Experienced international university executive is the new Chairman of DTU

Tuesday 15 Sep 20
On 1 January 2021, Karin Markides—a highly experienced university executive—will take up the position as Chairman of DTU’s Board of Governors. 

Karin Markides is former President and CEO of Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg and current President of the American University of Armenia, which is based on a foundation associated with the University of California.

She is a professor in analytical chemistry and—in addition to teaching and research in an international context—she has also focused on innovation and business collaboration. She holds several patents, has been Deputy Director General of the Swedish innovation agency Vinova, has experience from board work in start-ups, and has headed a technical university with high-profile industry collaborations.
She has been in charge of the development and deployment of several strategies, including in relation to funding and utilization of university activities, international research infrastructure, and sustainability.

Global outlook matches DTU’s strategy
“With Karin Markides, DTU gets a Chairman who has a global outlook and is extremely well versed on the international stage,” says Helle Vang Andersen, who chairs DTU’s Appointment Committee.

“Karin Markides not only has an impressive track record as a lecturer and researcher, but also as a leader. In her management functions, she has focused on the role of universities as a value-creating resource in the development and transformation of society—not least in relation to sustainability. Karin Markides will be a significant driver in the Board of Governors’ strategic initiatives for DTU’s new and ambitious strategy, under which the principal objectives are Europe’s best engineering education, sustainability, and digitalization. Her career is borne by a striving for excellence, impressive results, and a commitment which is fully aligned with DTU’s values.”

Support for an ambitious strategy is extremely rewarding
Regarding her motivation for taking up the position as Chairman, Karin Markides says:

“During my time as president, I’ve had the privilege of working with several highly competent board chairmen. The support that a chairman with extensive knowledge of a given sector can provide to a dynamic and development-oriented president is of great value to achieving a transformative development in which excellence is integrated into evolutionary research, education, and innovation environments. To have the opportunity to provide this support and expand the Board of Governor’s experience base as a foundation for the ambitious strategic process is a challenge that I find extremely rewarding.”

Knowledge into prosperity—DTU in a strong position
Karin Markides has great expectations for DTU’s new strategy:

“DTU’s goal of playing a leading role within engineering education in Europe, and with clear objectives in sustainability and digitalization, is definitely the way to go. I know DTU through researchers, Nordic5Tech, Smart City Climate KIC, and the ESS facility, and I’ve always been impressed by the University’s position. DTU is well-positioned to become a leader in the transformation that universities are undergoing and where the ability to convert knowledge into prosperity will be essential.”

International experience is an asset
Karin Markides is also convinced that the fact that she—as a Swede—is taking up the position as chairman at a Danish university should be seen as an asset:

“Knowledge is fundamentally global, as are professional networks. And the challenges the world is facing do not reside in only one country either. Whereas shared values and objectives are important to a trusting collaboration, different traditions and experiences enable creative development. In this light, I see my Swedish background and my experiences from different parts of the world as assets,” concludes Karin Markides.


About the process

The position as Chairman of the Board of Governors is filled in a process laid down in the Danish University Act (Universitetsloven). This includes an ad hoc Search Committee consisting of external members and representatives of the Board of Governors, as well as the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science, and a standing Appointment Committee with external members, as well as student and employee representatives.

The position has been posted on the University’s website and via social media. Karin Markides was nominated by a unanimous Search Committee and appointed by a unanimous Appointment Committee as new Chairman of the Board of Governors. The appointment was subsequently approved by the Minister for Higher Education and Science on 14 September 2020.

Search Committee

Birgit Aagaard-Svendsen, professional board member, former Executive Vice President and CFO of J. Lauritzen (Chairman)
Lars Holm, MSc Eng student (internal board member)
Jørgen Huno Rasmussen, professional board member, former CEO of FLSmidth
Lars Søren Rasmussen, professional board member, former CEO of Coloplast
Hanne Søndergaard, EVP Arla Foods (external board member)
Nikolaj Veje, Executive Director of the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (rep. for the Ministry of Higher Education and Science)

Appointment Committee

Helle Vang Andersen, Senior Vice President of COWI (Chairman)
Eva Berneke, CEO of KMD (board rep.)
Fei Chen, VP for New Business R&D, Haldor Topsøe A/S
Kaj Juul-Pedersen, CEO of Sitella ApS
Benjamin Wrist Lam, MSc Eng student (student rep.)
Esben Laulund, VP Emerging Techn., Chr. Hansen A/S
Bo Friis Nielsen, Professor (employee rep.)
Michael Nielsen, CEO of ForNAV
Helle Olund Villumsen, CTO, DBI Plastics

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