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ESMO Appoints New Chief Medical Officer

17 Jun 2020
  • George Pentheroudakis appointed to the senior staff position
  • CMO plays key role in developing the Society’s scientific strategy, including Clinical Practice Guidelines and congress programmes

LUGANO, Switzerland – ESMO, the leading professional organisation for medical oncology, has today announced the appointment of Professor George Pentheroudakis MD PhD as its new Chief Medical Officer (CMO).


Prof Pentheroudakis is Head of the Department of Medical Oncology at the Ioannina University Hospital in Greece and serves as Professor of Oncology at the School of Medicine at the University of Ioannina. He will succeed Professor Jean-Yves Douillard who was appointed as the first ESMO CMO in 2016 and confirmed in 2018 for a second and last mandate.

A senior staff position based at the ESMO Headquarters in Lugano, Switzerland, the Chief Medical Officer plays a key role in the development of the Society’s scientific and educational strategy and activities, including the programmes for educational courses and congresses, the highly regarded ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines, as well as a variety of additional projects and resources that contribute to making ESMO a pivotal player also in the health policy arena.

The appointment follows a selection process which was open to ESMO members with the necessary high-level qualifications and experience required for the role. CMO candidates are required to have held senior positions within the Society’s committees and have a strong track record in clinical and/or translational research.

After obtaining his MD degree from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, Pentheroudakis trained in medical oncology at the Beatson Oncology Centre in Glasgow, UK, where he also gained experience in the development of clinical trials.

On his return to Greece, he was awarded a PhD in 2006 at the University of Ioannina, where he has worked as a Consultant Medical Oncologist at the University of Ioannina’s Department of Medical Oncology since 2003, treating patients diagnosed with solid tumours and establishing a Translational and Clinical Research Unit, a Liquid Biopsy Centre and a Palliative and Supportive Care Unit. He is actively involved in both clinical and translational research and has co-authored 289 peer-reviewed papers in leading scientific journals.

Pentheroudakis also served as Chair of the Scientific Committee of the Hellenic Cooperative Oncology Group (HeCOG) from 2012 to 2016 and is currently Professor of Oncology at the University of Ioannina Medical School, supervising PhD students.

Within ESMO, Pentheroudakis served as Subject Editor and Co-Chair for a number of educational publications, which have paved the way to his appointment as Chair of the ESMO Guidelines Committee (2016-2020). Under his leadership several new initiatives were launched, including regular eUpdates, the Living Guidelines and the integration of the ESMO-Magnitude of Clinical Benefit Scale (ESMO-MCBS) scores.  He is a member of the ESMO Council.

ESMO President Solange Peters said: “The Chief Medical Officer position was established in 2016 in response to the growth of the Society, both in terms of its scale and breadth. That growth has continued over the past four years and today ESMO represents more than 25,000 members from over 160 countries worldwide, making the CMO role more important than ever. A big thank-you goes to Prof Douillard for his valuable input and guidance over the past four years.”

“Among the applicants, George Pentheroudakis was the ideal candidate as his career spans both clinical practice and cancer research, while his work as Chair of the ESMO Guidelines Committee will ensure he brings valuable insight to all areas of our scientific and educational activities.”

ESMO Chief Executive Officer Keith Hanson McGregor said: “The introduction of the role of the CMO has helped to grow ESMO’s educational offering, both in scope and value, making this position a critical resource for the entire organisation, internally, towards members and all other stakeholders.”

He continued: “I would like to thank Prof Douillard for his commitment over the past four years and I am pleased to welcome Prof Pentheroudakis onboard to face new and exciting challenges together.”

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