President Sarkozy Visits Google’s new Paris Headquarters
President Nicolas Sarkozy visited the new Paris headquarters of internet company Google on Tuesday, December 6, as part of its large-scale inauguration activities. The President was accompanied by Frédéric Mitterrand, Minister of Culture and Communication, and Eric Besson, Minister of Industry, Energy and the Digital Economy, who together toured the 30,000-square-foot facility in the north-central 9th arrondissement of the French capital.
Eric Schmidt, former president of the tech giant, was present for the occasion and met with Mr. Sarkozy and the Ministers for a series of talks and a question-and-answer session.
The new facility, nicknamed the "Googleplex," will include an extensive Cultural Institute, designed to promote "past, present and future European cultures," according to an official press release from Google. The site will also house a Center of Paris Research and Development, dedicated to advancing technological research based in the capital region.
- Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google and President Nicolas Sarkozy (photo elysee.fr)
With a current payroll of 350 employees, Google plans to grow its new center to a benchmark of 500 employees over a period of roughly 18 months.
According to Carlo d’Asaro Biondo, President of Operations for Southern Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the company’s objective is "to make France one of Google’s major centers [in these regions] in the fields of cultural service creation and economic development."
Mr. Sarkozy’s visit to Google acts as the latest event in a series titled "Journées du Numérique 2011"(Digital Days 2011), an effort by the President and his cabinet to promote French tech start-up activity. The program includes a proactive strategy for development, notably via public-private partnerships, in the town of Saclay, just southwest of Paris. The suburb has been termed a "Silicon Valley à la française" and is meant to serve as an incubator for French digital entrepreneurship and resulting economic growth.