The European Food Safety Agency has appointed Geoffrey Podger as its executive director, a major step forward in the process of finalising the management team at the new organisation.
Podger is currently the chief executive of the UK Food Standards Agency and was responsible for its establishment and development. He is expected to appear before the European Parliament's Environment Committee, the final stage before his appointment is confirmed, before the end of the month.
Dr Stuart Slorach, chairman of the EFSA's management board, explained that all the potential candidates for the executive director post had been interviewed according to a shortlist which had been drawn up by the European Commission following an open call for expression of interests around the European Community. The job is one of the most influential and prestigious in food safety and attracted many senior figures in the field.
The process of establishing the four key elements of the Authority is advancing rapidly, Dr Slorach added. The management board, consisting of a Commission representative and 14 persons appointed in a personal capacity, met for the first time on 18-19 September 2002.
The appointment of the executive director opens the way to the establishment of the remaining elements - the setting up of the Authority's Scientific Committee and Panels and the establishment of the Advisory Forum.