Today, and with effect of 16 March 2019, the European Commission appointed current Deputy Secretary-General Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen as Director-General of its Communication department (DG Communication) - the first woman to hold this post. Timo Pesonen, the current Director-General of DG Communication, will be heading the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs department (DG GROW) as of 1 March 2019. He will succeed Lowri Evans in that position, who will retire as of 1 March.
Ms Ahrenkilde Hansen is a Danish national who, as one of three Deputy Secretaries-General, is currently the Commission's Chief Operating Officer. She joined the Commission in 1995 and spent almost her entire career working on communication about the European Union and its policies, including as European Commission Spokeswoman under Presidents Prodi and Barroso (from 1999-2009). She was the Chief Spokeswoman of the Commission from 2009 to 2014, before being in charge of the Commission's Representations in the Member States, as a Director in DG Communication, from 2014 to 2018. This extensive experience, coupled with her current corporate and high-level managerial responsibilities make her ideally suited for her new assignment.
Timo Pesonen, a Finnish national, is the current Director-General of DG Communication with a distinguished career both outside and within the Commission. Before leading DG Communication from 2015 onwards, he headed the private office of Mr Olli Rehn when the latter was Vice-President for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro between 2010 and 2014 and Commissioner for Enlargement from 2004 to 2009, respectively. He was also Acting Head of the Commission Representation in Helsinki from 2003 to 2004, Spokesman for former Commissioner Erkki Liikanen and, from 1997 to 2002, Special Adviser on EU Affairs to the then Prime Minister of Finland, Mr Paavo Lipponen. He will therefore bring ample experience in policy-making, management and communication to his new job.
Finally, the Commission thanked Lowri Evans, the current Director-General of the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs department who will retire from the Commission as of 1 March, for her more than three decades of distinguished and dedicated service in many positions of great responsibility. Having joined the Commission in 1983, she rose from being a desk officer in DG Competition all the way to the post of Deputy Director-General there, before serving as Director-General first in the Fisheries and Maritime Affairs department and since 2015 in her current function.
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