Published: 20.09.13

Lino Guzzella appointed President of ETH Zurich

The Swiss Federal Council has appointed Lino Guzzella, ETH Rector and Professor of Thermotronics, as the future ETH President. He will be taking over from Ralph Eichler who is retiring at the end of 2014. By taking this decision, the Swiss Government has endorsed the unanimous proposal made by the ETH Board.

Norbert Staub
ETH President Ralph Eichler (r) congratulates his successor on his election.
ETH President Ralph Eichler (r) congratulates his successor on his election. "I am very happy and proud at the confidence which the Federal Council and ETH Board have placed in me", Lino Guzzella comments. He will be taking up his duties on 1 January 2015. (large view)

The timetable for the election of the next President of ETH Zurich stipulated that the ETH Board was to submit a proposal to the Swiss Federal Council in winter 2013/14. In fact everything went ahead faster than anticipated. By mid-April 2013, the closing date for submissions, a total of some 50 applications and third party nominations were received in response to the ETH Board’s announcement of the vacancy. The ETH Board went on to assess and short list the candidates with the participation of two consultative votes on behalf of ETH Zurich. ETH Rector Lino Guzzella gave impressive confirmation to the selection board and Federal Council as the appointing authority that he was the right person to lead ETH Zurich into the future.

“Pride and respect”

“I am very happy and proud at the confidence which the Federal Council and ETH Board have placed in me”, Lino Guzzella said about his election. “but I also have immense respect for the responsibility of being asked to lead ETH, one of the finest universities of technology. To my mind, there is no more honourable position in the Swiss scientific community, but also no more challenging task, than to serve as President of ETH Zurich.”

ETH President Ralph Eichler is delighted that a member of the existing school management is to succeed him. “I congratulate Lino Guzzella sincerely on his election and am delighted that he proved to be the best candidate in this challenging, international appointment procedure,” Ralph Eichler comments. “I have got to know and appreciate Lino Guzzella as a highly capable, dedicated and constructive member of the school management and I am convinced that he will advance the cause of ETH Zurich in years to come with the support of the professors and school management.” The ETH President continued: “For just over one more year, I will continue to work with the experienced school management team with real dedication and enthusiasm to further enhance the image of ETH Zurich as a first class teaching and research establishment.”

The new President will take up his duties in early 2015. Lino Guzzella points out that he will continue to perform his task as Rector until the end of 2014 with great enthusiasm and still plans to implement a few important projects. “I took up my duties as ETH Rector just over a year ago with real pleasure,” Lino Guzzella says, “and until my last working day as Rector I will devote all my energies to this task with high motivation.”

Fresh impetus

ETH Board Chairman Fritz Schiesser believes that Lino Guzzella ideally satisfies the wide-ranging criteria for an ETH President. “He is a prominent figure with a track record which extends far beyond the field of science. In his short term of office as Rector, Lino Guzzella set important standards for teaching,” Fritz Schiesser comment. “I am convinced that after taking up his duties as President on 1 January 2015, he will lead ETH Zurich successfully as a university establishment which enjoys both national and international prestige. The future President has an outstanding international network as a researcher; he maintains close practical contacts with industry and is an excellent communicator.”

As Lino Guzzella is moving from his position as Rector to the office of President, a new appointment will now also have to be made the post of Rector. The Conference of Teaching Staff of ETH Zurich is responsible for preparing the election.

Listen to and watch statements by the present and future ETH Presidents about the election in a short video contribution.

Tasks of the President of ETH Zurich

The President has legal and political responsibility for the university. He or she heads up the school management and defines strategy in agreement with its other members. In addition, the President decides on the budget, allocates resources to the different school management areas and departments and determines financial responsibilities for the whole university. He prepares the appointment of Professors. He represents the ETH in dealings with the outside world, maintains relations with the authorities, political bodies and the general public and is responsible for information policy. The President also steers the process of internationalization, prospects the market and builds up strategic alliances.