Eric Garandeau has resigned as head of France’s powerful National Cinema Centre.

In a statement, Garandeau said: “I send my warmest thanks from the bottom of my heart to all the staff of the CNC, as well as to film-makers and professionals for their confidence and I salute their friendship. I send my successor my best wishes.”

Garandeau listed the digitisation of nearly every cinema in France, the restoration of nearly 230 major films and the creation of the World Cinema Fund among the major achievements of his tenure.

In recent weeks, the former speechwriter for ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy had been at the forefront of France’s fight for a cultural exception for audio-visual industries in free trade talks that are due to kick off in the US.

The CNC is Europe’s most powerful film body, with a budget of more than €700m financed in part by a levy on each cinema ticket sale.