Aude de Thuin of the Women’s Forum says au revoir

Aude de Thuin,  founder of the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society, has stepped back from management of the forum and sold her shares to Publicis.

That’s a bigger step than it sounds. Publicis has had majority control of the Forum’s parent company since 2009, but I can testify, having met de Thuin and attended the first few annual conferences in Deauville (the FT used to be one of its media partners), that she was the heart of the event.

In a characteristically emotional email to friends of the Forum, the French entrepreneur alludes mysteriously to some of the challenges she’s faced (English version) -

For eight years, entrepreneur that I am, and with the help of my team, I have withstood all types of criticism and sarcasm, always trying to understand the true motivation behind these attacks… I have not always been a good manager, but rather a catalyst for evolution in our society. And that is what I will continue to be.

What is clear is that de Thuin was one of the first to spot an opening for a conference at which a majority of female participants would debate “women’s issues” and that she created a unique atmosphere. Though she disliked the “Davos for women” soubriquet inevitably applied to Deauville, the World Economic Forum’s recent efforts to increase women leaders’ participation at its alpine get-together are an oblique tribute to her success.  Indeed, the FT’s own Women at the Top initiative seeks to take forward some of the ideas that she championed at the Women’s Forum.

Véronique Morali has taken over as president of the Forum. De Thuin says she will be spending more time “in the field” and is writing a book, but will be in Deauville next October, as always.

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Liz Bolshaw

Liz Bolshaw is a business journalist and editor. She has been a successful book publisher, online editor, magazine editor and publisher.

She was launch editor of the Europe-wide online community Entrepreneur Country, has published magazines for PwC, 3i, dunhill and Bafta, and launched The Sharp Edge, a magazine for and about entrepreneurs, with Duncan Bannatyne. She is a regular contributor to Thomson Reuters’ Venture Capital Journal.

Her last project for the Financial Times was as editor of the paper’s Business Education magazine.

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Andrew Hill is an associate editor and the management editor of the FT. He was City editor of the FT and editor of the daily Lombard column on British business and finance from September 2006 to December 2010.

He was the FT’s financial editor from June 2005 to September 2006, with overall responsibility for coverage of companies and markets. Before becoming financial editor, he was the FT’s comment & analysis editor, in charge of the paper’s opinion and features pages.

From 1999 to 2003, he was the FT’s New York bureau chief. He joined the FT in 1988 and has also worked as foreign news editor, UK companies reporter and correspondent in Brussels and Milan.

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