For the first time since it was founded, the Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE will see a change in its academic leadership as, on 1 December 2022, economist Florian Heider takes over from Jan Pieter Krahnen as Scientific Director. During his tenure, Krahnen was instrumental in building up the new institute. His successor Heider joins SAFE from the European Central Bank (ECB), where he currently leads the financial markets research section.
Set up in 2013 as part of the Hesse excellence initiative LOEWE, SAFE became part of the Leibniz Association in 2020. It is dedicated to interdisciplinary research on financial markets and their participants in Europe and also offers research-based, independent policy advice.
“In the years since it was set up, SAFE’s development has been very impressive; I am greatly looking forward to working with the team behind this institute to continue its development and help it grow further,” says incoming director Heider. As Scientific Director, Heider will also become the spokesperson for the SAFE Management Board with its Deputy Scientific Director Uwe Walz and Administrative Director Muriel Büsser.
“We are passing on a well-functioning institute to an internationally renowned researcher and experienced manager, Florian Heider,” says Krahnen, adding that “SAFE is in the very best position to continue its development – and I’m absolutely delighted about that.”
Focus on finance intermediaries and macro-economics
Florian Heider (50) studied Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE) at the University of Oxford before going on to obtain a Ph.D. in Economics from the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium). Following research positions at the London School of Economics and the New York University Stern School of Business, in 2004 he went to the ECB, working in various functions in the departments Research, Market Infrastructure & Payments, and Monetary Policy. In 2020, he became Head of Section for Financial Markets Research. His new position as Scientific Director at SAFE is part of a professorship in Economics at the Goethe University Frankfurt.
Heider’s academic interests are currently focussed on financial intermediaries and on their role in monetary policy, market design, and the capital structure of companies. His work has appeared in a range of international academic journals, including worldwide leading publications in economic and financial research such as The Review of Economic Studies, The Journal of Finance, and The Journal of Financial Economics.
Reactions to the new director at SAFE
“In Florian Heider, SAFE is gaining a proven expert who stands to complement the institute’s profile in the best possible way,” says Chair of the SAFE Board of Trustees Angela Dorn, State Minister for Higher Education, Research, Science, and the Arts of Hesse. “Both for the Frankfurt financial center and for the State of Hessen as a hub of academic activity, SAFE is an important research institute. As such, the funding the state offered to what was first a LOEWE Center and is now a part of the Leibniz Association has proven to be a lasting investment in the future of research here,” she adds. “The fact that SAFE has developed so impressively is in no small part the achievement of Jan Pieter Krahnen, and I would like to offer both him and everyone at the institute my heartfelt thanks for their work.”
“I am very pleased that Florian Heider has accepted this position leading SAFE and will be taking the Leibniz Institute for Financial Research into a new phase of its strategic development, raising its academic profile and networking with others in the field,” says Philipp Steinberg, Head of the Economic Policy Department at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. “In order for financial markets to function well, structural weaknesses and undesirable developments have to be identified continually and then addressed,” he adds, “and for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action, it is crucial that ecological and social sustainability are taken into account in financial markets. For this to happen, political decision-makers are dependent on expertise and advice from independent researchers. We are looking forward to working with Florian Heider and his team at SAFE.”
“We are delighted to welcome Florian Heider to the Goethe University and as new director of SAFE,” enthuses Enrico Schleiff, President of the Goethe University Frankfurt and member of the SAFE Board of Trustees. “I am convinced that he will follow Jan Pieter Krahnen in cultivating the cooperation between our university and SAFE with the same dedication as his predecessor, under whose leadership SAFE grew into an exemplary part of our House of Finance.”