The chief of staff of the French president Francois Hollande is to become the new French High Commissioner to New Caledonia.
The French government appointed Thierry Lataste to take over the post in Noumea on June 20th.
Mr Lataste had already served as High Commissioner in New Caledonia between 1999 and 2002.
He had been part of the team negotiating the 1998 Noumea Accord which is the decolonisation roadmap leading up to the independence referendum due by 2018.
New Caledonia is in the midst of an economic downturn triggered by the slump of the price of nickel.
The territory is also grappling with institutional reforms and sharp political divisions as the independence referendum nears.
Mr Lataste will replace Vincent Bouvier who took over the post less than two years ago after the surprise resignation of Jean-Jacques Brot in the middle of a ministerial visit.