News Flash from STFC

At last!

The worst kept secret in science is now out. The new Chief Executive of the Science and Technology Facilities Council is Professor John Womersley. Here’s an official-looking picture of him, although I think it has been photo-shopped to stop him looking so much like Christopher Biggins:

The announcement of appointment of the new CEO has been expected for months now. It appears that the reason for the delay is tied up with the start date. John Womersley will in fact take up the reins at STFC on 1st November 2011, not when the current CEO retires (at the end of March next year) as originally planned. The current CEO, Professor Keith Mason, has been shunted across to kicked into touch at booted into the long grass in given the opportunity to take up a secondment at the UK Space Agency until he retires next year. Apparently he is moving there

to advise on steps needed to leverage the research base to maximise the economic growth of the space sector.

Don’t ask me what it means, but one guesses some form of negotiation must have been going on behind the scenes all this time (a) to persuade Keith Mason to go early and (b) to persuade UKSA to make room in the basement for him.

Anyway, heartiest congratulations to John Womersley (@JohnWomersley on Twitter)  on his new appointment. A change was long overdue, and I wish him well in what is going to be a difficult job.

15 Responses to “News Flash from STFC”

  1. Mark McCaughrean Says:

    Just curious; is Keith’s retirement date a given? If Wikipedia is right about his birth date, he’ll be 60 in April next year, not 65. Then again, I have no idea what age UK civil servants retire at, despite having been one briefly many moons ago.

    The thought that comes to mind is whether the secondment at UKSA is actually a parking position; that said, David Williams, current UKSA boss, is actually six months younger than Keith, so …

  2. telescoper Says:

    The Times Higher has been quick on the draw with a story about Keith Mason’s early departure.

    Somewhat amusingly, the piece was written by “Paul Jump”.

  3. Anton Garrett Says:

    What’s his PB for the pole vault?

  4. […] mention the dark rumours I had been hearing before this announcement. Telescoping Peter has already emitted a post, but I got to this late as I have been exploring deepest Drenthe all day. More of this […]

  5. “It appears that the reason for the delay is tied up with the start date.”

    Or maybe it was just that the contracts were being dealt with by the Shared Services Centre?

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