Fleur Pellerin, a Korean orphan who was adopted by a French family when she was six months old, has been appointed deputy minister in charge for small and medium-size businesses and digital economy by France's new President François Hollande. Hollande announced his 34-member Cabinet on Wednesday afternoon.
Born in Seoul in 1973, Pellerin was found on the streets of the capital when she was three or four days old and was sent to an orphanage. She was adopted six months later.
Pellerin passed her baccalaureate -- the equivalent to a high school diploma -- when she was just 16, two years earlier than most, and graduated from the prestigious ESSEC business school, Institut d'études politiques de Paris and École nationale d'administration.
She joined the Socialist Party as a speechwriter while working for the state audit agency in 2002 and worked as the IT aide to Hollande during his campaign.
French weekly L'Express said Pellerin was appointed not only because of her passionate attitude but also because her background fit with the diversity Hollande wants in his Cabinet. "My background as an adoptee was both my handicap and basis for my success," Pellerin said in a recent interview with the Chosun Ilbo.
In her new role, Pellerin will work closely with Pierre Moscovici, the minister of finance. Her lack of experience in IT-related areas is cited as a weakness, but the high-powered contacts she made as the head of the 21st Century Club, which assists minorities, is expected to help her.