PARIS--Antoine Sire, one of France's top public relations professionals, is ending his 16-year career as comms head at BNP Paribas.

Sire's role as group director of brand, communications and quality will be taken on in October by Bertrand Cizeau, who was appointed as Sire's deputy two years ago.

According to a statement from the bank, Sire is departing to "pursue a project linked to his lifelong interest in the history of film-making." The 52-year-old is well known in France for his activities in film and as a writer, and is the son of broadcaster and writer Gérard Sire.

At BNP Paribas, he oversaw the giant bank's performance and social responsibility activities, including its engagement with such critical issues as the environment, health, education, diversity, and culture.

“During his 16 years at the head of group communications, Antoine Sire has steered the process of building the BNP Paribas brand, from the communication work supporting the merger of BNP and Paribas and the creation of the group logo in 2000, through the ongoing process of internationalisation and the development of our sponsorship and corporate philanthropy policies, to the establishment of our brand presence in the digital media," said BNP Paribas group CEO Jean-Laurent Bonnafé.

"The BNP Paribas brand is today ranked by Brand Finance as the 8th most valuable bank brand in the world. Antoine has now decided to devote his energies to his personal passion for the cinema. I would like to take this opportunity to convey our gratitude to him for his achievements and to express our great affection for him."

From 2001 to 2011, Cizeau served as head of brand, communication and advertising at Cetelem, which subsequently became BNP Paribas Personal Finance. During this time Cizeau launched, then rolled out worldwide, the Cetelem brand and communication strategy based on Credito, the little green man, and on the concept of 'responsible credit.' 

In early 2012, Cizeau joined the BNP Paribas' central brand, communications and quality department as deputy director. He had previously worked for Paribas from 1994 to 1999 as head of analyst and investor relations.