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Change in the administrative management of the German Primate Center

Katharina Peters succeeds Michael Lankeit, who has been administrative director of the DPZ for over 30 years
Dr. Katharina Peters, from 1 July 2020 administrative director at the DPZ. Photo: Karin Tilch
Michael Lankeit was administrative director at DPZ for 31 years. Photo: Karin Tilch
Michael Lankeit was administrative director at DPZ for 31 years. Photo: Karin Tilch
Dr. Katharina Peters and Michael Lankeit. Photo: Karin Tilch
Dr. Katharina Peters and Michael Lankeit. Photo: Karin Tilch

Michael Lankeit has been the administrative director of the German Primate Center (DPZ) - Leibniz Institute for Primate Research for more than 30 years. Under his leadership, the institute has grown from 120 to over 400 employees, six new buildings have been inaugurated and the DPZ has undergone a dynamic development. Now the lawyer is taking his well-deserved retirement, followed by Katharina Peters, who holds a doctorate in organizational and administrative sociology. From 1 July she will form the dual leadership of the DPZ together with Stefan Treue, the scientific director of the institute.

Michael Lankeit (69), who as a consultant at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) was responsible for personnel matters of the research institutions, wanted to move to a research institute at the end of the 1980s and therefore applied for the vacant managing director position at the German Primate Center (DPZ), which he took up in October 1989. So he moved from the Rhineland to Göttingen with his wife and three children. "Originally, I only wanted to stay for ten or fifteen years, but now I'm delighted that things turned out differently," says Michael Lankeit, who is now retiring after 31 years.

The trustful cooperation with Stefan Treue, who has been scientific director of the institute since 2001, the manifold topics and the good teamwork were decisive for Michael Lankeit to remain loyal to the DPZ. "There are always new things happening, it never gets boring", says Michael Lankeit. "I am proud of how the DPZ has developed, we are world leaders in many areas of our research and set standards in animal welfare". However, it is important to him to emphasize: "I have never been alone, the success of the institute is supported by many employees." The positive development of the DPZ led to the fact that more and more employees needed space for their research. Thus, in the thirty years that Michael Lankeit was at the DPZ, building work was carried out continuously: First an office building, then a building with animal housing for rhesus and marmoset monkeys, then again an office building and another breeding facility and finally an imaging centre and a multifunctional building. Rüdiger Eichel, ministerial director in the Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture and chairman of the supervisory board of DPZ, therefore emphasises that Michael Lankeit has taken a "step from an administrative lawyer in the ministerial bureaucracy to a design lawyer at DPZ". This role, he says, he has carried out with bravura, verve and a never-tiring interest in the DPZ and its concerns. Michael Lankeit had achieved considerable success as a builder-owner and had given the DPZ a common "spirit" by always making it clear that it was worthwhile to be enthusiastic about this institute.

On July 1, 2020, the organizational and administrative sociologist Katharina Peters (50) will take over the administrative management of the DPZ. Peters received her doctorate at the Berlin Social Science Center before joining the University of Göttingen in 2003. Responsible for organizational development, she spent seven years advising the Presidential Board on major restructurings and was in charge of various major projects, including the introduction of the Office of Student Affairs as a central service unit for questions concerning studies. She then moved to a medium-sized company in Kassel as regional managing director, which operates day-care centres throughout Germany and advises companies and local authorities on setting up and operating day-care centres. Commenting on her move to DPZ, Peters says: "What attracted me to this position was the opportunities offered by a Leibniz Institute with a diverse research spectrum. I wanted to do something new again, but stay in my home town. Katharina Peters has experience in personnel management and knows what science needs for good research. "My goal is to create a good working environment for all employees." The trustful cooperation she has experienced at the DPZ is an ideal basis for this.

"Her experience in organisational development at the University of Göttingen and at the Berlin Social Science Center, an institute of the Leibniz Association, among others, makes her the ideal person for the position," says Stefan Treue and adds: "I am very much looking forward to working with Ms Peters, we will complement each other excellently."