Unanimously elected by the EIT Governing Board as its next Chairperson, Gioia Ghezzi will succeed Dirk Jan van den Berg when his mandate ends on 30 June 2020.
Commenting on her appointment, Gioia said: ‘I am delighted to have been elected Chairperson and thank my fellow board members for their trust and support. My particular thanks to Dirk Jan: under his leadership, the EIT has reached a new level of maturity, delivery and recognition. The Institute has delivered on its mission and significantly increased its unique support to students, entrepreneurs and innovators across Europe.
These are unprecedented times and we need to overcome the COVID-19 crisis. Innovation will play a significant role in the solution: not only from a health or economical perspective but in almost every strand, it will prepare Europe’s future. The EIT will play a key role in tackling these challenges, under Horizon Europe, the EU’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation 2021-2027. I look forward to steering the EIT as it enters this new phase and sets out to achieve the ambitious objectives of its new Strategic Innovation Agenda (SIA).’
Following the decision, Dirk Jan added: ‘I am thrilled that Gioia will become the EIT’s next Chairperson. With her experience and commitment to the EIT, I am convinced the EIT Community will continue to play its part in finding innovative solutions to the global challenges facing Europe. As the EIT is putting strong emphasis on increasing women participation in innovation and entrepreneurship, I am also pleased that the Institute will have a role model at its helm’.
The Governing Board is the EIT’s principal governing body, entrusted with steering the activities of the EIT, for the selection, designation and evaluation of the Knowledge and Innovation Communities, and for all other strategic decisions. It is independent and autonomous in its decision-making.
To fulfil its mandate, the Governing Board brings together 12 high calibre members balancing prominent expertise from the higher education, research, business and innovation fields.
Gioia Ghezzi (IT)
Born in Italy, Gioia obtained a degree in theoretical physics from the University of Milan and later an MBA at London Business School. She is Member of the EIT Governing Board and Executive Committee and also holds a number of non-executive and institutional roles, including Chair of the RGI Group (Corsair Capital), Board Member and Chair of the Nomination Committee of Atlantia (Edizione Holding), Member of the Scientific Committee of Confindustria (IT), Vice-President Smart City & Sustainability of Assolombarda (IT). She was previously Chair of the Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane Group in Rome between 2014 and 2018.
She brings extensive experience and her career includes roles such as CEO of International Group Risk Solutions for the Zurich Insurance Group in 2013 to 2016; Chief Operating Officer for Willis Group in 2012 to 2013; over 11 years with McKinsey & Company as Partner in their London office as well as various positions at Academic Press in London and IBM Research in Rome and Milan.
Her full biography is available here.
Dirk Jan van den Berg (NL)
Has been Chairman of the EIT Governing Board since 01 July 2018. He currently holds the Chair of the Association of Health Insurance Companies in the Netherlands (Zorgverzekeraars Nederland). He is the Chair of the Supervisory Board of the National Science Foundation (NWO) in the Netherlands. He also has several supervisory roles, in Gasunie BV (gas transport services in the Netherlands), FMO (the Dutch Development Bank) and TRADESPARENT BV (a startup/scaleup in data management software).
Previously, Dirk Jan held high-level positions in the Dutch diplomatic and civil service, as secretary general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, permanent representative to the UN in New York and ambassador to the People's Republic of China. In academia, he served as the (executive) president of Delft University of Technology. In the past five years, he has held the chair of the Sanquin Foundation, the organisation responsible for the blood supply in the Netherlands. His full biography is available here.