EU Policy. Swede Ellsberger elected new head of standards body ETSI

ETSI will develop standards for telecom and cybersecurity products, among others.
ETSI will develop standards for telecom and cybersecurity products, among others. Copyright Flickr/Creative Commons/Mark Finney/2011
Copyright Flickr/Creative Commons/Mark Finney/2011
By Cynthia Kroet
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Former Ericsson, Huawei manager takes up his role this summer.


Jan Ellsberg, a former Vice-President of Ericsson, has been elected the new director general of standardisation body ETSI, following a vote at the General Assembly today (16 April), an ETSI spokesperson confirmed to Euronews.

Ellsberger, a Swedish national, is also a former vice president of industry development at Chinese tech company Huawei in Germany, and now works as an advisor to a consultancy firm. He will take up the job in the summer of this year.

He told Euronews in a reaction that he is "committed to work with all members and stakeholders to re-establish ETSI’s role in the European Standardisation System, and to further strengthen ETSI’s role as a global platform for technology innovation and standardisation in the best interests of European industry and policy makers."

Also up for the job were Spaniard Luis Jorge Romero, ETSI’s current director-general – who has held the position since 2011 – and who is a former Telefonica official, and French candidate Gilles Brégant, director of the French spectrum agency ANFR and a former employee of the French Economy Ministry.

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute’s (ETSI) general assembly could pick between three candidates after a selection committee shortlisted them from over 200 contestants.

Foreign links

The appointment comes as Euronews reported last month (26 March) that the European Commission encouraged EU member states to support Brégant, over fears of links between two other key contenders with foreign businesses, based on leaked minutes of a meeting.

The commission told Euronews in an on-the-record reply that it’s not involved in the selection process. Ellsberger, who was employed by ETSI in the past, also said that he has not come across any problems related to his previous employer Huawei during the procedure.

ETSI, founded in 1988, sets up globally applicable standards for ICT-connected systems, applications and services and has more than 850 member organisations, in 60 different countries.

Standards play an important role in emerging technologies such as AI. The commission will soon begin work on cybersecurity standardisation requests for high-risk connected products. However, standardisation requests from Brussels are only a small part of ETSI's work, some 70% of which emanate from the industry itself.

This story has been updated to add a reaction from Jan Ellsberger after his appointment.

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