Executive Board and Advisory Board secretary no longer same person

TU/e has separated the roles of secretary to the Executive Board and secretary to the Supervisory Board. Cursor already reported recently on Eric van der Geer-Rutten-Rijswijk’s appointment as the new secretary to the Executive Board, as of February 1, 2024. At this time, it wasn’t yet clear whether he would also hold the position of secretary to the Supervisory Board, as his predecessor Patrick Groothuis did. Enquiry revealed this not to be the case.

photo Matdesign24/ iStock

Following questions by Cursor, university spokesperson Ivo Jongsma communicated the following: “The role of university secretary has been separated from the role of secretary to the Supervisory Board. So Eric van der Geer-Rutten-Rijswijk only holds the position of university secretary. In principle, it’s possible to combine both roles, in which case the secretary has to use their professionalism to keep them separated where needed, and that worked fine in practice.” The latter is a reference to how things were done in the past, with the roles being assigned to one and the same person.

This was the focus of questions both from within and outside the community, for instance in this open letter and in the ombudsman’s report. Concerns were mainly raised about whether the secretary can be independent if they serve both the Executive Board and the body supervising it, i.e. the Supervisory Board.

Regarding this, spokesperson Jongsma states: “We can understand that having a double position may be tricky if the Supervisory Board handles a confidential case revolving around the Executive Board or one of its members. This was also observed by our ombudsperson, in her latest report. That’s why the roles have now been separated.”

Andy van Eggelen tasked

From now on, head of legal Andy van Eggelen will be tasked with the role of secretary to the Supervisory Board. “He has intimate knowledge of the rules for good governance and where  everyone stands in potentially delicate situations, and knows which attitude to adopt,” Jongsma lists the arguments supporting the choice of Van Eggelen. “We’re currently looking into how to arrange general support of the Supervisory Board in the long term, including the role of its secretary. What’s clear in any case is that confidential matters relating to the Executive Board or one of its members will not be supervised by the university secretary.”

Martijn Klabbers, a member of the University Council’s staff faction, says he’s happy with the attention that’s been paid to this issue and with the – for now temporary – separation of the two positions. “We believe that combining these roles in one and the same person should also be prevented in the future by introducing a new rule into the management regulations.

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