Paris - Nathalie Boy De La Tour became the first female president of one of European football's big leagues when she took over the French Professional Football League (LFP) on a four-year term on Friday.
Boy De La Tour, 48, who previously worked with the 'Football Foundation' which promotes the game in the community, takes over from Frdric Thiriez who resigned last month after 14 years.
Former France coach Raymond Domenech, who had been among the candidates, withdrew from the running after he was rejected in the first round by the general assembly.
French Football Federation president Nol Le Grat welcomed the appointment of "an intelligent woman" who "will calm excessive, sometimes passionate men".
"She's someone who knows the functioning of the Federation and League well, she's full of humanity, wisdom, I think it's a good choice," he said.
Boy de la Tour had not initially been a candidate but emerged as a late runner as the LFP, which oversees the 40 professional clubs in France's top two leagues, was in crisis following Thiriez's departure.
"I'm very happy to be among you, astonished and emotional," she said. "It is not an election that was expected, now I am extremely happy and I hope to meet expectations."
Divisions between the top clubs, including Paris Saint-Germain, Lyon and Marseille, and smaller sides flared up in October and the vote for a president could not be taken.
Domenech, 64, coached France from 2004 to 2010, but remains a divisive figure despite a runner-up spot in the 2006 World Cup.
His term as France coach was overshadowed by the fiasco at the 2010 World Cup and players' strike in South Africa.