Erik Israelewicz, editorial director of French newspaper Le Monde

Mr. Izraelewicz this month.
Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images
Mr. Izraelewicz this month.

PARIS — Erik Izraelewicz, editorial director of Le Monde, died Tuesday after suffering a heart attack in his office in ­Paris, the newspaper said Wednesday. He was 58.

The death of Mr. Izraelewicz, who had served in the top editorial post for less than two years, opens a new chapter in the turbulent history of the newspaper. Mr. Izraelewicz had been hired by the new owners of the paper, a group of French investors who acquired control from the paper’s employees in 2010. Le Monde did not immediately name a successor.

Mr. Izraelewicz, a former top editor at two French business dailies, Les Echos and La Tribune, had moved to overhaul Le Monde, known for its highbrow writing and left-leaning politics. Articles about pressing economic matters, especially the euro crisis, were featured prominently on the front page.


Though Mr. Izraelewicz was close to prominent members of the Socialist Party, he was no left-wing ideologue. In an obituary in its Thursday edition, Le Monde described Mr. Izraelewicz as having been from a pragmatic generation of French socialists ‘‘eager for reforms that shape the world as it is, for better or worse.’’

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Before joining Les Echos and, later, La Tribune, Mr. ­Izraelewicz worked as a journalist at Le Monde, where one posting was in New York.

“From the Anglo-Saxon world, which he knew well, he adopted his professional codes, but also a certain coolness and a great sense of humor,’’ the ­paper’s journalists said in a statement.

Mr. Izraelewicz was born in Strasbourg. He was a graduate of HEC, one of the elite schools that train much of the French ruling and intellectual class.

His death brought a tribute from President Francois Hollande, who described him in a statement as a ‘‘renowned economist, a distinguished professional, and a man as demanding as generous.’’


‘’His kindness to other people never prevented him from being intractable in judging their actions or commenting on their choices,’’ Hollande said.

Mr. Izraelewicz was also the author of a number of books, including two volumes about the rising economic power of China.

Employees said Mr. Izraelewicz had collapsed Tuesday while editing the Wednesday ­ssue. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at a hospital.