Article 157

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1. The Office shall be managed by the Executive Director. The Executive Director shall be accountable to the Management Board.

2. Without prejudice to the powers of the Commission, the Management Board, and the Budget Committee, the Executive Director shall be independent in the performance of his duties and shall neither seek nor take instructions from a government or from any other body.

3. The Executive Director shall be the legal representative of the Office.

4. The Executive Director shall have in particular the following functions, which may be delegated:
(a) taking all necessary steps, including the adoption of internal administrative instructions and the publication of notices, to ensure the functioning of the Office;
(b) implementing the decisions adopted by the Management Board;
(c) preparing a draft annual work programme indicating estimated human and financial resources for each activity, and submitting it to the Management Board after consultation of the Commission;
(d) submitting to the Management Board proposals pursuant to Article 152(2);
(e) preparing a draft multiannual strategic programme, including the Office's strategy for international cooperation, and submitting it to the Management Board after consultation of the Commission and following an exchange of views with the relevant committee in the European Parliament;
(f) implementing the annual work programme and the multiannual strategic programme and reporting to the Management Board on their implementation;
(g) preparing the annual report on the Office's activities and presenting it to the Management Board for approval;
(h) preparing a draft multiannual staff policy plan and submitting it to the Management Board after consultation of the Commission;
(i) preparing an action plan following-up on the conclusions of the internal or external audit reports and evaluations, as well as following up on the investigations of the OLAF, and reporting on progress twice a year to the Commission and to the Management Board;
(j) protecting the financial interests of the Union by the application of preventive measures against fraud, corruption and any other illegal activities, by effective checks and, if irregularities are detected, by recovering amounts wrongly paid and, where appropriate, by imposing effective, proportionate and dissuasive administrative and financial penalties;
(k) preparing an anti-fraud strategy for the Office and presenting it to the Budget Committee for approval;
(l) in order to ensure uniform application of the Regulation, referring, where appropriate, to the enlarged Board of Appeal (‘the Grand Board’) questions on a point of law, in particular if the Boards of Appeal have issued diverging decisions on the point;
(m) drawing up estimates of the revenue and expenditure of the Office and implementing the budget;
(n) exercising the powers entrusted to him in respect of staff by the Management Board under Article 153(1)(h);
(o) exercising the powers conferred on him under Articles 31(3), 34(5), 35(3), 94(2), 97(5), Articles 98, 100, 101, Articles 111(4), 112(3), 114(5), Articles 115, 116, Articles 120(4), 146(10), Article 178, Articles 179(1) and 180(2), and Article 181 in accordance with the criteria set out in this Regulation and in the acts adopted pursuant to this Regulation.

5. The Executive Director shall be assisted by one or more Deputy Executive Directors. If the Executive Director is absent or indisposed, the Deputy Executive Director or one of the Deputy Executive Directors shall replace him in accordance with the procedure laid down by the Management Board.