Days made up weeks that made up months that eventually added up to almost a year and a half but finally, on August 1st, 2017, I will hand over the ultimate operative responsibility for Karolinska Institutet to Ole Petter Ottersen, a highly experienced and recognized academic leader with a clearly expressed desire to join and lead our university in the years to come. I am sure that our transfer of responsibility will be smooth and very different from when I was put in operative charge February 13th, 2016 and took office with a mere 12 hours’ notice. Never could I then imagine that such a long time would lay ahead until I could welcome a new permanent Vice-Chancellor. Ole Petter will take over an overall very successful operation, where a lot has been done to deal with our shortcomings, but where there is still some way to go and were changes are needed. My personal wish is to, as I return to my role as Pro-Vice-Chancellor, continue to support Karolinska Institutet and its goal to improve human health to the benefit of individuals and society. I am actually curios to try this role as in reality the 6 weeks that I had the role was anything but normal…
We are in the middle of a very challenging journey
My finish will include hard work and is not without challenges. Karolinska Institutet is presently in the middle of a large infrastructural journey of change that needs to move on. The health care landscape in Stockholm is being transformed with significant implications for Karolinska Institutets education and research requiring action at many levels including at the top management level. We cannot step to the side and rest, but continue to work hard to rebuild and build a high-quality international university.
A restart for KI Holding
If the above was not enough, I was recently elected Chairman of KI holding. I see this role as a big responsibility as university innovation systems are an important part of our responsibility to transfer knowledge and ideas into the surrounding society to the benefit of individuals and society. My hope is that my experience from working in a large pharma will be valuable in this role. Together with the other board members and the acting CEO Anders Flodin, I am presently working towards a simplified company structure with a focus on core activities and improved coordination. Karolinska Institutets holding company, like holding companies at many universities, is fragmented and under-capitalized. In the latest research proposition, the government concluded that the focus of the holding companies managed by the higher education institutions should be reviewed. I really welcome this suggestion. However, so far, no further actions have been communicated.