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Foto: Daniël Rommens.

UvA is looking for a new President of the Executive Board

Dirk Wolthekker,
16 november 2023 - 11:35

President of the Executive Board Geert ten Dam is beginning the last six months of her presidency at UvA. On June 1st – exactly eight years after she took office – her second and final term as president of the Board will end. A search for her successor is already underway. An advertisement will be placed in the near future.

The draft job profile for the new executive president - in the hands of Folia - has now been approved by the UvA’s Central Works Council and Central Student Council. The UvA is placing an ad with a profile for an executive president to which Geert ten Dam (65) could easily apply, were it not for the fact that she will be leaving on June 1st.


Her successor must obviously have a strong academic background, but also be “an inspiring and unifying leader, a goal-oriented and democratic administrator and team player,” according to the job profile. The new president must be aware of being an employer “of a large and diverse institution, have an eye for engaging talent and managing workloads, and encourage staff - and students - to continually improve and self-reflect.”


Leadership style

On top of that, the new president - like the current one - must give “social safety and non-violence top priority,” and “must guard against the abuse of power inequality and have a clear vision of the role of, and demonstrable affinity with, co-determination. The new UvA boss must also be “visible and approachable to students and staff” and have a “transparent, consensus-oriented style of leadership.” Once decisions have been made, the new president “must actively implement them against the background of broad, open communication.” In short, the UvA must look for a new president much like the current one.


Application committee

What Ten Dam’s succession procedure will look like is now widely known. The Supervisory Board put together a representative application committee that prepared a job profile. The committee consists of delegates from the Central Student Council, the Central Works Council, the Supervisory Board, the Executive Board, and the deans and is chaired by Marise Voskens, President of the Supervisory Board (she herself, incidentally, will also step down on September 1st, 2024). During the application process, the committee will be assisted by an executive search firm, a company specializing in recruiting top executives.

A detailed report of the interviews with the candidates was published shortly afterward in the newspaper NRC

Egon Zehnder

In 2016, when Ten Dam herself was recruited (as was her later colleague, Rector Karen Maex), the procedure was externally supervised by the headhunter and executive search firm Egon Zehnder. The job interviews took place in the office of this agency at the Zuidas, but that did not prove to be a safe and discreet environment, since a detailed report of the interviews was published shortly afterward in the newspaper NRC (see here, in Dutch), including the names of Maex and Ten Dam as well as the names of the rejected candidates. The Supervisory Board at the time, led by the late Atzo Nicolaï, was furious. It is therefore unlikely that Egon Zehnder will supervise the procedure. It is not yet known what firm will take on the supervision, but the UvA works extensively with the firm Holtrop Ravesloot.


June 1st

Ten Dam’s second and final term will expire on June 1st, 2024, as mentioned above. The Supervisory Board assumes that her successor will also take office at that time and can then use the entire summer for an onboarding process before the new academic year begins on September 1st with the new college president. An official and formal farewell to Geert ten Dam is also expected to be held at that time.