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ESO’s La Silla Observatory © European Southern Observatory

ESO appoints new director general

09/12/16Science & Technology

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) Council has appointed Professor Xavier Barcons, as its next director general, set to take the position on 1 September 2017.

Patrick Roche, president of the ESO Council, said: “On behalf of the council, I am delighted to appoint Xavier Barcons as Tim de Zeeuw’s successor as director general.

“Xavier is ideally placed to lead the further development of the organisation in the next phase of its programme, including the construction of the European Extremely Large Telescope, the most powerful and ambitious telescope of its kind.”

Barcons has had a distinguished career both in the academic world and as an expert in science policy. He has served as an active member and chair of many other ESO committees, most recently being chair of the Observing Programmes Committee.

De Zeeuw, said: “I am very pleased to hand the baton to Xavier, who I have had the great pleasure of working closely with for many years.

“The scope of ESO’s programme has expanded a lot and the future looks bright — ALMA is producing fascinating science, the E-ELT is under construction and new projects and member states are on the horizon. But there are also undoubtedly many challenges to come, and I can’t think of a better captain to steer the ship than Xavier.”

Barcons added: “I feel very honoured to take on the leadership of ESO at this exciting time. During Tim’s leadership the organisation has flourished and grown. I look forward to seeing the E-ELT come to fruition and overseeing the further development of the Very Large Telescope, ALMA and many other projects at ESO. I also look forward to working with ESO’s world class staff.”

Pan European Networks Ltd