Who we are

The agency is managed by an Executive Director whose functions and powers are defined in Article 68 of Regulation (EU) No 2016/1624. 

Three Deputy Executive Directors each oversee specific tasks of the Agency and report directly to the Executive Director. The tasks are performed by nine Divisions, an Executive Management Bureau (covering Media and Public Relations Office, Brussels Office and Registration Office), offices (Inspection and Control and Internal Audit Capability) and Permanent Premises for the Frontex Headquarters Task Force.

The Divisions are following:

  • Situational Awareness and Monitoring Division
    (Frontex Situation Centre; Risk Analysis Unit; Vulnerability Assessment Unit)
  • International and European Cooperation Division
    (International Cooperation Unit; Institutional Partnership Unit; Liaison Officers Networks Unit)
  • Operational Response Division
    (Field Operations Unit; Coast Guard and Law Enforcement Unit; Centre of Excellence for Combatting Document Fraud)
  • European Centre for Returns
    (Pre-Return Unit; Return Operations and Voluntary Returns Unit; Post-Return Unit)
  • Capacity Building Division
    (Engineering and Acquisition Unit; Training Unit; Research and Innovation Unit)
  • Deployment Management Division
    (Standing Corps Preparedness and Deployment Unit; Logistics Unit)
  • ETIAS Central Unit Division
    (Application Handlers Unit; Assistance Centre Unit)
  • Financial, Digital and Security Division
    (Financial Services Unit; Digital Services Unit; Security Unit)
  • Governance Support Centre
    (Executive Management Bureau; Human Resources Unit; Legal and Procurement Unit)

An independent Fundamental Rights Officer reports directly to the Management Board and cooperates with the Consultative Forum which assists the Executive Director and the Management Board with independent advice in fundamental rights matters.

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Executive Profiles

Hans Leijtens

Executive Director

Hans Leijtens serves as Frontex’s Executive Director since 1 March 2023.

Before becoming Executive Director of Frontex, Dr Leijtens held positions as Commander of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee and Governor of The Hague.

At the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, he has worked in several leading positions at the highest management level.

Among others, he was a Director-General in the Netherlands Tax and Customs Administration, a Quartermaster of the Integrity Chamber in Sint Maarten, a Programme Director-General of the reconstruction of the Windward Islands, and a member of the International Board of Auditors (NATO).

Mr Leijtens studied sociology and psychology at the Royal Military Academy in Breda, from 1981 to 1985, and earned his doctorate in public administration from Leiden University in 2008.

Mr Leijtens was a member of the Frontex Management Board from 2011 to 2015 and 2019 to 2022.

Declaration of absence of conflict of interest
Curriculum Vitae
High resolution photo

Aija Kalnaja

Deputy Executive Director for Standing Corps Management

Aija Kalnaja, Deputy Executive Director for Standing Corps Management, was serving as the Executive Director ad interim as of 1 July 2022 until 28 February 2023.

Before taking up the position of Deputy Executive Director, Ms Kalnaja worked as the Director of Capacity Building Division, where she was responsible for pooling and managing the necessary capabilities from Member States and the agency to carry out operations at the external borders, in the pre-frontier area and in third countries. Prior to joining Frontex, she was Head of Operations Department and Head of Training Unit at CEPOL, the EU Agency for Law Enforcement Training.

Ms Kalnaja has the professional experience of working in various public administration positions within the State Police of Latvia, including Deputy Chief of Police, Police Attaché to the United Kingdom in London, and Head of Sirene Bureau.

Ms Kalnaja holds a Bachelor’s degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Latvia.

Declaration of absence of conflict of interest
Curriculum Vitae
High resolution photo

Lars Gerdes

Deputy Executive Director for Returns and Operations

Dr Lars Gerdes serves as Frontex’s Deputy Executive Director RO, responsible for the Agency’s operations at external EU borders as well as return-related activities.

Over the course of more than two decades, Dr Gerdes has acquired experience in law enforcement, security and political fields. Having led large police operations and organizational units in Germany and abroad, he is particularly practiced in border management and countering cross border crime as well as national and European policy-making.

From 2014 – 2018, Dr Gerdes served as alternate German member of the Frontex Management Board.

He holds a PhD in International Policing and Transnational Organized Crime, Masters degrees and equivalent in Security Studies and Police Management; and has published on European, security and crime matters.

Declaration of absence of conflict of interest
Curriculum Vitae
High resolution photo

Uku Särekanno

Deputy Executive Director for Information Management and Processes

As Deputy Executive Director for Information Management and Processes, Uku Särekanno oversees the implementation of the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) and interoperability framework. He is also in charge of Frontex’s crises management and corporate functions related to ICT, financial management, security and facilities.

Mr Särekanno has worked in the European Commission and various Estonian public administration positions during his 19-year-long career, including serving as Deputy Director General of the Estonian Information System Authority and as Director of Law Enforcement and Criminal Policy at the Ministry of the Interior. He was also positioned in the Estonian Permanent Representation to the EU as Chief of Staff as well as Justice and Home Affairs Counsellor.

Before becoming one of three Deputy Executive Directors in 2022, Mr Särekanno was Head of Cabinet at eu-LISA, where he oversaw the coordination of the EU agency’s key activities.

Mr Särekanno holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from Tallinn University as well as a Master of Law from the University of Tartu.

Declaration of absence of conflict of interest
Curriculum Vitae
High resolution photo
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