DESY chooses a new director

Wim Leemans

Wim Leemans of Berkeley Lab in the US has been appointed director of DESY’s accelerator division, effective from 1 February. A prominent leader in the development of plasma accelerators, Leemans was previously in charge of the accelerator technology and applied physics division at Berkeley, and head of the BELLA facility, which has achieved breakthrough results in advanced laser–plasma acceleration. Moving back to Europe after almost 30 years at Berkeley, he succeeds Reinhard Brinkmann, who has been director of the accelerator division since July 2007 and is now, at his own request, returning to DESY’s accelerator research as a lead scientist.

Geddes to oversee UK labs

Neil Geddes

Experimental particle physicist Neil Geddes has been named executive director for national laboratories science and technologies by the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). Taking up the position on 2 January, the new role comes with responsibility for the development of the UK’s national labs and the exploitation of the technologies that underpin them. Geddes, who has spent periods at CERN and SLAC as a member of the OPAL and BaBar collaborations, has worked with the STFC for many years, spending time as the director for E-Science before becoming the director of STFC’s technology department in 2012.

New comms chief for Fermilab

Chris Beard

Fermilab in the US has appointed public-relations professional Chris Beard as head of its office of communication, starting from 7 January. Beard has more than 20 years of experience in managing communications, brand reputation and stakeholder engagement for global corporations. Most recently he was senior director of corporate communications at Burson–Marsteller in Chicago, prior to which he was director of global reputation management for SC Johnson & Son. Fermilab’s previous communications director, Katie Yurkewicz, moved to Argonne National Laboratory in 2018.