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Agneta Nestenborg is new Administration Director for the European Spallation Source

ESS Management. Agneta Nestenborg assumed leadership of the ESS Project Support & Administration Directorate on September 1. The transition marked the completion of former director Matti Tiirakari’s distinguished five-year secondment from CERN.

Date: 06/10/2015


LUND—Dr. Agneta Nestenborg is the new Director of Administration at the European Spallation Source (ESS). Formerly Head of Project Sponsors Nuclear Operations at the Swedish energy utility, Vattenfall, she holds a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry and early in her career was a user at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory. Dr. Nestenborg also completed an Executive MBA, and comes to ESS with experience in R&D, management, operations and governance across a wide range of industries that include science, construction, consulting, nuclear technology and others.

“I am very pleased that Agneta Nestenborg is the new administration director for ESS,” says ESS Director General Jim Yeck. “She has led a number of large projects with budget responsibility, including projects in transition, such as the closing of Barsebäck nuclear plant and an upgrade of hydropower stations at Vattenfall. We all look forward to benefiting from her leadership and experience.”

As leader of the Project Support & Administration Directorate, Dr. Nestenborg will oversee a diverse range of divisions and groups, including Human Resources, Information Technology, Procurement, Supply & Logistics, Legal, General Services, as well as the Project Support division, which includes Finance and Planning. Dr. Nestenborg’s CV is equally diverse, and spans leadership positions in all of these areas and more.

“I have had the benefit of working in many different areas, but the red thread running through my career as a leader, I would say, is projects and processes, integration and change management. And I hope to make good use of everything I’ve done as the new administration director for ESS,” says Dr. Nestenborg.

“What I have learned is that every organization is different, the culture is different, but the issues people struggle with are often similar. It can be about operational issues, leadership or organisational housekeeping. As administration director, I will look at the ways I can contribute by using my experiences to help find the right angle to resolve issues.”

Since 2010, Dr. Nestenborg has served on the Board of Studsvik AB, a nuclear industry technical services provider, and is currently Chair of the Board for the Swedish Qualification Center, whose business is the qualification of non-destructive testing for Swedish nuclear power facilities.


“Agneta brings new energy and experience into the organization,” says outgoing director Matti Tiirakari, who will ensure a smooth transition by remaining at ESS as a consultant through the end of the year. “This is very important as the ESS project will be governed by the newly established ERIC [European Research Infrastructure Consortium] Council, which brings challenges and opportunities starting 1st of October. Agneta’s experience and extensive network within the Swedish industry and authority communities will be valuable, and this is needed for the organisation.”

During the ESS Construction Phase, the administration director will ensure that the strategic planning, development, and implementation of processes and procedures are on schedule for the ramp-up to cold commissioning at the end of 2019.

“Today, my first priority is to make sure that the ERIC transition goes ahead smoothly and as planned,” says Nestenborg. “An ERIC is an unknown phenomenon and I think there are a lot of people in the Swedish community and other countries who do not know how to treat an ERIC—in regards to legal status for example—so they might be a little bit cautious. We will need to solve such issues as they arise.”

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