The European Commission has recruited an outsider to be a deputy director-general in one of its departments – an unusual move in an institution that still usually promotes from within its own ranks. The college of European commissioners yesterday (25 July) approved the appointment of Roberto Viola, currently the secretary-general of Italy's regulator for the communication industries (Agcom), to be one of the two deputies to Robert Madelin, who heads the directorate-general for communication networks, content and technology (the department, which was previously information society and media, was renamed on 1 July).
Viola, who holds a doctorate in electronic engineering, has chaired the Commission's Radio Spectrum Policy Group, and was an official in the European Space Agency in 1985-99.
Viola's starting date has not yet been agreed. The post has been vacant since Antti Peltomäki switched departments in February to become a deputy director-general for enterprise and industry.
The Commission yesterday filled two other deputy director-general posts that have lain vacant for 19 months – in the department for development aid, DG Devco. The department was formed from the merger in January 2011 of those parts of the directorate-general for development that did not go into the European External Action Service and the EuropeAid Co-operation Office.
The vacancies, which were created by the departure to the EEAS of the previous deputy director-general for development and by the retirement of Richard Weber, the deputy director-general of EuropeAid, are both being filled by the promotion of directors from the merged department and will take effect on 1 August.
Klaus Rudischhauser, currently director for quality and impact, will be deputy director-general co-ordinating the department's policy work. Like Fokion Fotiadis, the director-general, he came from the pre-merger DG Development. Marcus Cornaro, currently director for the neighbourhood countries, will be deputy director-general in charge of the department's geographic programmes. Rudischhauser is German and Cornaro is Austrian so there will be two native German-speakers immediately beneath Fotiadis, in a department that has a strong contingent of officials from the EU's Mediterranean member states.
Among other appointments made yesterday, Florika Fink-Hooijer, the head of the private office of Kristalina Georgieva, the commissioner for international co-operation, humanitarian aid and crisis response, has been appointed director for strategy, policy and international co-operation in the department for humanitarian aid (DG ECHO) with effect from 16 September. The German national has worked in the private office of Monika Wulf-Mathies, was a head of unit for Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand, and worked in the secretariat-general.
Jean-Louis De Brouwer, a Belgian, has been appointed director of humanitarian and civil protection operations in DG ECHO. De Brouwer, who has been with the Commission for 30 years and whose previous posts were in the field of migration and asylum, is currently director for Europe 2020 employment policies in the department for employment, social affairs and inclusion. The date of his transfer remains to be determined. All three director posts in the department under Claus Sørensen, the director-general, are now filled.
Gilbert Gascard, a Belgian, has been appointed director of the Commission's Research Executive Agency (REA) in Brussels, with effect from 1 November. He has been director of the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) since 2005.
Pablo Amor, a Spaniard, has been appointed as director of the European Research Council Executive Agency in Brussels (ERCEA), with effect from 1 August. Amor currently heads the agency's grant management department.
Maria Betti of Italy has been appointed director of the Institute for Environment and Sustainability at the EU's Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy. Betti joined the Commission in 1991 and is currently on secondment to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).