of the new Zagreb Airport Terminal project. The other French company in the consortium is the Paris Airport. In the foods industry, the French Lactalis is significantly present as owner of the regional dairy company Dukat, since 2007. Lactalis owns 91.5% of Dukat and the transaction in 2007 was for €266 million. French investment is supported by the presence of the Splitska Bank, which is owned by the French Societe Generale Group.
Ambassador Boccoz was born in 1956. She studied at École normale supérieure de Fontenay and the National School of State Administration. In 1991, she began her career at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responsible for European affairs, including countries from central and Eastern Europe and the PHARE and TACIS programs. She continued her international career working for the French representative office during the negotiations in Vienna within the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) from 1994 to 1997. From 1997 to 2001, she worked in the French office at the United Nations in Geneva. Her interest in the area of health and science led her to the private sector, working at the Pasteur Institute, as the International Business Manager from 2001 to 2007. She was the Manager for International Communication for the Veolia Environment group (2007-2008). In 2008, Boccuz was named the deputy head of the cabinet of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and, in 2009, she was named extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassador to Brussels.