ESS Council appoints Acting Director General

Kevin Jones
Acting ESS Director General, Kevin Jones. Photo: Indressa Gustafsson/ ESS

Following the recent resignation of ESS Director General, John Womersley, Kevin Jones, ESS Technical Director, has been appointed Acting Director General by ESS Council.

ESS Director General, John Womersley, last week announced that he would resign with immediate effect. This challenging phase at ESS requires strong and present leadership on site. With the travel restrictions caused by the pandemic, John is unable to travel to Lund and has, for extended periods, been leading ESS from his home in Scotland. Consequently, John has, after careful consideration, decided to step aside immediately.

John Womersley on the ESS construction site. 


“It has been a privilege to be the Director General for ESS over the past five years. We have come far and I look forward to seeing this truly important project for European science completed,” says John Womersley.

John Womersley joined ESS in late 2016 and has successfully led the complex project forward, transitioning from a civil construction phase into the initial operations phase, with the installation and commissioning of technical equipment provided by ESS in-kind partners from all over Europe. In addition, with his experience and role within the international research community, John has been instrumental in enforcing the position of ESS as a leading next-generation research infrastructure that will benefit science and society for many generations to come.

“ESS Council extends our sincere thanks to John Womersley for his dedicated work towards bringing ESS to completion, while we understand and respect his decision in this challenging pandemic,” says Beatrix Vierkorn-Rudolph, ESS Council Chair, “With his knowledge of ESS, Kevin Jones is an excellent choice as Acting Director General in this situation.”

Kevin Jones has extensive experience in the scientific and technical management of large-scale research facilities, including the Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Accelerator Operations and Technology at Los Alamos National Laboratory in USA. He serves as expert advisor on numerous facility and advisory committees for national and international research infrastructures.

The recruitment process for the new Director General is already on-going as John Womersley’s 5-year appointment was coming to an end in October 2021. ESS Council will name a new Director General as soon as possible.