Hans Smits was a member of EUR’s Supervisory Board until the end of May 2018, for a term of nine years – four of which he served as the Board’s Chair. He was reappointed as a member of EUR’s Supervisory Board on 1 October 2019, but will be vacating this position as of 30 November. Mr Smits currently serves as the CEO of Janssen de Jong Groep. Before this, he served as president and CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, chairman of the board of Rabobank, CEO of Royal Schiphol Group and Secretary-General of the Ministry of Transport and Water Management. Mr Smits studied Business Administration at Erasmus University Rotterdam and Civil Engineering at Delft University of Technology.

“Hans Smits is a very experienced and highly respected administrator,” says Corien Prins, Chair of the EUR Supervisory Board. “He has a large network at his disposal and has a strong track record when it comes to the collective management of large, complex organisations. This makes him exceptionally well-equipped to serve as the interim head of Erasmus University.”

Under protest

In its response, the University Council states that it has endorsed Smits’ appointment under protest. “The University Council’s Confidential Committee has spoken with Hans Smits in person. This objection does not relate to Mr Smits personally, but rather to the procedure followed in his appointment,” says the Council chair Hans van den Berg.

EUR does not have a separate procedure for the appointment of interim members of the Executive Board. According to the University Council, this means that legally, the university should have adhered to the regular appointment procedure. “The university should have formed an appointment committee made up of two members of the University Council, two deans, two members of the Supervisory Board and two members of the Executive Board.” This procedure has not been followed, at any rate: a ‘lamentable’ situation in the view of the Council.

Moreover, the University Council has reiterated the importance of following the correct procedures and observing the rights of the representative body. “After all, there is also a lack of clarity when it comes to the appointment procedure for interim deans, which may restrict the participation of the representative body at the faculty level.”