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The European Commission has today decided to appoint Mr Koen Doens to the position of Director-General in its department for international cooperation and development (DG DEVCO), in view of Mr Stefano Manservisi’s retirement on 1 October 2019.

The Commission has also decided to appoint three Deputy Directors-General: Mr Declan Costello to its department for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), Mr Michael Köhler to its department for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO) and Mr Gallo Gueye to its department for Statistics (DG Eurostat).

Mr Koen Doens, a Belgian national, has served as a Deputy Director-General in DG DEVCO since 2018. Mr Doens brings 15 years of experience in the European Commission and over ten years of diplomatic experience working for the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and for two Belgian Ministers in charge of foreign affairs and trade. Having joined the European Commission in 2004, Mr Doens worked in the private offices of three Commissioners and headed the Commission’s Spokesperson’s Service under former President Barroso (2009-2014). He joined DG DEVCO – going back to a policy area to which he had dedicated most of his career – in 2014 to the position of Director for European Union-African Union Relations, East and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean.

Mr Declan Costello, an Irish national, joined the European Commission in 1991. His career has been entirely focused on economic and fiscal policies. During the 1990s, he was actively involved in the preparations to launch the euro, including the setting up of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP). In the years of the economic crisis, he was involved – in several Head of Unit and acting Director roles – in efforts to devise an economic recovery strategy, as well as in the negotiations on enhanced economic governance arrangements for the Economic and Monetary Union. From 2014 to September 2015, he was Director for the economies of the Member States, covering nine Member States. At the same time, he was appointed the European Commission’s Mission Chief for Greece for the Stability Support Programmes until the expiry of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) programme in August 2018, following which he was responsible for post programme surveillance in Greece.

Mr Michael Köhler, a German national, joined the Commission in 1994. He has been holding a Director position since 2013, first in DG DEVCO and, since 2015, in the Commission’s department for neighbourhood and enlargement negotiations (DG NEAR). Previously he had been Head of Cabinet of the Commissioner for Energy, Günther H. Oettinger (2010-2013), and Head of Cabinet of the EU Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Joseph Borg (2008-2010). Over the years, Mr Köhler has held a variety of positions in the Commission services, mainly in the area of external relations, development policy and humanitarian aid. Having worked in management jobs since 2004, Mr Köhler has a vast management experience across the Commission and in the area of external policy in particular.

Mr Gallo Gueye, a French national, joined the European Commission in 1995 and has since then worked in DG Eurostat. Between 2003 and 2006, he was an Assistant to the Eurostat Director of National and European Accounts before becoming a Head of Unit in charge of National Accounts Methodology and Statistics for Own Resources in March 2006. He has been a Director in charge of Social Statistics – overseeing the work of some 130 people – since 2014.

Finally, the College accepted the resignation of Johannes Laitenberger, currently Director-General of the Directorate-General for Competition (DG COMP) – with effect from 1 September 2019. Mr Laitenberger has been appointed as a judge at the EU’s General Court for a mandate starting on 1 September. Mr Laitenberger has been Director-General of DG COMP since 1 September 2015 having previously served as Deputy Director-General of the Legal Service since 2014. Before that, Mr Laitenberger was the Head of Cabinet of then Commission President José Manuel Durão Barroso from 2009 to 2014 and the European Commission’s Spokesman and Head of the Spokesperson’s Service from 2005 to 2009. He began his career at the General Secretariat of the Council of the EU in 1996, joining its Directorate-General for Administration and Protocol. In 1999, he changed to the Commission and served as a case handler in DG COMP, before moving to the private office of then Commissioner Viviane Reding in charge of education, culture, audiovisual policy, youth and sports. After serving as the head of Commissioner Reding’s private office from 2003 to 2004, he joined President Barroso’s Cabinet in 2004. The College paid tribute to Mr Laitenberger’s outstanding qualities and wished him well.