EFSA Management Board appoints Bernhard Url as Executive Director

The European Food Safety Authority’s Management Board has appointed Bernhard Url as EFSA’s next Executive Director.

The Board made the appointment after the European Parliament sent a letter to EFSA Management Board chair Sue Davies, and to European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, recommending he be appointed to the position.

Dr Url, a qualified veterinarian by training, has been EFSA’s acting Executive Director following the departure in September 2013 of Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle. He was one of the candidates shortlisted by the European Commission after an open competition and who were interviewed by EFSA’s Management Board for the post in March.

Dr Url was then nominated by the Board and appeared before members of the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee in April where he made a statement and answered questions from MEPs.

"On behalf of EFSA’s Management Board, it gives me great pleasure to appoint Bernhard Url as EFSA’s next Executive Director. We have great confidence that in the years to come Bernhard will lead EFSA and its staff to provide Europe with the best scientific advice to protect consumers from food-related risks,” Board chair Sue Davies said in her announcement to EFSA staff. “The Board looks forward to working closely with him over the next five years.”

“It’s a great honour to be appointed EFSA Executive Director and to have the opportunity to head this important organisation dedicated to protecting the health of Europe’s consumers,” Dr Url said. “ I commit myself to working with staff, scientific experts, European institutions, Member States and stakeholders to uphold EFSA’s core values and to work towards more open risk assessment and further building trust.”

Dr Url will officially take up his post from 1st June 2014

Before joining the Authority in June 2012 as director of Risk Assessment and Scientific Assistance, he was Managing Director of the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES) for ten years. AGES also represents Austria on EFSA’s Advisory Forum. From 2008 to March 2012, he also served as a member of EFSA’s Management Board.

Before working at AGES, Dr Url spent five years as an assistant professor at the Institute of Milk Hygiene and Milk Technology at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna before running a food quality control laboratory from 1993 to 2002.

Dr Url graduated from the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna in 1987 and became a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1990. He has published in the field of veterinary medicine with a particular focus on listeria and milk hygiene.

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