Assistant Secretary General
2003 - 2007
Jean Fournet became the NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy on 1 April 2003. Prior to that he had been the Assistant Secretary General for Scientific and Environmental Affairs since March 2001.
The Public Diplomacy Division covers all activities that contribute to promoting the Alliance’s image to a variety of audiences, establishing networks of relations with political, diplomatic, administrative, academic and media circles, and forming co-operative relations.
Before coming to NATO, Jean Fournet was the National Armaments Director and Director of Co-operation and Industrial Affairs in the Direction générale de l’armement (DGA) of the French Ministry of Defence. In his duties there he was responsible for bilateral and multilateral co-operative relations with the various Alliance and European Union countries, which involved intense communication and dialogue efforts. In 2000 he was also the Chairman of the Board of the Organization for Joint Co-operation in Armaments (OCCAR) involving Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and France. Until 1999 he was a member of the board of directors of several national firms (Aérospatiale, SNECMA, Dassault).
Jean Fournet began his career in 1973 as the Head of the Energy/Propulsion Department in the DGA Directorate for Research and Test Resources. From 1978 to 1983, he worked as the Head of Bureau for Industrial and Economic Affairs and then as the Head of the Private Office of the Director for International Affairs at the Ministry of Defence. In 1983 he moved to the Ministry of Industry, where he was the Official Representative for Industrial and Environmental Affairs with the Director-General for Energy and Raw Materials until 1988, when he returned to the Ministry of Defence as the Technical Advisor to the Head of Strategic Affairs. In 1993 he also studied at the Kennedy School of Government (international programme). From 1989 to 1995, he was the Assistant Director and later the Deputy Director for Industrial Affairs at the DGA, and in 1995 he became the Director of the Private Office of the Head of the DGA, where he led a sweeping re-organization in 1996 before taking up the post of Director of Co-operation.
He attained the rank of Lieutenant General, Armament Corps in 1997.
Born in Brest, France in 1948, Jean Fournet is a graduate of the Ecole polytechnique and the French National College of Aeronautics and Space. He also obtained a master’s degree in economics and a further graduate degree in political science. He completed his studies at the Institut Auguste Comte and the Centre for Advanced Armament Studies (CHEAr, and SERA, the European session of armament directors).
Jean Fournet is a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour and an Officer of the National Order of Merit. He has two daughters.