Diplomatic Appointment - Ambassador to France

Media release

Canberra

23 May 2011

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kevin Rudd has today announced that Mr Ric Wells will be Australia's next Ambassador to France.

Mr Wells is expected to take up his appointment in December 2011. He will replace David Ritchie who has been Ambassador since March 2008.

France is a major player in world affairs, and a nation with genuinely global reach. France plays a key role this year as chair of the G20. The Cannes Summit will be a vital forum for taking forward the global agenda on sustainable and balanced economic growth, regulation of financial markets, and food security. A permanent member of the UN Security Council, France's leadership on international intervention in Libya was decisive, and its forces are playing a key role in efforts to thwart Qaddafi's attacks on the Libyan people.

France and Australia are partners in Afghanistan. France's contribution is among the largest in ISAF, and its forces are serving in the crucial east and centre of the country.

Australia and France enjoy substantial trade and investment links. France was Australia's ninth largest foreign investor in 2009 with a total investment of $22.9 billion.

France is the only EU member state with a presence in the Pacific. Australia welcomes France's engagement in the Pacific and values France's active contribution to regional stability, natural disaster relief and to development in the Asia-Pacific region generally.

France will be a focus of Australia's Centenary of Anzac (2014-18) commemorations.

Mr Wells is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and until recently was Deputy Secretary of the department, a position he held since June 2009. He is also Ambassador for Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), a position he has held since July 2009. Mr Wells previously served overseas as Deputy Head of the Australian Mission to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, and had earlier postings to Indonesia and Egypt.

Mr Wells holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Sydney. He is married.

Media enquiries

  • Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555