The personal hair stylist of French president Francois Hollande is paid nearly €10,000 a month, local media has reported.
The hairdresser, identified only as ‘Olivier B’, also received a “housing allowance” and “family benefits”, in addition to the €9,895 monthly fee, according to weekly publication Canard Enchaine.
The money amounts to an annual wage of €118,740, or €474,960 across the years of Mr Hollande’s tenure so far. In comparison, Mr Hollande – who gave himself a 30 per cent pay cut when he entered office – earns €175,408 per annum, or around €5,000 more per month than his hair stylist.
In addition, the average monthly wage in France is €2,600, according to the International Labour Organisation.
Olivier B reportedly accompanies Mr Hollande on many of his overseas trips and his contract says he must "maintain absolute secrecy about his work and any information he may have gathered both during and after his contract".
Lawyers representing Olivier B have defended the salary. In comments reported by The Local, attorney Sarah Levy said: “He is available to the president around the clock, 24 hours a day, and is never replaced by anyone else. He missed the birth of his own children, their broken arms, their operations.”
According to Mr Hollande’s official residence, the Élysée Palace, Olivier B “starts very early in the morning, and has a long working a day. He does the president’s hair every morning and as often as is necessary at each public speaking event”.
The news has caused uproar in France, where the economy is stagnant and citizens see the expenditure as an example of extravagant overspending – by a socialist politician.
Using the hashtag #Coiffuregate, French citizens took to social media to voice their outrage and mock the president.
Mr Hollande has been facing growing unpopularity in France for some time and the revelations are unlikely to improve his public image.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies