Gérard Théry, a French engineer, polytechnician and general telecommunications engineer, who headed the Telecommunications Department between 1974 and 1981, died on July 18. Théry was behind the Télétel program and the Minitel network.

This renowned engineer spent his life working to develop telecommunications and even went so far as to join the Ministry of Telecommunications in 1955, and later became an advisor to Jacques Marette, Minister of Post and Telecommunications under Georges Pompidou, from 1966 to 1967. All these experiences led him to become Director of Telecommunications, a position he held for 7 years, from 1974 to 1981.

Minitel, the French pride

During these years, the event that particularly marked Gérard Théry’s time in this position was the development of the Télétel network, used by the Minitel. As a reminder, the Minitel was a cubic terminal giving access to videotext, developed in the early 1980s by the PTT. At that time, the Minitel had a worldwide influence, and placed France at the forefront of the technological scene.

In June 2012, 30 years after its commercial launch, Minitel was discontinued. In the early 2000s, nine million devices were still present in French homes. Although the democratization of the Internet and the slow decline of Minitel still affected Gérard Thiry, he would continue to seek to develop telecommunications.

In addition to occupying positions close to the government, Thiry was also chosen to “avoid” the “Y2K bug”, but above all he was brought to collaborate with various large companies such as Renault, Dassault, France Telecom, or the Société Générale. He worked as an advisor, assistant and project manager for these well-known companies.

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