On 4 September, the Federal Council elected Michael Hengartner as the new president of the ETH Board, at the request of the head of the EAER Guy Parmelin. Michael Hengartner, 53, succeeds Fritz Schiesser, who stepped down from the post at the end of April. Mr Hengartner has been rector of the University of Zurich since 2014. He will take up his new post on 1 February next year.
Michael Hengartner was appointed rector of the University of Zurich in 2014. Since 2016, he has also served as president of swissuniversities. Mr Hengartner grew up in Québec City. He is a dual citizen of Switzerland and Canada. He studied biochemistry at the Université Laval in Québec City. After earning his PhD in 1994 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with Nobel Laureate H. Robert Horvitz, he was head of a research group at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in the United States until 2001. In 2001, he was appointed professor of molecular biology at the newly created Ernst Hadorn Chair at the Institute of Molecular Life Sciences at the University of Zurich. From 2009 to 2014, he acted as dean of the Faculty of Science.
Fritz Schiesser, Mr Hengartner’s predecessor, retired at the end of April. Beth Krasna, vice president of the ETH Board, has since served ad interim as president of the ETH Board, and will continue to do so until the end of January next year. Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin appointed a selection committee to find a successor to Mr Schiesser. The position was widely advertised. A total of 29 candidates had applied for the post.