It’s way too hard to accomplish anything without trusting someone. Given that, and given liking the tradition he’s part of, it’s hard to imagine a better choice than Pepin.
I think, for most intents and purposes, science is an attitude rather than an activity: being inclined to question assumptions and look for evidence, and being ready and willing to drop ideas that contradict the evidence - and keeping tradition as much as desired when the evidence doesn’t disagree with it. “Being a scientist” by having a lab, a budget, and publications, is a good thing for some people to do, but it’s almost useless (or sometimes worse than useless) if the attitude is missing. I think he’s probably a pretty good scientist in that way.