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New Head of Administration at EECS

Published Nov 17, 2021

Welcome to KTH and EECS, Joakim Palestro, our new Head of Administration at the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) from 1 January.

Please tell us, who are you?

“For most of my working life, I have been in an academic environment, but I have for the past six years been employed as Head of Student Housing, Business Premises, and as CEO of the municipal company Uppsala Sportfastigheter, which was merged into Uppsala arenor and fastigheter in September 2021. My academic background is in the humanities and social sciences, and I took my master's degree in Uppsala. Here I live with my family of three fantastic sons, one of whom has moved out, and a wife who is a researcher at SLU, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.”

What made you to apply for this position?

“For me, KTH is a high-quality creative educational and research environment with responsibility for important issues that will not lose relevance and that contribute to the Swedish supply of skills. To be able to participate and contribute to that work, together with others, made me apply.”

Tell us about your experience of working in an academic environment?

“In 1998, together with a few other administrators, I was given the responsibility to build up the education administration at Södertörn University College. At that time, the University College had existed for only two years. It was an incredibly instructive period and a lot of heart was needed solving the task. I have also worked at the National Agency for Higher Education (HSV), which today is called UKÄ. There I had the privilege of working for four university chancellors for more than a decade. I have visited and reviewed more than 150 educational and research environments throughout Sweden and been responsible for internal quality assurance and applications for the European Association for Quality Assurance of Higher Education (ENQA). At HSV, I also got my first management job and in 2013, together with over 100 experts and several colleagues, I reviewed Sweden's engineering educations. In addition, I have worked at both SLU and the University of East London.”

What is essential to you in the role as head of administration?

“I believe in trust-based leadership. My role is to create as good working conditions as possible for employees to be able to develop. I also believe that it should be easy to do the right thing; what we as professional support perform should feel well thought out by the recipient. Service is also vital so that students, teachers and researchers feel that we are there to support them in a professional way and the Professional Support must always work in close collaboration with the school's teachers and researchers. Otherwise, I believe in objectivity, lively discussions and good relations. A job is a learning experience, and we learn from our mistakes. Participation and communication are also given starting points for EECS to be an attractive employer.”

What is important to you at work?

“I wholeheartedly believe that we must be nice to each other, and I strongly disapprove of highly offensive discrimination and/or bullying. To say what you think is key and to support each other in the event of work peaks or illness. Also, the context is important; I believe that working on the citizens' mission for the benefit of the citizens is perhaps the most honourable thing you can do, and we do it every day!”

We will be seeing you soon, what will you start focusing on?

“Having unpretentious introductory talks with all employees within the professional support (VS) and developing good relations with the faculty is important in the beginning. Since VS consists of many people, it will take some time, but it's well worth it! Of course, I will also take the time to familiarise myself with all processes and routines and discuss the school management's expectations of the professional support and of my role.”

Finally, is there anything you would like to share about you as a private person?

“I love to travel and I'm passionate about mountain hiking, also I have a great flair for shoes. Next year I will go a stage of the PCT (Pacific coast trail) in Oregon. It will be an experience!”


Joakim Palestro formally takes over as Head of Administration 1 January 2022 and begins his introduction in December. Rose-Marie Kellqvist Sundström will continue as Acting Head of Administration until 31 December 2021.