Johann-Dietrich Wöörner - Director-General of the European Space Agency (ESA)

Johann-Dietrich 'Jan' Wöörner became the ESA Director General on 1 July 2015. Previously, from March 2007 to June 2015, he served as Chairman of the Executive Board of the German Aerospace Center (DLR). Jan Wöörner was born in Kassel, Germany, in 1954. He studied civil engineering at the Technical University (TU) Berlin and TU Darmstadt, from where he graduated in 1985. In 1982, as part of his studies, he spent one year in Japan, investigating earthquake safety of nuclear power plants. Until 1990, Mr Wöörner worked for consulting civil engineers Koenig und Heunisch.

In 1990 he returned to TU Darmstadt, where he was appointed as a professor of Civil Engineering and took over as Head of the Test and Research Institute. Before being elected as President of TU Darmstadt in 1995, he held the position of Dean of the newly established Civil Engineering Faculty. Jan Wöörner headed the university from 1995 to 2007 and succeeded in making it the first autonomous university of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Jan Wöörner has received honorary doctorates from New York State University at Buffalo (USA), technical universities of Bucharest (Romania) and Mongolia, the Saint Petersburg University for Economics and Finance (Russia) and École Centrale de Lyon (France). He has received the Federal Cross of Merit (Officer's cross, 1st class) of the Federal Republic of Germany for his continuous efforts regarding the next generation of scientists and Germany as a location for Science, Technology and Engineering.

Before joining ESA as Director General, Jan Wöörner was head of the German delegation to ESA from 2007 to 2015 and served as Chairman of the ESA Council from 2012 to 2014.