The community mindset is one of SWITCH's strengths.

Peter Kofmel has been elected as the new Chairman of the Foundation Council. He tells us how he wants to take us forward.

Published on 31.03.2016

Just before Easter, SWITCH's Foundation Council  held a meeting to elect the members of its Committee. It elected Peter Kofmel as its new Chairman (see box for a brief bio). He replaces Torsten Braun, who had been acting Chairman after Markus Brönimann stepped down.

The following new members of the Committee were also elected: Axel Marion, Head of Division, Higher Education Policy at swissuniversities and Didier Rey, CIO at EPFL.

New Chairman Peter Kofmel tells us about his plans for SWITCH and where he sees challenges and potential for the foundation.

SWITCH: What do you intend to focus on in your work as Chairman of the SWITCH Foundation Council?
Peter Kofmel:
I see it as my main task to keep an eye on the big picture, working with SWITCH's operating management, the Foundation Council and its Committee to identify new developments and come up with appropriate responses. Communicating with the SWITCH community is also an important task for me.

Where do you see the biggest challenges for SWITCH in the next five years?
SWITCH has to keep up to date with the extremely fast-moving world of IT. It has to spot trends at an early stage or even anticipate them. This means that SWITCH regularly has to decide whether it makes more sense to develop a product itself, buy it in or leave it to the free market. 

Which topic is of most interest to you?
The community! At its heart, SWITCH is a kind of self-help institution, so it has to listen and offer support when the community expresses a need. I also think it's important for the Foundation Council to be proactive and critical, which in turn means that it needs to be informed in a transparent manner. Last but not least, I'd like to review our corporate governance and simplify it where it makes sense to do so. 

Where, in your view, do SWITCH's special strengths lie?
That community mindset is certainly one of them. Others are our high technical standards and carefully coordinated services.

Where do you see potential for SWITCH that you want to tap into during your term as Chairman?
I think SWITCH could do even more to transform itself from a technology-oriented organisation into a customer-oriented one. To do this, it has to listen to the community. SWITCH could also extend the community approach to other areas. It has already done so, for example, with SWITCHcert for banks.

Peter Kofmel

After studying jurisprudence at the University of Bern, Peter Kofmel qualified as a lawyer and notary in Solothurn. He also completed a course in management and held a number of posts at a trust firm, eventually becoming a member of the executive board before going freelance as a management consultant.
Kofmel has pursued a political career in parallel with his professional activities. He represented the Canton of Solothurn in the National Council from 1995 to 2003, focusing primarily on education and research policy.
He is a director of various companies and chairs a number of committees. Among others, he is Vice Chair of the University Board of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland.

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