Jean-Marie Etter, CEO of Fondation Hirondelle and one of its three co-founders with Philippe Dahinden and François Gross, is retiring at the end of December 2016. Caroline Vuillemin, currently Operations Chief, will take over from him as CEO on January 1, 2017. Jean-Marie Etter will continue to help the Board and management as their Chief Advisor.
For more than 20 years, Jean-Marie Etter has defended the values of independent, professional journalism by creating and supporting public service media in countries where millions of people lack access to information. Jean-Marie Etter has always been concerned to meet the information needs of ordinary people and allow journalists to work in their countries in the best conditions possible. He has persevered in this vision, remaining faithful to the mandate of the Fondation. His departure is an important step in the institutional life of Fondation Hirondelle, and Jean-Marie wants this change to be part of the continuity of Fondation Hirondelle’s values and mandate.
It is therefore Caroline Vuillemin, Operations Chief up to now, who will take over the helm from him on January 1, 2017. At the same time, two new directors will take up their posts. Xavier de Bruyn will be Editorial and Operations Director. He has rich managerial and editorial experience from years at the Belgian public broadcaster Radio Télévision Belge Francophone (RTBF). Philippe Bovey will take up the post of Secretary General, supervising all support, administrative, financial, logistical and security services. He has previously held various management posts in Swiss non-governmental organizations, including Entraide protestante suisse (EPER). This new top management team will be supported by Nicolas Boissez, previously a Programme Manager, who will take up a new post of Communications and External Relations Officer, to strengthen the Fondation’s networking capacities and develop new partnerships.
Several million people throughout the world now trust Fondation Hirondelle media to help them deal with the most important problems of their daily lives. Fondation Hirondelle is currently active in the Central African Republic, Mali, Niger, Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo and Myanmar. It produces and broadcasts news and information programmes. It also supports public and community media in countries that are in democratic transition. Fondation Hirondelle also publishes the only bilingual, independent website dedicated to transitional and international justice, JusticeInfo.Net. Since its creation in 1995, the Fondation’s media have been followed by tens of millions of regular listeners.
Fondation Hirondelle, an organization of professional journalists, knows that control of
information or use of propaganda are major factors not only in armed conflicts but also for countries in crisis or in transition to democracy. It therefore seeks to create or support independent media with national reach and a strong audience, through accurate, factual, impartial journalism in the service of the people. Fondation Hirondelle media produce content that promotes understanding of social, political and economic issues, dialogue and social cohesion.
For more information about the life, person and convictions of Fondation Hirondelle co-founder Jean-Marie Etter, here is a nice portrait published by the newspaper 24 Heures: