Philippe Baptiste Appointed New President of CNES

Philippe Baptiste (Credit: CNES/C. Peus)

PARIS (CNES PR) — The Council of Ministers of Wednesday April 14, 2021 appointed Philippe Baptiste, President of the National Center for Space Studies (CNES). Born in 1972, Philippe Baptiste holds a doctorate from the University of Technology of Compiègne and a civil engineer from Mines de Nancy. He also holds an MSc from Strathclyde University in Glasgow, a DEA from Sorbonne University and accreditation to supervise research.

A digital scientist, Philippe Baptiste is a specialist in algorithms, combinatorial optimization, operations research and artificial intelligence. He pursued an academic career as a researcher at the CNRS (1999), at IBM’s Watson Research Center (2000-2001), and as a lecturer at the École Polytechnique (2002-2012). 

He is the author of several books and about 150 scientific publications and communications. He headed the computer science laboratory of École Polytechnique, created the Institute of Information Sciences and their interactions before becoming in 2014 Deputy Managing Director of CNRS, one of the first partners of CNES. Member of the High Scientific Council of ONERA, he also sat on the Board of INRIA.

While pursuing an academic career, Philippe Baptiste has also participated in the creation and development of several startups and led numerous collaborations with digital, aeronautical and defense industries. He was Scientific Director then CTO of the Total group (2016-2017) and “Partner and Director” within the Boston Consulting Group (2020).  

From May 2017 to April 2019, he was Chief of Staff to Frédérique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation then, in November 2019, Advisor to Prime Minister Édouard Philippe. He followed the space policy throughout this period.

During his hearings before the Economic Affairs Committees of the National Assembly and the Senate on April 7, Philippe Baptiste paid tribute to Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of CNES since 2013, as well as to the women and men who have been working for the excellence of French space for more than 60 years. He underlined the crucial importance of the space center of Guyana, the space port of Europe, the major role of the space center of Toulouse with its ecosystem and of course the essential place of the Parisian centers. 

Philippe Baptiste highlighted the multiple strategic challenges that the establishment will have to face in the coming years: the importance of data, change in the value chain, new models of innovation, the militarization of space and the scientific influence of French and European space, in particular through space exploration and Earth observation. He also strongly reaffirmed CNES’s commitment to Ariane 6. He finally expressed his support for the European satellite constellation project announced by Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market.