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Guido Rasi steps down as EMA's Executive Director, Emer Cooke to become first female in the role

Published on 13/11/20 at 01:11pm

Professor Guido Rasi, Executive Director at the European Medicines Agency (EMA), serves his final day at the European regulator today, bringing his tenure of over a decade at the agency to a close.

Rasi originally stepped into the position in November 2011. In 2014, he took a break from the position to serve as the EMA’s Principal Adviser in Charge of Strategy until November 2015, when he began his second term as Executive Director.

In the three years before he took up the role in 2011, he sat as a member of the EMA’s Management Board.

Prior to his time at the EMA, Rasi headed up the Italian Medicines Agency as its Director General from 2008 to 2011, having been a member of its Management Board from 2004 to 2008.

He served as Director of Research at the Institute of Neurobiology and Molecular Medicine of the National Research Council (CNR) in Rome from 2005 to 2008, and in the latter year was made Professor of Microbiology at the University of Rome.

Before this, he spent 15 years at Italy’s Institute for Experimental Medicine of the National Research Council from 1990.

Alongside his slew of executive roles, Rasi has also authored more than 100 scientific publications throughout his career.

“Today is my last day as Executive Director of EMA,” Rasi said in a statement. “My mandate comes to an end in the middle of the biggest public health emergency in a century.

“I am leaving EMA at a time when its mandate is set to be expanded. This is an acknowledgement of the good work and reputation that the Agency has built over the last 25 years,” he added.

It was announced back in June that Emer Cooke, Director of the Regulation and Prequalification Department at the World Health Organization (WHO), would succeed Rasi as Executive Director at the EMA, after she was selected from a shortlist by the organisation’s Management Board.

She brings over 30 years of experience in international regulatory roles, including tenures at the EMA from 2002 to 2006 and the pharmaceutical division of the European Commission from 1998 to 2002, and will be the first woman to serve in the role.

“I hand over my responsibilities at this critical time to the capable hands of Emer Cooke whom I have had the pleasure of working with over the years. I know Emer to be a strong leader who is committed to steering EMA during this very challenging period and ensuring that the Agency’s work on COVID-19-related activities continues uninterrupted.”

Matt Fellows

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