Mr Hanspeter Schneiter has been designated as the ESA Industrial Ombudsman for an initial period of three years starting 01 November 2000.

Hanspeter Schneiter was selected for this post on the basis of his very wide experience of the space industry. He has been consistently recognised for his expertise in the various positions he has held during his professional career.

The task of the Ombudsman forms an essential element in the implementation of best practices " For the Selection of Subcontractors by Prime Contractors in the Frame of ESA's Major Procurements". The purpose of this document is to ensure that Prime Contractors requiring to select sub-contractors in connection with Agency programmes, whether prior to or following the award of Agency contracts, conduct their procurement activities on a fair and equitable basis.


Hanspeter Schneiter is Swiss, and lives in Zurich. He graduated in mechanical engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich in 1958.
His first job was with Brown Boveri (now ABB) in Baden, Switzerland. He joined Contraves AG in Zurich, where his initial activities were in the structural engineering domain, in 1960. Four years later, in the autumn of 1964, Contraves submitted a joint tender with French and Belgian partners for ESRO's first scientific satellite ESRO-1. Contraves subsequently made a significant contribution to the development and construction of the spacecraft, launched successfully on an American small launcher "Scout" in October 1968.
Following a series of promotions, Hanspeter Schneiter took over responsibility for the entire range of Contraves engineering activities, covering anti-aircraft fire control and electro-optical range tracking systems and space domain activities, located in Zurich, Rome, Stockach (Germany) and Pittsburgh (USA). As a result of the steady growth of space activities in the 1980s, and the decision in 1987 to concentrate all company activities relating to space programmes in a single product line, he became head of what was later to become the Space Division of Oerlikon-Contraves AG.
Hanspeter Schneiter retired as CEO of Oerlikon-Contraves Space Division in 1996, but continued as a member of the Board of the new company, Contraves Space AG, up to the end of 2000.

The Industrial Ombudsman can be contacted at the following address :

Hanspeter Schneiter
ESA's Industrial OMBUDSMAN

Schaffhausenstrasse 580
CH- 8052 Zurich

Phone + 41 1 303 13 90
Fax + 41 1 303 13 91


Companies wishing to recourse to the services of the Industrial Ombudsman are invited to do so by strictly adhering to the procedure laid down in the terms of reference given hereafter.



The OMBUDSMAN is competent for:

- Facilitating the solving of disputes among industry in the frame of European Space Agency's (ESA) project procurements and technology development procurements, in order to ensure that all contractors are given a fair opportunity of participation in ESA Programmes.

- Listening to concerns from industry about specific issues of competitiveness / competence and consult the appropriate persons within ESA to resolve such concerns before they become a major problem

- Facilitating communications between bidders, potential bidders, contractors and industry representatives in the resolution of matters arising in the course of an Agency's procurement.


The request for the intervention of the Ombudsman shall only be receivable for companies which have provided evidence that they have tried to resolve their concerns among themselves.
The Ombudsman shall not be competent for receiving complaints concerning disputes between the Agency and Industry.
He shall not be competent to receive and investigate complaints based on questions of Industrial Return and Geographical Distribution.
The Ombudsman shall not participate in the evaluation of proposals, the source selection process, or the adjudication of formal contracts disputes.


The Ombudsman is independent in the performance of his functions. For the purpose of exercising this function, he is granted the status of Expert for the Agency.

A Senior Officer of the Agency's Contracts Department and a Senior Technical Officer designated by the Director General support the Ombudsman in his investigations when so required by him.


Any company requesting the intervention of the Ombudsman shall in parallel notify the Head of the ESA's Contracts Department.
The Ombudsman can only investigate a procurement process where a complaint has been made to him and, having carried out a preliminary examination of the matter, it appears to him that the procurement process was or may have been: - carried out contrary to the procurement instructions and/or rules established by the Agency either in general or for the specific purposes of the procurement under investigation, - improperly discriminatory, - based on an undesirable procurement practice, or - otherwise contrary to fair and sound procurement practices.


All investigations shall be carried out in strict confidentiality. When conducting an investigation the Ombudsman may call for and collect all relevant facts to resolve such issues raised by the parties. To that effect the Ombudsman, - will maintain strict confidentiality as to the source of the concern, - will be granted access to source selection and proprietary information, the collection of which will be co-ordinated through the designated ESA support staff, and - will be granted access to all technical specifications and requirements either established by the Agency or by the Company carrying out the procurement in the frame of an Agency's programme.


When the Ombudsman carries out an investigation he must inform the complainant company and the company complained against of the result of the investigation and of his proposed recommendations. When it appears to the Ombudsman that the response to a recommendation which he has made to a company is not satisfactory he shall make a special report on the matter to the Head of the ESA's Contracts Department. Although not competent to receive complaints concerning disputes between the Agency and Industry, should the findings of the Ombudsman conclude that the situation was caused by actions or omissions of the Agency he shall first report the matter to the Head of the ESA's Contracts Department.