Chief Operating Officer

Oxford Policy Management Oxford, United Kingdom

About Oxford Policy Management


Oxford Policy Management is an international development consultancy. Their mission is to help low and middle-income countries achieve growth and reduce poverty and disadvantage through public policy reform.

Their origins are in Oxford University and its core offering still reflects a strong commitment to, and well-justified reputation for, intellectual rigour, world-leading expertise, a high-quality product and service, and an impact-driven intrinsic motivation.

Their history has been one of growth. OPM now number several hundred staff, half of whom work in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, with another thousand expert associates working with them on a regular basis.

Their work spans the policy cycle: from research and policy advice, through technical support and programme management and implementation, to monitoring, evaluation, and learning. Its capabilities include centre of government public financial management and governance, public service delivery in education, health, and social protection, managing climate change and resilience, and research methods, research programme management, and evaluation.

OPM is funded by several national governments and development agencies, and work with leading non-governmental institutions and organisations globally.

You can find further details on their website http://www.opml.co.uk/.


Chief Operating Officer Role Profile

In a changing world, and evolving global markets, OPM has three strategic priorities:
•    remaining a distinctive global organisation
•    organisational readiness
•    financial resilience

After some years of growth, and a recent period of changing market dynamics, OPM is investing heavily in a new way of working and an associated operating platform, which upon which delivery against its strategic priorities will be built.

The Chief Operating Officer will be the key driver in sustaining this change, its future evolution, and its sustained success. It will be a critical role in the effectiveness of the organisation, and the efficiency of its operating platform.

The Chief Operating Officer will report directly to the Chief Executive Officer.


Key Primary Responsibilities

The purpose of the role is to support delivery of OPM’s strategic priorities by securing the effectiveness and efficiency of the global operating platform. The aim is to remain a distinctive global organisation by being able to deliver safely excellent projects in a range of countries for a mix of clients. Its organisational and financial objectives hinge on the operating performance, as well as technical excellence and rigour in its work.

The operating model for the organisation is a matrix, so delivery of the strategic priorities will involve working across functions and teams, and in some cases through the COO’s direct line.

Remaining a distinctive global organisation: making the most of the international presence and delivering good projects safely, with quality and rigour, so they have a positive impact.
  • Provide the foundations for implementing regional operating structures when appropriate 
  • Diversifying the geographic spread in which they can work safely, with agility and operational efficiency.
  • Strengthening the International Office footprint, where more than half of the 400+ staff work from the global locations
  • Delivering global compliance across all entities
  • Operating consistently across all jurisdictions
Organisational readiness: building a place where they are proud to work and their values shine through, a place they feel supported, equipped, and inspired to do their best.
  • Consolidating and sustaining business systems implementation, including Microsoft Dynamics
  • Enabling continuous process improvement
  • Creating an environment where it easy to work to a high standard
Financial resilience: strengthening the profitability and balance sheet
  • Driving efficiency and operating cost reduction
  • Reducing our fixed cost overhead
Specifically, you will lead and define strategy for:
  • Organisation: you will spearhead and work towards building an organisational structure that maximises the effectiveness, ensures financial resilience, and aligns to changing market patterns.
  • Functions: you will lead our PMO, international offices and central functions as appropriate, developing them and managing day to day performance. Each of which provide key inputs to who, how and where we work. In these areas, our aim, and your responsibility, will be to create an environment where we are known to be world-class at project delivery, leveraging the most appropriate technologies, and, with high engagement, a high values driven culture and organisation. This is a strategic role with a high level of operational management to carry out.
  • Policy: you will create, and contribute to, a set of policies and ‘ways of working’ that are coherent, strategically effective, and consistently applied across the organisation.
  • Capability: you will ensure that our operating model is fit for present purpose and prepared for future needs. You will work closely with the business, finance and service lines to prepare the organisation for changing needs and future opportunities.
  • Leadership and strategy: you will, as a member of the Senior Management Team, contribute to the leadership, decision making, culture building and business strategy and performance of OPM.

Key Immediate Activities:
  • Take on leadership of, and sustain delivery of, our OPM ‘Clarity’ program – a business wide activity which (i) simplifies our business processes; (ii) strengthens a consistent approach to project management; and (iii) installs Microsoft Dynamics, and so is building the operating platform for the organisation for the future.
  • Take on the leadership of the teams within your direct span of control and build them into strategically aligned high performance functions.
  • Begin to create a clear view of, and roadmap to, the functions and operations’ organisational structure and capabilities of the business resulting in a clear organisational plan, including on concentrating in-country teams in regional centres.

Qualifications and Experience

Person Specification
  • You will preferably hold a Master’s degree as well as having a minimum of 10 years of experience working across private and public sectors in developing countries. 
  • You will be an experienced leader, who has experienced growth, change, transformation, and has demonstrable leadership experience of navigating and delivering successful outcomes – in particular, where a business has both invested in change and achieved demonstrable success as a result.
  • You will understand the consulting business model, preferably in a high intellectual property context. You may not have worked exclusively in a consulting business; however, you will have strong understanding for the key drivers, economics, models, and best practices, that combine to create world-class working environments for a high-performing consulting organisation.
  • You will have a strong empathy for and experience of international markets, geographically dispersed organisations, and preferably experience of work in low and middle-income countries.
  • You will have strong experience of leading many of the corporate functions of an organisation. This will be coupled by a demonstrable vision (and previous implementation) for how they can be harnessed and configured to drive materially impactful business outcomes.
  • You will be able to apply your experience in a mid-sized organisation. This will balance the opportunities and limitations of a business in this category and of this scale. You will be an agile business leader, decision maker, and strategic thinker, a pragmatic solution-finder, and a custodian of long-term business interests, growth and the OPM brand.
  • You will value the importance of strategy and impact and have a rounded view of business outcomes that include financial performance, but also encompass building sustainable organisations and high impact cultures and working environments.

Terms of Appointment

This is a full-time permanent position. Salary is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Location: Oxford, United Kingdom

Oxford initially, with potential of working internationally subject to rights to work elsewhere and working arrangements. Locations could be New Delhi (India) or Nairobi (Kenya) after spending approximately 18 months in Oxford.

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 Ms. Lea Vercoustre at [email protected] on or before 10 December 2021. 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 possible when we have reviewed your application.

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