Brussels, 14 December 2010
Commission appoints Mr Giovanni Kessler as Director-General of OLAF
The Commission has today appointed Mr Giovanni Kessler as Director-General of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF). As Director-General of OLAF, Mr Kessler will be head of a Directorate-General comprising four Directorates and some 500 staff, and will manage a budget of around €50 million. He will be responsible for the three tasks of OLAF. The first of these is to conduct administrative investigations, and Mr Kessler will be responsible, in full independence, for the investigative activity of the Office. This is monitored by the OLAF Supervisory Committee. Secondly, he will manage OLAF’s role in assisting Member States by organising close and regular cooperation between their competent authorities, in order to coordinate activities aimed at protecting the EU budget against fraud. Thirdly, Mr Kessler will be responsible for contributing to the design of the Commission’s anti-fraud strategy. The non-investigative tasks of OLAF are supervised by the Commission, especially by the Commissioner responsible for anti-fraud.
According to OLAF Regulation 1073/1999, “the Commission shall (...), after a favourable opinion has been given by the Supervisory Committee, draw up a list of suitably qualified candidates. After consultations with the European Parliament and the Council, the Commission shall appoint the Director General” (article 12).
This decision to appoint Mr Kessler was taken following a selection procedure in which the OLAF Supervisory Committee1 gave a favourable opinion on a list of suitably qualified candidates. Mr. Kessler was one of the three candidates who received the unanimous support of the Supervisory Committee. The Commission then consulted the European Parliament and the Council, who also both supported Mr. Kessler's nomination.
Mr Kessler, aged 54, has been Italian High Commissioner to combat counterfeiting and is currently President of the legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Province of Trento and President of the Conference of European Regional Legislative Assemblies (CALRE).
The OLAF Supervisory Committee reinforces the Office's independence by regularly monitoring the implementation of its investigative function. It is composed of five independent persons, qualified in their respective countries for senior posts relating to OLAF's areas of activity, who are appointed through common accord of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission.