Frederic J. Grevin wrote in Archives-L:
Isabelle Neuschwander, Director of the French National Archives, was fired last Friday (2/19/2011).
Ms. Neuschwander had been the executive sponsor and project leader of the development of a new national Archives facility in Pierrefitte, outside of Paris.
Though no formal explanation has been issued by the French government, the general sentiment, according to the article in Le Monde ( http://www.lemonde.fr/culture/article/2011/02/22/la-directrice-des-archives-nationales-limogee_1483498_3246.html#ens_id=1483504 ) is she was found lacking in enthusiasm for the project promoted by French President Sarkozy to set up a “Maison de l’histoire de France” in the Hôtel de Soubise mansion, the Paris headquarters of the National Archives.
The article in Le Monde says word from the Ministry of Culture is her competence was not in doubt, but that it was necessary to “bring strong leadership to the head of the Archives.”
The Le Monde article quotes Hervé Lemoine, Director of the French Archives, as stating a new director, “someone who will work in agreement with us” will be appointed by the end of the week (meaning by Friday 2/25).
The joint union committee representing National Archives staff has denounced the firing as a “political decision” intended to “decapitate the institution”.