Deputy Executive Director Noël Wathion retires after 25 years of service
EMA’s Deputy Executive Director Noël Wathion will retire today from the Agency, after 25 years of service.
“Noël Wathion’s retirement brings to a close an exceptional career of service to public health in the EU and I would like to thank him, on behalf of the Agency, for his remarkable contribution to EMA’s work over the last 25 years,” said EMA’s Executive Director Emer Cooke. “He has shown strong leadership and was instrumental in steering the Agency successfully through periods of particular challenge such as Brexit and COVID-19. He will also be remembered as a champion of transparency and public engagement, an area where EMA has led the way worldwide, thanks to his work and commitment.”
Noël Wathion, a pharmacist by training and Belgian national, joined EMA in 1996. He supported five Executive Directors and occupied many different roles and responsibilities. From 1996 to 2001, he served as Head of Regulatory Affairs and Pharmacovigilance, and from 2001 to 2009 as Head of Post-Authorisation Evaluation of Medicines for Human Use. He then became Head of Patient Health Protection (2009–2013) followed by Head of Stakeholders and Communication (2013–2016) and Chief Policy Adviser (2013–2016).
In 2016, he was appointed Deputy Executive Director and took on the additional role of Chief of Policy. He chaired EMA's Operations and Relocation Preparedness (ORP) Task Force, set up following the United Kingdom's decision to leave the EU, as well as EMA’s COVID-19 Steering Group, a leadership group at EMA aiming to support a fast response to the rapidly evolving scientific and regulatory challenges created by the pandemic.
Following the departure of Noël Wathion, the tasks from the Deputy Executive Director’s office will be re-distributed within the Agency, and in particular:
- Ivo Claassen will be assigned Deputy Executive Director responsibilities in addition to his current role as Head of the Veterinary Division. In this capacity, he will be in charge of assuming delegated activities in Emer Cooke’s absence. He will also be responsible for the strategic oversight of IT security;
- Melanie Carr, Head of Stakeholders and Communication, will take over ad interim the activities relating to crisis and emergency management;
- a new Institutional and Policy department will be created as an advisory function to the Executive Director. Hilde Boone, currently Head of EU Institutional Liaison, will take up the position ad interim;
- Facilities Management will move to the Administration Division.