The well-connected political aide David Kessler is tipped to replace Jean-Pierre Hoss at the head of the Centre National de la Cinematographie (CNC), France's national film centre. His appointment is expected to be confirmed by the end of the week.

Hoss was appointed to the CNC as recently as July 1999, but in his two year tenure he repeatedly clashed with communications minister Catherine Tasca. Most notably, he was criticised for his handling of the controversy arising from exhibitor UGC's decision to introduce discount admission cards.

Kessler, 42, is currently a culture and communications adviser to prime minister Lionel Jospin. He has held various posts within broadcaster France 2 and broadcast regulator CSA, before being recruited by the prime minister's office, where he was instrumental in drawing up the new audiovisual law.

Hoss is a lifetime senior civil servant who headed Societe Francaise de Production (SFP), the giant facilities and production group, prior to its partial privatisation.