Press Release: ESMO Appoints First Chief Medical Officer

Creation of CMO role reflects ESMO’s rapid growth and follows extensive six-month selection process

  • Date: 14 Mar 2016
Jean-Yves Douillard

Jean-Yves Douillard

Lugano, Switzerland – ESMO, the leading European professional organisation for medical oncology, has today announced the appointment of Professor Jean-Yves Douillard MD PhD, as its first Chief Medical Officer (CMO).

Creation of the new staff role reflects the rapid growth of ESMO in both breadth and scale, as well as the pace of progress across medical oncology as a whole.

ESMO, which represents more than 13,000 members worldwide, announced last year that it will organise an annual Congress in Europe from 2016 and held its first Asia Congress last December. The Society is also opening its membership to all professionals working in cancer research, diagnosis, treatment, advocacy and care in order to take an integrated and global approach.

The appointment of ESMO’s first CMO is another significant step in this process. A senior staff position based at the Society’s headquarters in Lugano, Switzerland for a fixed two-year term, the CMO will lead the development of ESMO’s scientific strategy and activities.

Reporting directly to ESMO’s Chief Executive Officer and supporting the CEO and President, the Chief Medical Officer will also play an important part in expanding the Society’s educational programmes.

The appointment of Professor Douillard follows an extensive six-month selection process open to all ESMO members with the necessary high-level qualifications and experience for the role. Candidates were also required to have held senior ESMO leadership positions.

In a career spanning more than 30 years, Prof Douillard has achieved international recognition as a leading expert in lung cancer and gastrointestinal oncology, holding a number of leadership positions.

At the University of Nantes, he was Professor in Medical Oncology, while at the Integrated Centers of Oncology (ICO) Rene Gauducheau, also in Nantes, he was Head of the Medical Oncology Department and later Director of Clinical and Translational Research. In addition, he spent a total of four years working in the US, initially at the National Cancer Institute and later at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, part of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He received his PhD in 1993.

Throughout his career, Prof Douillard has led clinical trials in relation to lung cancer and GI tumours and investigated targeted therapies, publishing his work in leading scientific journals. He has also held senior ESMO positions, serving as Educational Committee Chair and as a member of the Executive Board.

ESMO President Fortunato Ciardiello, said: “This is an important appointment which reflects the growing role and remit of ESMO. As we expand our horizons beyond Europe to continue meeting the needs of our members and cancer patients across the world, we must also expand our scientific and educational initiatives, while maintaining the highest possible standards.”

He continued: “The Chief Medical Officer has a critical role to play by incorporating the latest advances in medical oncology and best practice methodologies into all of our scientific activities – from Clinical Practice Guidelines to the development of scientific congress programmes.