Irishwoman Catherine Day has announced she is stepping down as secretary general of the European Commission.
The move will end a 15-year stint during which an Irish person headed the EU executive – one of the most influential posts in the 28-nation European Union and in the western world.
Ms Day took office in November 2005 and at the time succeeded Irishman, David O’Sullivan, who was in the job from 2000. Mr O’Sullivan is now the EU ambassador to Washington.
She was also the first woman ever to head the administration since it was established in 1957.
Catherine Day, a native of Dublin and a UCD graduate, joined the Brussels executive in 1979. She advised two Irish Commissioners, Dick Burke and David Sutherland, and was also an advisor to Commissioner Leon Brittan of Britain.
Announcing that Dutchman, Alexander Italianer, will take over as EU Commission secretary general in September, Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, paid tribute to Catherine Day.
President Juncker said Ms Day played a key role in ensuring the new EU Commission, which took office last October, got up and running quickly.