EMA Highlights: EMA chief ‘back at the helm’

by Gary Finnegan: Professor Guido Rasi has been reappointed Executive Director of the European Medicines Agency for a five-year term. The decision brings an end to one of the more complex and controversial recruitment processes in EU history.

The Agency first selected Professor Rasi – a respected Italian regulator – in 2011 after a lengthy dispute between the medicines watchdog and the European Commission over the salary for its highest-ranked official.

After a year in which a caretaker director, Adreas Potts, ran the EU regulator, Rasi took office in November 2011 and held the position until November 2014. However, last year the EU Civil Service Tribunal “annulled” his appointment after another candidate complained about procedural issues in the initial recruitment process.

While Rasi formally stepped aside in 2014, he continued to work in a new role as Principal Advisor in Charge of Strategy – during which time Mr Potts once again deputised as the official figurehead.

“I am very happy to be back at the helm of the Agency,” said Professor Rasi on his first day in office. “We are currently undergoing the most significant transformation of the system of medicine development and authorisation that I have seen during my 35-year career in public health, either as a doctor, a researcher or a regulator. It is exciting and challenging to be leading the Agency during this time.”