EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

Back to EUR-Lex homepage

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Document C2021/418A/01

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) — Publication of a vacancy for the function of Executive Director (Temporary Agent – Grade AD 14) COM/2021/20069


OJ C 418A , 15.10.2021, p. 1–6 (BG, ES, CS, DA, DE, ET, EL, EN, FR, GA, HR, IT, LV, LT, HU, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SL, FI, SV)



Official Journal of the European Union

CA 418/1

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)

Publication of a vacancy for the function of Executive Director

(Temporary Agent – Grade AD 14)


(2021/C 418 A/01)


We are

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) created on 1 June 2007 by the REACH Regulation and located in Helsinki, Finland, plays a central role to ensure a high level of protection of human health and the environment, including the promotion of alternative methods for assessment of hazards of substances, as well as the free circulation of substances on the internal market while enhancing competitiveness and innovation.

ECHA implements the following legislation:

REACH (1) is the Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals. It entered into force on 1 June 2007. It streamlines and improves the former legislative framework on chemicals of the European Union. The provisions under Articles 75 to 111 of REACH regulate the functioning of the Agency and describe the tasks it shall perform.

CLP (2) is the Regulation on Classification and Labelling and Packaging of chemicals. It entered into force on 20 January 2009. Article 50 of the Regulation describes the tasks of the Agency.

BPR (3) is the Biocidal Product Regulation which entered into force in 2013 and concerns the placing on the market and use of biocidal products, which are used to protect humans, animals, materials or articles against harmful organisms, like pests or bacteria, by the action of the active substances contained in the biocidal product. The provisions under Article 74 of BRP describe the role of the Agency.

PIC (4) is the Prior Informed Consent Regulation which entered into force in 2014 and administers the import and export of certain hazardous chemicals and places obligations on companies who wish to export these chemicals to non-EU countries. It implements, within the European Union, the Rotterdam Convention on prior informed consent procedure for certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade. The provisions under Article 6 of PIC describe the tasks to be performed by the Agency.

The Agency has been also entrusted with specific tasks within the Waste Framework Directive (5), the Regulation on persistent organic pollutants (6) and the Drinking Water Directive (7).

The European Commission published a Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability (8) on 14 October 2020. It is part of the EU’s zero pollution ambition, which is a key commitment of the European Green Deal. The implementation of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability is expected to affect the role of ECHA and its mandate.

For further information please consult the following website:

We propose

The Executive Director is the legal representative and public face of ECHA and is accountable to the ECHA Management Board, set up under Article 78 of Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 establishing the Agency. He/she will lead and manage ECHA and take overall responsibility for its operations ensuring the achievement of ECHA’s objectives.

The Executive Director shall be completely independent in the performance of his/her duties, without prejudice to the respective competencies of the Commission and the Management Board.

The Executive Director will be responsible for fulfilling his/her duties set out in Article 83 of Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 and in particular for:

the day-to-day administration of the Agency with a budget in 2021 of around EUR 113 million and 621 staff;

managing ECHA in line with its founding provisions in the REACH Regulation and with the applicable legislation in force as well as with the decisions of its Management Board;

taking general responsibility for managing ECHA’s staff effectively and efficiently, and fostering a good team spirit and working environment;

managing all the Agency resources necessary for conducting the activities of its bodies, including making available appropriate scientific and technical support;

drawing up ECHA’s Strategy and draft Work Programmes, and reporting on their direction and policy setting procedures to the Management Board;

reporting on the implementation of the Work Programmes and decisions adopted by the Management Board;

providing the secretariat for the Management Board;

taking general responsibility for the overall performance of the tasks assigned to ECHA including supervising the quality of its internal control and management systems;

preparing and executing ECHA’s budget in line with Financial Framework Regulation (9) for agencies and ensuring that it is managed efficiently and in accordance with the principle of sound financial management;

taking general responsibility for the financial matters of ECHA including, inter alia, draft final accounts and financing decisions;

representing ECHA and engaging with the range of stakeholders and the public on all matters within the Agency’s remit;

ensuring cooperation with the European Commission, the European Parliament and Member States as well as with competent bodies in Member States and EU agencies carrying out similar tasks to those of ECHA;

ensuring that the time-limits laid down in Union legislation for the adoption of opinions by the Agency are complied with;

ensuring appropriate coordination between its committees.

We look for (selection criteria)

The ideal candidate will be an outstanding and dynamic professional who should fulfil the following selection criteria:

a)   Management skills:

capacity to lead a large organisation like ECHA, both at a strategic and at operational management level;

excellent capacity to develop and implement a strategic vision, to set objectives and to motivate and lead people in a multicultural, multilingual and multidisciplinary environment;

very good decision-making skills, including the capacity to take decisions on complex issues and in unforeseen or changing circumstances;

proven experience in budgetary, financial and human resources management in a large organisation in a national, European and/or international context;

a clear vision for promoting ECHA’s mission to deliver benefits for human health and the environment as well as for innovation and competitiveness and for applying its guiding principles of openness, transparency, independence and scientific excellence.

b)   Specialist skills and experience:

good knowledge of the health, environmental, consumer, innovation and internal market dimensions of the European chemicals legislation;

experience and practice in one or more of the following areas: protection of human health and/or the environment, chemicals risk assessment. Ideally this experience should have been acquired in a national, European or international organisation;

very good understanding of the European agencies, institutions and how they operate and interact;

c)   Personal qualities:

ability to communicate efficiently and fluently in a transparent and open manner with stakeholders, citizens, European, international, national and local public authorities, international organisations, the press, etc.;

solid experience of negotiating in an international environment;

excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to maintain appropriate relations with EU agencies, institutions and with Member State’s competent authorities.

Candidates must (eligibility requirements)

Candidates will only be considered for the selection phase on the basis of the following formal requirements to be fulfilled by the deadline for applications:

Nationality: candidates must be a citizen of one of the Member States of the European Union.

University degree or diploma: candidates must have:

either a level of education which corresponds to completed university studies attested by a diploma when the normal period of university education is 4 years or more;

or a level of education which corresponds to completed university studies attested by a diploma and appropriate professional experience of at least 1 year when the normal period of university education is at least 3 years (this 1 year’s professional experience cannot be included in the postgraduate professional experience required below).

Professional experience: candidates must have at least 15 years postgraduate professional experience (10) at a level to which the qualifications referred to above give admission. At least 5 years of that professional experience must be gained in a domain relevant to Agency’s activities.

Management experience: at least 5 years of the post-graduate professional experience must have been gained in a high–level management function (11) in a field relevant for this position.

Languages: candidates must have a thorough knowledge of one of the official languages of the European Union (12) and a satisfactory knowledge of another of these official languages. Selection panels will verify during the interview(s) whether candidates comply with the requirement of a satisfactory knowledge of another official EU language. This may include (part of) the interview being conducted in this other language.

Age limit: candidates must be able to complete, at the deadline for application, the full mandate of 5 years before reaching the retirement age. For temporary staff of the European Union, the retirement age is defined as being the end of the month in which the person reaches the age of 66 years (see Article 47 of the Conditions of Employment of other Servants of the European Union (13)).

Selection and appointment

The Director will be appointed by the Management Board of ECHA on the basis of a shortlist provided by the European Commission.

To establish this shortlist, the European Commission organises a selection in accordance with its selection and recruitment procedures (see the Document on Senior Officials Policy (14)).

As part of this selection procedure, the European Commission sets up a pre-selection panel. This panel analyses all applications, proceeds with a first eligibility verification and identifies candidates having the best profile in view of the selection criteria mentioned above, and who may be invited for an interview with the pre-selection panel.

Following these interviews, the pre-selection panel draws up its conclusions and proposes a list of candidates for further interviews with the European Commission’s Consultative Committee on Appointments (CCA). The CCA, taking into consideration the conclusions of the pre-selection panel, will decide on the candidates to be invited for an interview.

Candidates who are called for an interview with the CCA participate in a full-day management assessment centre run by external recruitment consultants. Taking account of the results of the interview and the report of the assessment centre, the CCA establishes a shortlist of candidates it considers suitable to exercise the function of Executive Director of the European Chemicals Agency.

Candidates on the CCA shortlist will be interviewed by the Member(s) of the Commission responsible for the Directorate-General in charge of the relations with the Agency (15).

Following these interviews, the European Commission adopts a shortlist of the most suitable candidates, which will be communicated to the Management Board of the European Chemicals Agency. The latter may decide to interview the candidates before appointing the Executive Director from among the candidates on the Commission shortlist. Inclusion on this shortlist does not guarantee appointment.

Candidates may be required to undergo further interviews and/or tests in addition to those indicated above. They will also be required to deliver a statement before the relevant committee(s) of the European Parliament.

Equal opportunities

The European Commission and the European Chemicals Agency apply a policy of equal opportunities and non-discrimination in accordance with Article 1d of the Staff Regulations (16).

Conditions of employment

The salaries and conditions of employment are laid down in the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants.

The successful candidate will be engaged by the European Chemicals Agency as a Temporary Agent at grade AD 14. He/she will be classified depending on the length of his/her previous professional experience in step 1 or step 2 within that grade.

She/he will be appointed for an initial mandate of 5 years, with a possible prolongation for a maximum 5 years according to Regulation establishing the Agency as applicable at the time of appointment.

Applicants should note the requirement under the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants for all new staff to complete successfully a 9-month probationary period.

The place of employment is Helsinki, Finland, where the Agency is based.

The post is available from 1 April 2022.

Independence and declaration of interests

Before taking up his/her duties, the Director will be required to make a declaration of commitment to act independently in the public interest and to declare any interests, which might be considered prejudicial to his/her independence.

Due to the particular nature of the functions, the shortlisted candidates invited to preselection interviews will be required to sign a declaration relating to their current or future interests that might be considered prejudicial to their independence.

In accordance with Article 16 of the Staff Regulations, whose provisions apply by analogy to Temporary Agents, the Executive Director shall, after leaving the service, continue to be bound by the duty to behave with integrity and discretion as regards the acceptance of certain appointments or benefits.

This includes the obligation to inform the Management Board of ECHA sufficiently in advance of the intention to engage in an occupational activity, whether gainful or not, within 2 years of leaving the service. If that activity is related to the work carried out during the last 3 years in service and could lead to a conflict with the legitimate interests of ECHA, the Management Board of ECHA may, having regard to the interests of the service, either forbid from undertaking it or give its approval subject to any conditions it considers fit.

Application procedure

Before submitting your application, you should carefully check whether you meet all eligibility requirements (‘Candidates must’), particularly concerning the types of diploma, high-level professional experience as well as linguistic capacity required. Failure to meet any of the eligibility requirements means an automatic exclusion from the selection procedure. You should also check whether you meet all the conditions to comply with the requirements of the generic exclusion criteria for candidates for membership in the ECHA bodies and for key positions in the ECHA Secretariat (17).

If you want to apply, you must register via the internet on the following website and follow the instructions concerning the various stages of the procedure:

You must have a valid email address. This will be used to confirm your registration as well as to remain in contact with you during the different stages of the procedure. Therefore, please keep the European Commission informed about any change in your email address.

To complete your application, you need to upload a CV in PDF format, preferably using the Europass CV format (18), and to fill out, online, a letter of motivation (maximum 8 000 characters). Your CV and your letter of motivation may be submitted in any of the official languages of the European Union.

Once you have finished your online registration, you will receive an electronic mail confirming that your application has been registered. If you do not receive a confirmation mail, your application has not been registered!

Please note that it is not possible to monitor the progress of your application online. You will be contacted directly by the European Commission regarding the status of your application.

If you require more information and/or encounter technical problems, please send an email to:

Closing date

The closing date for registration is 19 November 2021, 12.00 noon Brussels time, following which registration is no longer possible.

It is your responsibility to complete your online registration in time. We strongly advise you not to wait until the last few days before applying, since heavy internet traffic or a fault with your internet connection could lead to the online registration being terminated before you complete it, thereby obliging you to repeat the whole process. Once the deadline for the submission of registrations has passed, you will no longer be able to introduce any data. Late registrations are not accepted.

Important information for candidates

Candidates are reminded that the work of the different selection panels is confidential. It is forbidden for candidates to make direct or indirect contact with their individual members or for anybody to do so on their behalf. All queries must be addressed to the secretariat of the relevant panel.

Protection of personal data

The Commission will ensure that candidates’ personal data are processed as required by Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 of the European Parliament and of the Council (19) This applies in particular to the confidentiality and security of such data.

(1)  Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), establishing a European Chemicals Agency, amending Directive 1999/45/EC and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 793/93 and Commission Regulation (EC) No 1488/94 as well as Council Directive 76/769/EEC and Commission Directives 91/155/EEC, 93/67/EEC, 93/105/EC and 2000/21/EC (OJ L 396, 30.12.2006, p. 1).

(2)  Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures, amending and repealing Directives 67/548/EEC and 1999/45/EC, and amending Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 (OJ L 353, 31.12.2008, p. 1).

(3)  Regulation (EU) No 528/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2012 concerning the making available on the market and use of biocidal products (OJ L 167, 27.6.2012, p. 1).

(4)  Regulation (EU) No 649/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2012 concerning the export and import of hazardous chemicals (OJ L 201, 27.7.2012, p. 60).

(5)  Directive (EU) 2018/851 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive 2008/98/EC on waste (OJ L 150, 14.6.2018, p. 109.

(6)  Regulation (EU) 2019/1021 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on persistent organic pollutants (OJ L 169, 25.6.2019, p. 45).

(7)  Directive (EU) 2020/2184 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2020 on the quality of water intended for human consumption (OJ L 435, 23.12.2020, p. 1).

(8)  COM(2020) 667 final, available at

(9)  Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/715 of 18 December 2018 on the framework financial regulation for the bodies set up under the TFEU and Euratom Treaty and referred to in Article 70 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 122, 10.5.2019, p. 1).

(10)  Professional experience is only taken into consideration if it represents an actual work relationship defined as real, genuine work, on a paid basis and as employee (any type of contract) or provider of a service. Professional activities pursued part-time shall be calculated pro rata, on the basis of the certified percentage of full-time hours worked. Maternity leave/parental leave/leave for adoption is taken into consideration if it is in the framework of a work contract. PhDs are assimilated to professional experience, even when unpaid, but for a duration of 3 years maximum, provided that the PhD has been successfully completed. A given period may be counted only once.

(11)  In their curriculum vitae, candidates should clearly indicate for all years during which management experience has been acquired: (1) title and role of management positions held; (2) numbers of staff overseen in these positions; (3) the size of budgets managed; (4) numbers of hierarchical layers above and below; and (5) number of peers.




(15)  Unless the Member of the Commission concerned, in line with the Commission Decision of 5 December 2007 (PV(2007) 1811) and 30 September 2020 (PV(2020) 2351), has delegated this task.



(18)  You can find information on how to create your Europass CV online at:

(19)  Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2018 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 and Decision No 1247/2002/EC (OJ L 295, 21.11.2018, p. 39).