French, Director of the Technical and Quality Management Directorate
I was born in Argenteuil. I entered the French 'Ecole Polytechnique' and then graduated in aeronautic engineering. At the time there was nothing to suggest I would make a career in the space sector. Then, in April 1969, a few months before a man first walked on the Moon, a meeting with General Robert Aubinière, the Director General of CNES at the time, convinced me to choose the space sector and join the CNES Toulouse centre.
At CNES, I participated in the preliminary studies for an Earth observation satellite. We were a team of four or five people who had to design the system and define the type of sensors to be used. The result was the SPOT programme, implemented by France, Belgium and Sweden. In 1984 I was appointed Project Manager for SPOT-1. It was a fascinating time. Everything had to be invented: requirements, spacecraft, instruments, and operations. The satellite behaved just as it had during the simulations, even in case of anomalies.
I then became Director of the Hermes spaceplane project, within an integrated ESA/CNES team. When the project was brought to a halt, I took over the responsibility of the Toulouse Space Centre in 1993. During that period the activities of mini- and micro-satellites commenced with the PROTEUS series (soon to be used for ESA’s SMOS satellite) and Myriad. After the failure of the first Ariane 5 in June 1996, I became responsible for the return to flight of the Ariane 5 programme. Appointed Deputy Director General of CNES in 1996, I was in charge of all technical activities.
In 1999 I left CNES for industry. I became Technical Officer of Alcatel Space. I was involved in research, technology development, product policy and quality. In a nutshell, with anything relating to technology, quality and methods.
On 1 May 2004, I was appointed Director of Technical and Quality Management and head of ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.
During my career in space I have gone through many periods of change. Knowing that in my team we were all working for better space services, and to advance Europe’s leadership. Working in space means solving complex technical challenges, but the most interesting part is creating with people, working as a team. I sincerely welcome all newcomers, who can bring in their talents to help ESA achieve its mission.
Last update: 15 December 2008