Mr Manolopoulos, who is also Head of the Agency's Corporate Services Unit, graduated as an economist specialised in European politics and European studies. He started his career as an economist in the private sector followed by a period employed by the Greek government in different ministries (Ministry of Culture, Ministry of National Economy, Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and worked in Canada and Brussels (Permanent Representation).
In 1996 he joined the European Commission (DG 1) dealing with trade defence mechanisms. In the summer of 1999, in the interests of the service, he participated in the task force in Kosovo contributing to the effort of the European Union to reconstruct the area as Head of the Economic and Agricultural Sector.
He became the Head of Administration and acting Secretary General of the European Agency for Reconstruction in 2000, achieving the goal of maintaining very low administrative expenses in relation to the approximately 3 billion euros invested by the European Union in Kosovo, Serbia, FYROM and Montenegro. He was also the Head of Administration (2004) of FRA's predecessor, the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, and since 2007 he has been the Head of Corporate Services at FRA.
The selection procedure for a new Director is set out in FRA's Founding Regulation. A shortlist is drawn up by the European Commission. The European Parliament and the Council of the EU both give their opinions and orders of preference after interviewing each shortlisted candidate. Their views are taken into account by the Management Board. The final decision rests with FRA’s Management Board.
The Director's term of office is five years. The Management Board may extend the term once, for not more than five years, in accordance with FRA’s Founding Regulation.
The Management Board appointed Sirpa Rautio of Finland to be the Agency's new Director at its meeting on 14-15 December 2023. She is expected to take up her duties in March 2024.