Edith Cresson

Speaker at the 2019 Women & Challenges Forum

First and only woman Prime Minister in France

Edith Cresson is a graduate of the Haut Enseignement Commercial for Girls (HEC-JF) and holds a PhD in demography.
She worked in several consulting firms as an economic engineer. In 1966, she joined the Convention des Institutions Républicaines created by François Mitterrand, then after the Epinay Congress, which saw François Mitterrand become the first Secretary of the Socialist Party, she was a member of the National Secretariat, responsible for youth and students. Elected Member of the European Parliament (1979-1981) and Mayor of a rural commune in the Vienne (1977), she was elected Deputy of the Vienne in 1981 and General Councillor in 1982.
In 1981, she was appointed Minister of Agriculture, then of Foreign Trade and Tourism (1983-1984) and finally of Industrial Redeployment and Foreign Trade (1984-1988). She was elected Mayor of Châtellerault (1983-1997) and Member of Parliament for Vienne (1986-1988) and appointed member of the National Secretariat of the Socialist Party. She was Minister of European Affairs (1988-1990) and resigned from the government to take up the post of Chairman and CEO of Schneider Industries, an international service (1990-1991) which aims to help French companies in Eastern European countries.
Appointed Prime Minister by President François Mitterrand (1991-1992), she joined the Société Service, Industries, Stratégies, International et Environnement (SISIE) from 1992 to 1994 while serving as President of the Institute for European Studies.
Appointed European Commissioner (1994-1999), she was in charge of Research, Education and Training. In 2001, she created the "Écoles de la 2e Chance" for 18 to 25 year old dropouts and presided over the Foundation associated with the "Réseau des Écoles" (15,500 young people per year) to enable better social integration. She is also a consultant (since 2008) to the Agency for the Dissemination of Technological Information (ADIT), an economic intelligence company that she created as Prime Minister.


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