Fresh from being interviewed by French President Francois Hollande himself, Jean-Luc Martinez, an expert in Greek sculpture, was named Wednesday as the new boss of the Louvre museum.
The 49-year-old takes charge of one of the world's most famous museums and will oversee a number of projects including the controversial opening of a Louvre outpost in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, slated for 2016.
The deal has stirred debate in the French art world with critics raising questions about Abu Dhabi's record on the treatment of dissidents and the immigrant workers employed on the construction of the new museum.
France's culture minister had reportedly leant towards appointing Sylvie Ramond, head of the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon in southeastern France, who would have become the Louvre's first female director.
But in the end -- and after three finalists were interviewed in person by Hollande -- Martinez, director of the Louvre's department of Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiques since 2007, was finally chosen to head up the museum.
He succeeds Henri Loyrette, who has been credited with doubling visitor numbers from five million per year when he took over in 2001 to around 10 million this year -- half of them under-30s.
Loyrette also oversaw the opening in 2012 of the Department of Islamic Art and of a Louvre satellite branch in the former northern mining town of Lens, aimed at bringing high culture and visitors to one of France's poorest areas.