In order to further strengthen the senior management of its Secretariat-General, today the College of Commissioners decided to appoint two Directors to posts that were currently filled on an acting basis only. Ms Jivka Petkova, a Bulgarian national, has been appointed Director for ‘Strategy, Better Regulation and Corporate Governance’ as of 1 August 2019. Ms Petkova joined the Commission from the Bulgarian public administration in 2007 where she was leading Bulgaria’s EU accession negotiations team in the Prime Minister’s office. She was the Deputy Head of Cabinet of the first Commissioner of Bulgarian nationality, in charge of consumer affairs, Ms Meglena Kuneva, and also worked in the private office of High Representative/Vice-President Ms Catherine Ashton and in the EU’s diplomatic service (EEAS). She was a Head of Unit in the Commission’s Spokesperson’s Service, a Principal Adviser in the Commission’s communications department (DG COMM) and is currently part of the transition team of President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Mr Michael Karnitschnig, an Austrian national, has been appointed Director for ‘External Relations’ as of 1 August 2019. Mr Karnitschnig joined the European Commission from the Austrian Foreign Affairs Ministry in 2000. For most of his career, he worked in the area of foreign policy and external relations. He was part of the private offices of former Commission President Barroso and the then Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner. Since 2014, Mr Karnitschnig has been heading the private office of Commissioner Johannes Hahn in charge of Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations. In addition and following the request of the current Secretary-General of the European Commission to be relieved from his function by the end of July 2019, today the College of Commissioners has taken note of and put in place the arrangements for deputising for the Secretary-General as set out in the Rules of Procedures of the Commission. In line with Article 26 of these Rules of Procedures, Ms Ilze Juhansone – the most senior Deputy Secretary-General – will now be exercising the functions of Secretary-General ad interim. Ms Ilze Juhansone, a Latvian national, has been serving as a Deputy Secretary-General since 2015. Together with the current two deputies – Mr Pascal Leardini and Ms Céline Gauer – she will lead and steer the work of the Secretariat-General and will notably ensure continuity and a smooth transition between the end of the Juncker Commission and the beginning of the Von der Leyen Commission.