In April 2017, the ESM team has experienced several changes. After almost 30 years, ESM president Dr. Bruno Walser and CEO Dr. Margarethe Hofmann resigned from their positions. The new president of ESM is Dr. Ernst Lutz, former advisor of ESM and member of the Board of Trustees. Dr. Lutz, after being CEO of the EIT Raw Materials from 2015 to 2016, is Vice Executive President at Grundfos in Bjerringbro, Denmark, but stays closely connected to his home country Switzerland. After Dr. O.H.C. Messner, Prof. Hans Böhni and Dr. Bruno Walser, he is the fourth president since ESM’s foundation in 1951. New CEO of the Foundation is Ms. Alessandra Hool, who in parallel continues to head the Foundation’s project acquisition and coordination. The Trustee who is active for the Foundation the longest, Mr. Denis Gonseth, has after almost 43 years also resigned from his position as a Board Member. He will however continue to advise the Foundation in all financial regards.
For many years, the Board of Trustees has included a representative of Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Material Science and Technology. Dr. Brigitte Buchmann was now followed by Dr. Patrick Wäger, Head of the Science & Technology Laboratory at Empa. Also, the Board of Trustees’ scientific committee is newly complemented by two additional members: Dr. Andreas Blatter, Director of R&D at PX Group, and Dr. Hans-Jörg Althaus, expert in Life Cycle Assessment and natural resource management.
On April 10 and 11 2017, the ESM team met in Cully in the Canton of Vaud for its spring gathering. Resigning president Bruno Walser looked back on the history of the Foundation, emphasizing the fact that after over 65 years, the Foundation is still well off and very active, and despite its active financial support of a variety of scientific work, has been entirely financed by the founding capital and its revenues until 2016. Dr. Walser expressed his confidence that the new team will successfully lead the Foundation in a new era, being now more involved in international projects and collaborations, thus including and rooting Switzerland in wider efforts to plan future resources for Europe.
The Board of Trustees regrets to lose three members who have done incredibly much for the Foundation’s goals and well-being. However, the resigned members will stay in close connection with the Foundation, as advisors and friends.