Managing Director and Chairperson of the Management Board (f/m/d)

European XFEL
Schenefeld, Schleswig-Holstein
Attractive remuneration package including a performance-based pay component.
16 May 2022
15 Jun 2022

Would you like to work in an international environment and help out at the world’s brightest X-ray source?

Then consider joining European XFEL, a new research facility of superlatives. European XFEL generates ultrashort and extremely bright X-ray flashes for studies in different disciplines like life sciences, chemistry, and materials research.

Enlightening Science

European X-ray Free Electron Laser (European XFEL) is one of the world's hot spots in the field of natural science research. European XFEL GmbH is a non-profit company, supported by twelve European countries, based in the Hamburg metropolitan region. Currently, more than 400 employees process an annual operating budget of about 130 million euros; the construction budget was 1.54 B€. Our core values are collaboration, excellence, transparency and trust.

Our unique, high energy, linear accelerator generates ultrashort, high repetition rate, X-ray pulses of outstanding spatial coherence and spectral brilliance. In collaboration with international user communities, especially from our shareholder countries, we perform world-class experiments for a broad range of scientific applications. By creating research opportunities, developing novel scientific methods, and pioneering beyond state-of-the-art technologies, we strengthen the competitiveness of European science. As a culturally diverse workforce with a collaborative spirit we place user support, research and knowledge transfer at the core of our mission.
European XFEL provides the international scientific community a world-leading research facility which pushes forward the frontiers of scientific knowledge, opens new scientific avenues and enables solving major societal challenges.

Because the current post holder is retiring, we have to fill as of 1 January 2024 the position

Managing Director and Chairperson of the Management Board (f/m/d)

The position

Main responsibilities of the position are to:

  • Act as the legal representative of the company, jointly with the Administrative Director,
  • Manage and act as an example for the staff,
  • Act as the primary contact at the company for the shareholders, the international scientific community and the public,
  • Lead the definition of the medium and long term strategy for the further development of the company, in collaboration with the shareholders and user community,
  • Position European XFEL as a world-leading photon science user facility,
  • Provide a safe, excellent, efficient, reliable and frictionless user operation,
  • Act proactively to attract funds and to develop opportunities for the facility,
  • Promote the in-house research programme and the continuous technological advancement of the facility, in dialogue with the user community,
  • Optimize the organizational structures and processes of the Company.

The Managing Director will

  • Inspire, lead and coordinate the work of the Management Board, which consists, besides the Chairperson, of the Administrative Director and three Scientific Directors.
  • Act in agreement with the Convention and the Articles of Association and report accountable to the Council (assembly of shareholders),
  • Promote internally the further development of leadership culture, diversity and equal opportunity policies,
  • Put a focus on sustainability in every respect,
  • Cooperate trustfully with the employee representation,
  • Attract outstanding talents from the international community to work at European XFEL company and support them.


Candidates should have

  • A record of distinguished performance and leadership in scientific research with a strong background in X-ray photon science with at least 15 years postgraduate positions and significant experience in high-level management functions,
  • A proven track record in the successful management of scientific facilities or large projects, at senior management levels,
  • Understanding of the principles of the legal framework of corporate governance,
  • Strong organisational skills,
  • Ability to work in a complex multidisciplinary and international environment and to promote science diplomacy,
  • Ability to find creative solutions to complex problems,
  • Excellent communication skills, with institutional stakeholders as well as with the broader public,
  • Cooperative leadership style,
  • The ability to inspire and engage the staff.

The working language of European XFEL is English, hence fluency in spoken and written English is a must. German knowledge is considered an asset.

For additional information, please contact Simone Pfister, BT&Cie. Executive Search, Tel. +49 30 2063279-14 ( or Michael Tippmann, BT&Cie. Executive Search, Tel. +49 30 2063279-12 (

Working place will be Schenefeld in the Hamburg metropolitan area. General information on working in Germany, the Hamburg area and the European XFEL can be found under

Our offer

For this highly challenging management position we offer an attractive remuneration package including a performance-based pay component. In addition European XFEL provides a non-contributory company pension scheme as well as broad relocation benefits. The duration of the contract is five years. An extension by up to five years is possible if agreed and decided by the European XFEL Council.
The European XFEL GmbH intends to achieve a widely international staff and in particular applicants from our shareholder countries are welcome. The European XFEL GmbH is an equal opportunity, non discriminative and affirmative action employer and encourages applications from women.

Reference number: S-410

Duration: This appointment is initially limited to 5 years. An extension is possible.

Deadline: 21 June 2022


If you are interested in this position, please apply and provide a motivation letter and a CV in English, as well as a list of publications and your references in one pdf-file. Questions regarding the announcement may be addressed to Simone Pfister or Michael Tippmann BT& Cie Executive Search under +49 30 2063279-14 respectively -12.
Please note that your application documents will be shared with the members of the Search and Selection Committee as well as our executive search partner (information about data protection is available to you on the website :