Cologne/Stuttgart - Professor Dr Johann-Dietrich Wörner, currently the President of the Technical University (TU) of Darmstadt, is to become Chairman of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) as of 1 March 2007. This appointment was decided today by the Senate of DLR, chaired by the State Secretary from the Federal Ministry of Economics, Dr Joachim Wuermeling. The Senate met at DLR's annual general meeting in Stuttgart. Professor Wörner will succeed Professor Dr Sigmar Wittig (b. 1940), who is now retiring. At the end of February 2007, he will have been Chairman of DLR for five years. The Senate also extended the period of office of board member Dr Ludwig Baumgarten by another 22 months, until he, too, reaches retirement age.
Dr Joachim Wuermeling, Professor Dr Johann-Dietrich Wörner and Professor Dr Sigmar Wittig after the Senate meeting
Professor Wörner (b. 1954) has been President of TU Darmstadt since 1995. Professor Wörner, who has a doctorate in civil engineering, became a professor of solid structure engineering and manager of the university's testing and experiment facility in 1990. In 1995, he also became a professor of statics. He has been a member of the Senate of DLR since 2002. Professor Wörner originally comes from Kassel; he is married with three children.
Dr Joachim Wuermeling, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology and Chairman of the Senate of DLR, commented: "As an engineer, Professor Wörner is ideally qualified to give a fresh stimulus to DLR as a major research organisation and to represent its role as Germany's national space agency on an international level."
The period of office of the current chairman, Professor Wittig, will end on 28 February 2007. Professor Wittig is also Chairman of the Council of the European Space Agency (ESA). Until he retires from his formal duties, he will devote the summer of 2007, in the last year of his official appointment, to his duties as lecturer in thermal fluid flow engines at the University of Karlsruhe (TH). He was Rector of the University until he joined DLR.
The Chairman of the Board of DLR, Professor Wittig, said of his successor: "As a member of the University Council at TU Darmstadt, I have known Professor Wörner for many years and I am absolutely delighted at the news of his appointment. In Professor Wörner the DLR Senate has found an individual with a profound understanding of the fields in which DLR operates. On behalf of all the staff at DLR, I would like to wish him every success and the necessary good luck that even scientists and researchers need."
DLR is the Federal Republic of Germany's national research centre for aerospace, energy and transport. It carries out research and development in a wide range of fields and is involved in national and international joint ventures. In addition to carrying out its own research, DLR, as the national space agency, is also responsible for planning and implementing Germany's space activities on behalf of the federal government.