ESA introduces appointment of two new directors

The European Space Agency (ESA) has recently made significant staff appointments, announcing the hiring of Laurent Jaffart as the Director of Connectivity and Secure Communications and Marco Ferrazzani as the Director of Internal Services. These appointments were made by the 22 Member States of ESA during a Council meeting.

Laurent Jaffart, who is set to join ESA in the first half of 2024, currently holds the position of Vice-President and Head of Strategy, Corporate, and New Business Development for Space Systems at Airbus. He has extensive experience leading transnational teams across France, Germany, and the UK, bringing innovative solutions to the market. Jaffart’s educational background includes a Master’s degree in National Resources Strategy from the National Defense University in Washington DC, a Master’s in Business Administration from ESC Management School in Reims, France, another from Dublin City University, and a degree in European Business and Technology from the University of Brighton in the UK.

On the other hand, Marco Ferrazzani, the newly appointed Director of Internal Services, has been serving as the Senior Legal Counsel at ESA since 2021. He will assume his new role on April 1, 2024. Ferrazzani has a distinguished career at ESA, having joined the Agency in 1988. He holds a PhD in law from the University of Naples and has completed postdoctoral studies at prestigious institutions such as Georgetown University and Harvard Law School. Additionally, he underwent further studies at the Institut des Hautes Études de la Défense Nationale IHEDN, École Militaire, Paris, between 2005 and 2006. Ferrazzani is an accomplished author with numerous publications on the laws of outer space. He has also been a guest lecturer at various conferences and universities.

The appointments of Jaffart and Ferrazzani come as Javier Benedicto and Jean Max Puech step down from their respective roles as the Acting Director of Connectivity and Secure Communications and the retiring Director of Internal Services. The new appointments reflect ESA’s commitment to strengthening its leadership team and ensuring a smooth transition for its crucial roles.

In addition to the staff appointments, the ESA Council has renewed the mandate of Josef Aschbacher as the Director General of ESA for another four years, starting from March 1, 2025. Aschbacher was initially appointed as Director General in December 2020 and has proven his capabilities in leading ESA through various challenges. This extension highlights the Council’s continued trust in Aschbacher’s leadership and his ability to guide ESA in addressing Europe’s current space challenges and expanding the agency’s capacity to tackle future obstacles.

These recent developments demonstrate ESA’s commitment to maintaining a strong and experienced leadership team. The additions of Jaffart and Ferrazzani, alongside the continued support for Aschbacher, will undoubtedly contribute to ESA’s ongoing efforts to push boundaries in space exploration and further solidify its position as a leading international space agency.