Director, Office of the Secretary General

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Geneva, Switzerland

About International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

SRI Executive has been entrusted by International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), to support the executive search of an exceptional leader for the position of Director, Office of the Secretary General.
The IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian organisation, comprising 190-member National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and nearly 14 million volunteers. It assists those impacted by natural disasters and health emergencies by providing disaster response, relief services and vital health services while promoting human dignity and peace. 
Since 1919, IFRC has assisted over 160 million people each year through its member societies. Their work is guided by seven fundamental principles: humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. Through improving humanitarian standards, working as partners in development, responding to disasters, supporting healthier and safer communities, IFRC helps reduce vulnerabilities, strengthen resilience and foster a culture of peace around the world.
A member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, IFRC is joined by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to protect life and health while ensuring respect for all human beings. The largest humanitarian network in the world, the Movement promotes mutual understanding, friendship, cooperation and lasting peace amongst all peoples. Key to this approach is that the Movement works in cooperation with governments, investors and other organisations to help vulnerable communities. Since 1994, the IFRC has held Observer status with the UN General Assembly which provides the organisation with the opportunity to participate in international debates at the highest level, and access to negotiations and deliberations within the structures of almost all international organisations.  
Headquartered in Geneva, IFRC has five (5) regional offices that coordinate and provide financial, technical and logistical support to the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies for disaster operations and development programmes throughout their regions.
You can find further details on their website https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/.


Director, Office of the Secretary General, Role Profile

The OSG is responsible for ensuring that the Secretary General is provided with the information and support required to carry out the full range of his activities as executive head of the organization. The OSG facilitates coordination and communication within the Secretariat as well as between the Secretariat and the broader spectrum of IFRC stakeholders.
The leadership of the Director has an immediate impact on the ability of the Secretary General to successfully discharge functions as the executive head of the organization. This position is based in, and manages, the Office of the Secretary General (OSG) and reports directly to the Secretary General.
This position is based in the IFRC Headquarters in Geneva.

Job Purpose

The purpose of this position is to manage the OSG to ensure that the Secretary General can effectively discharge his statutory duties and key responsibilities, facilitate the efficient functioning of the SMT and GLT and the coordination among business units and groups, and support communication among the Secretary General, his direct reports and National Society leaders.
Under the direct oversight of the Secretary General, the Director-OSG ensures the effective management of the Office and the provision of timely guidance to its staff. The Director-OSG leads the facilitation and coordination of work and communication between the OSG and the rest of the IFRC, including National Societies and the field offices and delegations. The Director-OSG interacts regularly with Senior Management to ensure consultation and understanding on key issues and developments as well as rapid transmission of corporate decisions and positions on sensitive and complex issues.
The Director-OSG serves in a trusted advisory capacity to the Secretary General, providing comprehensive and impartial counsel. The Director-OSG also monitors the Secretary General’s engagements to best position the IFRC in the humanitarian sphere and enhance its visibility.
The Director-OSG serves as the Secretary to the Senior Management Team (SMT) and the Global Leadership Team (GLT), ensuring coordination and information exchange among SMT and GLT members.
Upon request and with delegated authority, the incumbent may represent and act on behalf of the Secretary General.

Duties and Responsibilities

Within the framework of the IFRC Strategy 2030, and under the guidance of the Secretary General, the Director, Office of the Secretary General has the following responsibilities:
  • Ensures overall coordination of the substantive support to the Secretary General in the implementation of his functions. Provides final quality assurance and clearance of information and documentation prior to submission to the Secretary General.
  • Provides policy and strategic advice and planning regarding the Secretary General’s political, leadership and managerial responsibilities. Advises the Secretary General on organizational needs and strategic solutions. Ensures that relevant research and background papers are commissioned on matters of concern to the OSG.
  • Formulates and implements the work programme and budget of the OSG, determining priorities and monitoring progress. Oversees the preparation of reports.
  • Provides guidance to, and supervises, OSG staff responsible for: strategic advice, planning and monitoring; speechwriting and communications; management and scheduling of the Secretary General’s engagements and activities; coordination, organization and follow-up of travel; preparation, finalization and dissemination of SG incoming and outgoing correspondence and communications relating to the Secretary General. Provides final signoff on all correspondence and communications.
  • Supervises the review and implementation of OSG management as well as administrative processes, protocols and guidelines to ensure effective and timely briefings and preparation of the Secretary General for meetings, speaking engagements and other major activities. Ensures appropriate workflows in support of decision-making and action by the Secretary General.
  • Motivates and ensures an enabling environment for strong and cohesive individual and team performance within the OSG; ensures equitable distribution of workload and adequate coverage during absences; and monitors and evaluates staff performance.
  • Proactively identifies and addresses issues that could impact the successful implementation of the Secretary General’s vision and the organization’s strategy. Ensures that the vision, goals, objectives, and decisions of the Secretary General are clearly communicated both internally and externally. Monitors and ensures timely implementation of the Secretary General’s decisions.
  • Guides and oversees the preparation of communications and ensures the quality of communications issued by or on behalf of the Secretary General, including speeches, presentations, talking points, governance reports and other communications; provides final review, editing and approval of all key communications prior to submission to the Secretary General; and liaises with substantive units with regard to the preparation and revision of communications.
  • Contributes to the corporate management of the Secretariat, placing premium on the promotion of teamwork as well as the effective and efficient sharing of Secretariat resources. Ensures that the requisite synergies and complementarities between and among business groups occurs.
  • Develops and maintains effective liaison with senior staff and key governing body officials, including the President of the IFRC. Provides coordination to ensure that senior management actions and communications are aligned with agreed strategy.
  • Liaises closely with the Governance Team to facilitate and ensure that quality and timely support is provided to the governance bodies of the IFRC, and their statutory directions and decisions are given prompt effect.
  • Ensures that the Secretary General is informed of the views, concerns and ideas of senior management and the staff at large for strengthening organizational performance, achieving results, instituting innovative solutions and mitigating risks. Develop and maintain close liaison with the Staff Association and other internal bodies, as appropriate.
  • Maintains liaison with high-ranking representatives of Governments, international organizations and external partners, and National Society leaders on substantive and political questions and provide advice to the Secretary General.
  • Ensures thorough preparation and coordination of Senior Management meetings and other strategic meetings by the OSG, including final approval of agendas and documentation prior to submission to the Secretary General.
  • Identifies relevant strategic issues and opportunities for special initiatives are brought to the attention of the Secretary General and prepared for strategic discussion or decision, as appropriate.
  • Coordinates the preparation and provide final clearance of analyses, advice, documentation and recommendations to the Secretary General on overarching policy, management objectives and strategic planning. Coordinates and contributes to the design, implementation and monitoring of Secretariat strategies and performance.

Duties applicable to all staff

  • Work actively towards the achievement of the Federation’s goals.
  • Abide by and work in accordance with the Red Cross and Red Crescent principles.
  • Perform any other work-related duties and responsibilities that may be assigned by the line manager.

Required Competencies

  • Core Competencies: Communication, Collaboration &Teamwork, Judgement & Decision Making, National Society & Customer Relations, Creativity & Innovation, Building Trust.
  • Managerial competencies: Managing Performance, Managing Staff Development.
  • Functional competencies: Strategic Orientation, Building Alliances, Leadership, Empowering Others.

Qualifications and Experience


University degree (master's degree or equivalent) in management, public administration, international relations, law, or other relevant field of study; or a first-level university degree combined with extensive relevant experience.


  • At least 10 years of progressively responsible professional experience in an international organization or similar institution in one or more of the following areas: Executive Office; humanitarian emergency management or disaster response; economic or social development; communications; management or public administration; law; partnership development; organizational development and governance; strategic planning; or other relevant fields.
  • Demonstrated professional experience working in a field-based location in the area of humanitarian response as well as economic, social and organizational development.
  • Demonstrated professional experience working in an advisory role or coordinating activities in support of executive leaders or other senior officials at the international or national level, including representational experience.
  • Experience in developing strategy, developing tools and guidance, providing technical assistance and in establishing and maintaining networks.
  • Good understanding of IFRC policies and strategies as well as a demonstrated ability to translate these into actions.

Knowledge and Skills

  • Leadership skills
  • Interpersonal skills and ability to negotiate while maintaining effective working relations
  • Strategic analysis, systematic planning and implementation skills
  • Ability to draft and edit in English and French in a clear and concise manner
  • Discretion, loyalty and ability to identify and handle sensitive issues and confidential information


  • Fluent spoken and written English and French.
  • Good command of another IFRC official language (Spanish or Arabic)

Terms of Appointment

This is a full-time position. Salary is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience.
Location: Geneva, Switzerland

How to Apply

If you wish to be considered for this position, please forward a copy of your CV in Microsoft Word format, along with any relevant documentation to Mr. Arvin Santiago at [email protected] OR use the Application Form below. Applications for this role are now closed. All information will be treated in the strictest confidence as we pride ourselves on our professional service. We will revert to you as soon as feasible when we have reviewed your application.
SRI Executive is exclusively retained by IFRC to undertake this role along with the following ongoing IFRC assignments-
  • Under Secretary General, National Society Development and Operations Coordination.
  • Under Secretary General, Management Policy, Strategy and Corporate Services.
  • Under Secretary General, Global Relations, Humanitarian Diplomacy and Digitalization.
  • Regional Directors (5 positions):  Africa Region (Nairobi, Kenya); Asia Pacific Region (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia); Middle East and North Africa Region (Beirut, Lebanon); Europe Region (Budapest, Hungary); along with Americas Region (Panama City, Panama).
  • Director, Office of the Secretary General.

Application form