Forum Chairman

Janez Potočnik
Chair 2015-2020

Dr Janez Potočnik graduated from the Faculty of Economics at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. After a successful career starting in 1989 in Slovenia as a researcher at the Institute of Economic Research, Director of the Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development (1994), he was appointed Head of the Negotiating Team for the Accession of Slovenia to the EU (1998). He was also Director of Government Office for European Affairs (2000), Minister Councillor at the Office of the Prime Minister (2001) and Minister responsible for European Affairs (2002). In 2004 he joined the European Commission, first as "shadow Commissioner for Enlargement and then as Commissioner responsible for Science and Research. In 2010 Dr Potočnik became Commissioner for Environment. His term ended in November 2014 and he was appointed as a Co-Chair of UN Environment International Resource Panel and was also appointed as a Chairman of The Forum for the Future of Agriculture and RISE Foundation and a Member of the European Policy Centre's Advisory Council. From April 2016 he is also the Partner in SYSTEMIQ. He is now Co-Chair of the International Resource Panel at the UNEP.
Franz Fischler
Chair 2008-2014

Franz Fischler holds a doctorate in agriculture from the University for Soil Science, Vienna, where he led research projects and lectured about agriculture and related issues. He spent ten years at the Tyrol Chamber of Agriculture, about half of which as its Director. In 1989 he became Austria’s Federal Minister of Agriculture and Forestry holding this post until 1994. He was elected twice (1990 and 1994) Member of the Austrian National Parliament (Nationalrat). In 1995 he became a Member of the European Commission responsible for agriculture and regional development and, from 2000, also for fisheries. Fischler prepared Austria’s agriculture for accession to the EU and was Austria’s chief accession negotiator for the sector. At the European Commission, he led several reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy, was EU Chief negotiator for agriculture in the Doha Round and several international treaties and accords, and led also the first reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. He is also the President of the Alpach Forum and was the Chair of FFA until 2014. After leaving the Commission in 2004, Fischler became i.a. Executive Director of Franz Fischler Consult Gmbh, Director of Austria’s Eco-Social Forum and the Global Marshall Plan Initiative and lecturer at three universities. In 2007 he co-founded the Rural Investment Support for Europe (RISE) Foundation of which he was the Chairman.