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Newly-appointed French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe attends a handover ceremony at the Hotel Matignon, in Paris, France, May 15, 2017 REUTERS/Charles Platiau

(reuters_tickers)

PARIS (Reuters) - New French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has hired Benoît Ribadeau-Dumas, a leading executive at Zodiac Aerospace, to become his chief of staff, the company said on Tuesday.

Zodiac, which is trying to merge with French peer Safran, said in a statement it hoped to name Ribadeau-Dumas' successor soon.

The planned $9 billion deal between Safran and Zodiac has come under attack from some shareholders, such as activist investor TCI Fund Management which wants the deal cancelled, following profit warnings issued by Zodiac.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

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