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Yannick d'Escatha appointed new CNES President

Press Release From: Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES)
Posted: Thursday, February 27, 2003

Wednesday 19 February, the French council of ministers, on the recommendation of the Minister of Defence and the Minister for Research and New Technologies, appointed Yannick d’Escatha as President of the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES).

Born 1948, Yannick d’Escatha graduated from the Ecole Polytechnique engineering school, where he finished second in his year. He then pursued his engineering studies at the Ecole des Mines, qualifying as a chief mining and geology engineer and obtaining a post-masters degree in theoretical mechanics before beginning his career in teaching and research at the Ecole Polytechnique, the Ecole des Mines de Paris and the ENSTA advanced technologies school.

In 1978, Yannick d’Escatha was appointed to head the nuclear installations safety inspectorate at the Ministry of Industry. In 1982, he joined the French atomic energy agency CEA as Deputy Managing Director of its subsidiary Technicatome. He was subsequently appointed to head CEA’s Advanced Technologies Directorate in 1990, Deputy Administrator in 1992, Administrator in 1995 and President of CEA-Industrie in 1999.

In January 2000, he was appointed to head the Industry division of French electric utility EDF, where he was in charge of industrial strategy. He became Co-Chief Executive Officer of EDF in January 2002.

He joins CNES effective 19 February 2003.

In a statement to all employees, the newly appointed President said: "I know that CNES is going through a serious crisis and that the space sector is struggling. But the reason I was prepared to leave EDF for CNES is because I believe in space, in the many benefits it is already bringing in telecommunications, television, GPS, Earth observation, oceanography, weather forecasting, the environment, science, security and defence, industry and services, and in the huge potential waiting to be tapped; because I believe that the conquest of space is an important challenge for the future of all humankind; and because I believe in CNES and in its future."

  Yannick d'Escatha Biography

Born 1948 in Paris, Yannick d'Escatha graduated from the Ecole Polytechnique engineering school at the age of 20, where he finished second in his year. He then chose to pursue his studies at the Ecole des Mines, where he qualified as a chief mining and geology engineer before taking up a career in teaching and research.

At the age of 24, he was appointed as a senior lecturer at the Ecole Polytechnique, the Ecole des Mines de Paris and the ENSTA advanced technologies engineering school.

His research work at the mechanics laboratory of the Ecole Polytechnique on soil mechanics and structural mechanics earned him a reputation as an expert in rupture mechanics.

This work and his many publications, including a co-written book, won him an award from the French Science Academy in 1982.

In 1973, he helped to draft French regulations governing nuclear-fired water boilers, and then worked as an expert engineering consultant with the Ministry of Industry to enforce them.

In 1978, he was appointed to head the nuclear installations safety inspectorate at the Ministry of Industry, where he oversaw application of these regulations for France's nuclear electricity generation programme.

In 1982, he was seconded to Technicatome, a subsidiary of the French atomic energy agency CEA, whose main mission was to act as lead industrial contractor on the development of nuclear propulsion for French Navy vessels. He then occupied the post of Director at Technicatome's facilities in Cadarache and Aix en Provence before being appointed Deputy Managing Director 1 January 1987.

1 March 1990, he was appointed by the CEA Administrator to head its newly formed Advanced Technologies Directorate, and became Deputy Administrator 14 September in 1992.

He was appointed CEA Administrator 1 July 1995 and then President of CEA-Industrie 28 June 1999.

January 2000, he was appointed to head the Industry division of French electric utility EDF, where he was in charge of industrial strategy. He became Co-Chief Executive Officer of EDF in January 2002.

He was elected to the Applications Council of the French Science Academy 11 March 1997. He has been a Member of the French Technology Academy since 12 December 2000.

He was appointed Chairman of the Board of the Ecole Polytechnique 2 May 2001.

Yannick d'Escatha is an Officier de l'Ordre National du Mérite and Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur.

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