INTERNATIONAL: TotalFinaElf appoints comms boss

PARIS: TotalFinaElf, the world's fourth largest oil company, has

appointed Michel Hourcard to its top communications position.



Hourcard, who this week took up the global role of group director of

communications at the majority-French owned multinational, replaces

Michel Delaborde.



Hourcard has moved back to France from Iran, where he has spent the past

two years in charge of TotalFinaElf's exploration and production.



From 1995 to 2000, he was based in Paris as head of investor relations,

before which he was in a non-communications job within the group.



Hourcard, who reports to CEO Thierry Desmarest, takes charge of almost

60 communications staff across four departments in TotaFinaElf's

headquarters in Paris.



Head of media relations Catherine Enck, head of corporate image

Jacqueline Frachon, head of internal relations Alain Castinel and head

of PR Yves Le Goff all report to Hourcard in Paris.



Comms heads within other TotalFinaElf divisions - such as exploration

and production - also report to Hourcard, as do country communications

chiefs.



Delaborde has moved to head both human resources and communications for

TotalFinaElf's chemical division. He takes up this role in January.



TotalFinaElf had global sales of around £74bn in 2000 and the firm

employs more than 123,000 staff worldwide - 50,000 of whom are based in

France.



The company was forced to tackle a major crisis communications job

earlier this year after an explosion at one of its subsidiaries'

petro-chemical plants in Toulouse, southern France.



Twenty-nine people died and around 2,200 were injured in the disaster -

France's worst civilian accident for two decades.



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