Which woman will succeed Louise Fresco?

Names are already circulating through the grapevine.
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Louise O. Fresco is to step down from her position as president of WUR in June next year.  WUR seeks a successor, preferably a woman. Names have been circulating through the grapevine for months.

Consider, for example:

  • Carola Schouten

Currently still holding the position of outgoing Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Security (links to Dutch content). Whether she will return as a minister in the next Cabinet is uncertain. Her current position provides her with an excellent political and government network. Minor drawback: she has no research background in Wageningen’s domain.

  • Edith Schippers

Former Minister of Health, Welfare and Sports, currently president of DSM Netherlands (links to Dutch content). Chair of Foodvalley NL since last year. Experienced in governance, large political network and affinity with research in the domain of nutrition and health.

  • Barbara Baarsma

Professor of Applied Economics at the University of Amsterdam and director of Knowledge Development at Rabobank. Former SER (Social Economic Council) member and former director of an economic research consultancy agency. A regular guest in opinion shows on TV. Less governance experience than the candidates mentioned above.

  • Margrethe Jonkman

Research & Development Director of dairy company FrieslandCampina and chair of the  Top Consortium for Knowledge and Innovation (TKI) of the Top Sector Agri&Food. Supervisor of the Groningen university medical centre. Is a Wageningen alumnus of Food Technology and thus knowledgeable on Wageningen research and innovation. Has fewer political connections.

  • Rianne Letschert

Rector magnificus of Maastricht University. A former professor of Law. Showed leadership in Maastricht by rekindling the interaction between the university and the province. Just one issue: she is to assume the position of chair of the executive board of Maastricht University on 1 November.

  • Marietje Schaake

Director of the Stanford University Cyber Policy Center. Privacy-expert and artificial intelligence savvy. Spent ten years in the European Parliament. University background and political network. Young. Not part of Wageningen’s knowledge domain, but this could also be considered an advantage.

  • Gerda Verburg

Former Minister of Agriculture, now permanent Dutch representative at the FAO world food organisation. She is currently coordinating the United Nations’ Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN)-programme in Switzerland. Experienced director, extensive network.

  • Agnes Kalibata

Agriculture scientist and former Minister of Agriculture of Rwanda. Currently president of the Alliance for the Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). This month’s special envoy of the UN Food Systems-summit.   

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