Were you taken by surprise by this conclusion?
“Although the decision itself was announced only recently, it didn’t take me by surprise. Over the course of my discussions with the Supervisory Board, we gradually arrived at this joint conclusion. We wanted to be transparent about the process: about the fact that we’re examining which form of governance best suits the organisation at this stage. Only then can you start considering which profile the desired administrator should have. So everyone knows what to expect.”
President Baele is not going for a second term
Kristel Baele does not want to stand in the way of the development of the university that…
Wouldn’t you have liked to finish the job yourself?
“We’re now entering a new phase, and the Supervisory Board concluded that it was time to pause and reflect for a moment. They want to explore which needs the organisation has at this point, and I decided I didn’t want to stand in the way of this process. In my view, the discussion shouldn’t centre on the Chair’s reappointment but on the current needs of the organisation.”
But don’t you think it’s a shame leaving precisely now?
“An administrator’s work is never done. That’s part of the job. I’ll continue to follow developments at the university with interest – as I do with all the organisations I’ve worked for. But I wouldn’t call it a shame.”
The press release talks about finding the best form of governance for the period ahead. Which form would that be in your view – and why didn’t you fit the profile?
“We don’t know what type of governance best suits current requirements. That’s exactly why I’m stepping back – so the university can study this question.”
In the press release you look back on your term of (close to) four years as a stimulating and intensive period in your life. Could you share a few examples?
“Developing the new strategy was both stimulating and intensive. We took a new approach to this challenge and were able to build broad support. One activity that I found particularly inspiring was mobilising people and their creative potential. A fine example would be the Science Hotel organised last November. This event formed a very appealing and substantial showcase for our university.”
What do you hope to accomplish in the final months of your term?
“It will be business as usual. We won’t be reshuffling portfolios, and I don’t expect to be bored. There’s enough going on that requires our attention.”