European Commission’s Bjorn Hansen Appointed Head of Echa
Echa’s management board has appointed Bjorn Hansen, head of the chemicals unit at the European Commission’s environment directorate-general, as the agency’s executive director.
Mr Hansen replaces Geert Dancet, who has held the position since the agency's inception in 2007. Mr Hansen will serve a standard five-year term in office, beginning in January 2018 however this can be extended by Echa’s Management Board for a further five years.
Mr Hansen became head of the Commission’s chemicals unit in 2003. From 2007 to 2008, he was seconded to Echa as the director of operations and has been involved in the development of REACH from the beginning.
In a statement to Chemical Watch, Mr Hansen said that being selected as the second executive director of the agency is an "honour".
Henrik Søren Larsen, deputy chairman of Echa’s management board and head of the Danish EPA's chemicals unit, said: "We selected an excellent candidate and look forward to hearing the European Parliament Committee’s views. Our assessment benefited from the very good job the Commission did to provide us with such high quality candidates".
Marco Mensink, director general of Cefic, the European Chemical Industry Council, said that Mr Hansen "is a well-known and highly regarded expert with decades of first-hand experience in developing EU chemical legislation. We are confident that his expertise and demonstrable ability in providing outstanding leadership will help fulfil the agency’s mandate during his term in the office. We look forward to working with Mr. Hansen."
Cefic also commended Mr Dancet for "having done an excellent job in building a strong organisation and enhancing the implementation of the EU chemical legislation over the past ten years".
Mr Dancet previously served in the European Commission’s industry directorate-general for more than 20 years. He became head of the directorate-general’s REACH unit in 2004 to lead negotiations leading up to adoption of the Regulation two years later.
As part of the appointment procedure, Mr Hansen will make a statement before the European Parliament and answer questions from its Members. Mr Hansen is scheduled to sign his contract during the Management Board meeting of 14-15 December.
This article was updated on 29 September to include a statement from Bjorn Hansen.
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