Helmut Weber, CERN director of administration from 1992 to 1994, passed away on 16 July. Born in 1947, he obtained his PhD from the Technical University of Vienna, after which he pursued a steep career in the aerospace industry, where he acquired considerable managerial proficiency. Prior to joining CERN, Helmut had been chairman of the board of directors of Skyline Products (US), and member of the board of directors of the ERC (France).
Helmut played a significant role during CERN’s transition from the LEP era to the LHC project. During his three-year appointment, as successor to Georges Vianès and predecessor to Maurice Robin, he was able to implement many necessary improvements to the CERN administration. Examples include the reorganisation of the finance division (split into procurement and accounting divisions) and the creation of a CERNwide working group to standardise administrative procedures using a common online database. He also resolved a number of looming issues carried forward from the LEP era, such as the debt to the CERN Pension Fund and the financial claims made by the Euro–LEP consortium.
Furthermore, together with Meinhard Regler and the active support of CERN (including Kurt Hübner and Philip Bryant), Helmut promoted AUSTRON, a project proposal for a pulsed high-flux neutron spallation source as an international research centre for central Europe. Although this project could unfortunately not be realised due to lack of funding, the MedAustron facility for proton/ion therapy and research was eventually built as an alternative in Wiener Neustadt. It is now fully operational, serving as a successful example of technology transfer from elementary particle physics to medical applications.
Helmut Weber’s most important legacy is, however, his straightforward, uncompromising and honest character that helped to resolve many contentious internal issues at CERN. When he left the organisation, he had made many friends amongst his former colleagues, who will always remember him and miss him.