Artan Jacquet (Data Protection Officer) will be leaving Utrecht University

Utrecht University's Data Protection Officer (DPO), Artan Jacquet, will lay down his duties as of 15 November 2022 and be leaving our university as of Februari 1st. Artan was the university's first DPO since May 2018. Some years before that, he supported UU in all the preparations for the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). He did this in addition to his actual job as a pension expert and management information advisor at HR.

About his departure Artan says: "It is with much regret that I will leave Utrecht University. The alternative - a (test case) lawsuit to clarify the proper role of a DPO and his protection against dismissal – would be long, expensive and complex. And given the public debate that would inevitably arise about our GDPR compliance: damaging to our university's reputation."

"A DPO should be able to firmly stand his ground. However, all things considered the better alternative, both for the organisation and myself, seemed to assent to a termination agreement. I hope you understand."

"Anyhow, with or without me, the university shall still need to take important steps towards GDPR compliance. Awareness and good will are there. The requisite knowledge rapidly increases. Governance and unburdening remain important underlying issues: who is responsible, who has to do what, and how do we enable everyone to do the right thing? On the ground, things are going well, but clearly defined managerial ambitions and choices are needed, and hence: exemplified assignments with support and backing."

"I wish my successor the proper dialogue at eye level with the organizational leadership. Then, with some wisdom and patience, things will work out."

"As for me, I will particularly miss the interaction with the countless first-rate co-workers. Colleagues directly involved with data protection as well as contacts from previous roles. The pleasant constructive teamwork - also during, after and sometimes even because of a firm difference of opinion; where better than at a university could one have a polite debate that is firm, critical, open, factual? - with warm interpersonal interest on the shop floor, is one of the best features of our university. It is a privilege to have been part of that."

"Surely, I'll meet many of you again; I am already looking forward to that. Until then: remember that the saying "alles sal reg kom – all will come right" isn't complete without "as ons almal ons plig doen – if we all do our duty". I wish you and our university all the best!"

Commenting on the DPO's departure, Rector Henk Kummeling says: "With his great expertise, knowledge of our organisation and network inside and outside the university, Artan has in recent years committed himself tirelessly to the importance of personal data protection. As DPO, he has been the face of privacy within the organisation, helping us with important issues and advising us on numerous topics."

"Although Artan's substantive expertise and sharp analytical mind are not in dispute, we maintain disagreements about the exact role of a DPO and  fitting way to act. Discussions about this come at the expense of the substantive efforts and of promoting a culture of personal data protection. We consider this not to be in the interests of UU. Therefore, we are ending the collaboration. Agreements have been made with Artan about this. Artan will hand over his work in the coming period and will lay down his duties as our DPO as of 15 November 2022. We thank him warmly for his many years of service and wish him all the best in his further career."

Further information on the fulfillment of the DPO's duties from 16 November will follow shortly.