Dr Sharon McGuinness selected as ECHA’s new Executive Director


The Management Board of the European Chemicals Agency has selected Dr Sharon McGuinness as ECHA’s next Executive Director.

As part of the appointment procedure, she will make a statement before the European Parliament and answer questions from its members. This is tentatively scheduled for 4 July 2022.

Paul Krajnik, Chair of ECHA’s Management Board: “Congratulations to Sharon – we have selected an excellent candidate and look forward to hearing the European Parliament’s views. The new Executive Director will play an instrumental role for the Agency, which enters a crucial time in its work, marked by the EU’s ambitious objectives under the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability.”

Dr Sharon McGuinness, an Irish national, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) in Ireland since 2018. Prior to this, she was the Assistant Chief Executive for the Chemicals and Prevention Division within the Authority, with responsibility for division management, policy provision, advice and enforcement for a wide range of occupational health and safety, chemical and market surveillance legislation aimed at protecting human health and safety for workers and consumers.

She was a member of ECHA’s Management Board between 2014-2020 and Chair of the Board between 2016-2020. She graduated from the University College Dublin with a B.Sc. (Hons) in pharmacology and chemistry, and she holds a PhD in pharmacology, as well as diplomas in Legal Studies and Company Direction.

Dr McGuinness was one of the candidates preselected by the European Commission after an open competition and interviewed by the Management Board for the post.

Her selection follows that of Bjorn Hansen who retired in March 2022. Since 1 April 2022, Shay O’Malley has been ECHA’s acting Executive Director.

The term of office of the Executive Director is five years. It may be prolonged by the Management Board once, for a further term of five years.



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