France's new President Emmanuel Macron named Edouard Philippe, a little-known centre-right mayor, as prime minister on Monday, in his first major decision since taking assuming office.
Philippe, a 46-year-old MP and mayor of the northern port of Le Havre, comes from the moderate wing of the rightwing Republicans party and is seen as a pragmatist.
His appointment was seen as a strategic move by Macron, a former minister in the outgoing Socialist government who is trying to woo modernisers of all stripes to his new centrist party, La Republique en Marche (Republic on the Move, REM).
France's youngest ever president has already attracted dozens of Socialist MPs to his side, triggering a major realignment in French politics that has left the traditional parties floundering.
Like Macron, Philippe is a product of France's elite ENA college for senior public servants and worked for a while in the private sector.
Relatively unknown outside his Le Havre fiefdom, he has already crossed the floor once in his career, defecting from the Socialists to the Republicans as a young politician.
(With PTI Inputs)