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Brussels, 28 October 2009

Commission President Barroso names new Head of his Cabinet, Deputy Head of his Cabinet and Commission Spokeswoman

Commission President Barroso today named Mr Johannes Laitenberger, currently Head of the Commission's Spokesperson's Service and Commission Spokesman, as new Head of his Cabinet, as of 1 November 2009. Mr Laitenberger succeeds Mr João Vale de Almeida, who was appointed earlier this year as the Commission's Director-General for External Relations and who will take up his new role on 1 November 2009. Mr Vale de Almeida will continue to personally assist the President in the capacity of G8/G20 sherpa. Mr Fernando Frutuoso de Melo, currently Director in the Commission's Secretariat General, will take over as Deputy Head of the Cabinet, also on 1 November 2009. He succeeds Mr Jean-Claude Thébault, who was today appointed as a Deputy Secretary General of the Commission, taking up his role also on 1 November 2009. Ms Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen, currently Deputy Spokeswoman of the Commission, will on 1 November 2009 take over as Commission Spokeswoman, succeeding Mr Laitenberger.

Johannes Laitenberger, born in 1964, is a German national. Following an open competition, he was recruited by the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union in 1996 as an advisor on legal matters in the Directorate-General for Administration and Protocol. In 1999, he transferred to the Commission, starting as a case-handler in the Directorate-General for Competition. When the Prodi Commission took office later that year, he was appointed to the cabinet of Ms Viviane Reding, member of the Commission responsible for education, culture, audiovisual, youth and sports. He became Head of Cabinet in 2003 and served in that capacity until the end of the mandate in November 2004. He then became a member of the Cabinet of President José Manuel Barroso, who appointed him as Head of the Commission's Spokesperson's Service and Spokesman of the Commission in November 2005. Mr Laitenberger trained as a lawyer. His professional experience prior to joining the European Civil Service includes work in the university and private sectors.

Fernando Frutuoso de Melo, born in 1955, is a Portuguese national and a career Commission official. Since joining the Commission in 1987, soon after the Portuguese accession in 1986, he has performed a wide range of technical and management functions (Assistant to the DG, Head of Unit) in the areas of development policy (1987/96), personnel and administration (1997/9), and fisheries (2003/4). He also served as Deputy Head of Cabinet of the Commissioner responsible for Industry and Information Society (July to October 2004) and of the Commissioner for Enlargement (from November 2004 to July 2006). Since August 2006, he has been a Director in the Secretariat General, responsible for relations with the European Parliament, national parliaments, the Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions, and the European Ombudsman. Before joining the Commission, he worked in the Portuguese civil service. He has also worked as a lawyer.

Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen, born in 1963, is a Danish national and a career Commission official since 1995. After her first assignment in the Commission's Industry Directorate General, she has worked in the communication and press field in the Commission for the past 12 years. After being an administrator in the Directorate General for Information, Communication and Culture, in the unit responsible for Representations in the Member States, Ms Ahrenkilde joined the Spokespersons' Service as Spokesperson for the Environment (1999-2003). She became Deputy Spokesperson of the European Commission and Head of Planning and Coordination in 2004 (Head of Unit since 2006).

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