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Managing Director, Africa

The Managing Director (MD) of the Africa Regional Office is responsible for scaling up The Rockefeller Foundation’s impact and influence across the region by building effective partnerships with key national, regional and global actors, across sectors. The MD serves as the senior leader for the Foundation in the region, helping to integrate knowledge and drive efforts to amplify the impact of our global programs (e.g. Power, Food, Health, Innovation, and Co-Impact etc.).

The MD is responsible for ensuring strong coordination and synergies between regional offices and program leadership, ensuring that the Foundation maintains a well-coordinated and coherent presence. The MD is a key internal and external thought leader responsible for shaping the strategy and execution of the Foundation’s portfolio in the region, especially bringing outstanding contextual intelligence on potential synergies and risks across our investments. As the Foundation’s regional leader, the MD is also responsible for building a high performing regional platform with operational excellence, a positive organizational culture, and fostering a highly collaborative team environment. The MD is responsible for managing the functioning of the Africa Regional Office effectively and efficiently and ensuring compliance with all legal and financial requirements.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities

  • Provide leadership in the Region and ensure that in region activities, external engagement, and grant making align with the Foundation’s global strategy and performance standards.
  • Represent the Foundation within the region and build strong partnerships with National Governments for the Foundation’s strategic countries.
  • Lead overall strategic planning within the region in collaboration with the Chief Operations Officer and manage operations across the continent.
  • Serve as an indispensable partner in executing initiative and innovation strategies in region to have the deepest impact on human lives by providing a regional perspective based on Government, private sector and other stakeholder priorities.
  • Serve as source of intelligence, relationships, and expertise in region to drive innovation, generate new knowledge, and engage regional influencers.
  • Work closely with the MD of the Asia Regional Office on aligned regional office strategy and execution.
  • Develop and build strategic relationships with a strong network of Donors, Banks, Private Sector, UN, HNI, Think Tanks, and others in the region to leverage significant resources to scale impact of The Rockefeller Foundation’s work.
  • Build and maintain the Foundation’s credibility and profile in the region through media interactions, Op-eds and speaking opportunities at key events.
  • Provide support for development and execution of the Foundation’s initiatives.
  • Effectively manage the Africa Regional Office, including People management – recruit, orient, nurture and coach Regional Office staff.
  • Manage an annual budget for programmatic grant making and administrative expenses in the region.
  • Liaise between the program and operation teams in region to ensure that the Foundation works as a cohesive entity.
  • Work effectively with all teams under the leadership of the Chief Operating Officer on issues that directly influence the region.
  • Oversee and manage all of the operational requirements of running the regional office, including budgets, financials, payroll, benefits etc., working closely with the global heads of operations areas such as the Chief Financial Officer in New York. Oversee any in house expertise dedicated to security including oversight of security protocols.
  • Establish practices and processes to identify and mitigate risks to the organization; ensure compliance to requirements of legal provisions, policies and regulations of both the organization and local governments.

Education, Experience and Skills

  • Advanced Degree in International Development, Economics, Finance  or related field with deep experience across diverse African political, governance, and developmental contexts.
  • 20+ years of professional experience, with a proven track record in buliding significant multi-stakeholder partnerships to address major social and development problems in Africa.
  • An outstanding thought-leader and influencer, with deep experience in engaging and influencing senior stakeholders across the public, private and civil society sectors.
  • A demonstrable passion for network-building and external representation, in country, regional and global settings.
  • A collaborative leadership style, able to build to effective partnerships with the Foundation’s global program leads in order to deliver coherence in our investments across Africa.
  • Significant experience (10+ years) in a senior management roles overseeing complex operations with significant budgets and diverse teams.
  • A record of shaping effective strategies and delivering results.
  • Commitment to The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission and Core Values – effectiveness, equity, integrity, innovation and leadership.
  • Excellent judgement and professional standards, with a proven ability to handle sensitive or confidential organizational issues, and to apply appropriate judgement in sensitive situations.
  • The ability to travel (40-50%) both domestically and internationally and a willingness to be flexible in working hours working across different time zones.
  • Proficiency in Swahili and/or French a plus.

Qualifications and Competencies

  • Leadership: Ability to develop a vision, spot opportunities and turn a broad set of ideas and insights into action with limited resources, using an entrepreneurial, constructive, and adaptive approach.  Proven ability to manage towards and successfully realize outcomes-based projects.
  • Strategic Ability: Ability to identify patterns and trends in dynamic, complex systems across a wide range of content domains and to evaluate opportunities and risks using analytical and problem-solving skills.
  • Decision Making and Risk Management: Sound judgment and decision-making in complex situations; alerts others to risks inside and outside the organization; willing to make judgments about managing risks and ready to take responsibility for such judgments.
  • Partnership and Relationship Building: Ability to engage with a diverse range of teams and partners. Comfort building strong working relationships, quickly establishing credibility in new areas of work, and mobilizing people at all levels towards collaborative goals.
  • Influencing: Track record and experience in negotiating and influencing private sector, government, donors, and civil society organizations at senior level.
  • Communications: Excellent ability to synthesize from complex activities into simple and well-structured deliverables. High level of comfort communicating to diverse audiences. Able to understand stakeholder needs and tailor information for them.
  • Creativity: Ability to think out of the box and take risks.
  • Change Management: Lead change process with confidence, empathy and transparency.
  • Execution: Strong project management skills, deadline management, sense of responsibility and accountability and the ability to effectively multi-task.
  • Building Effective Teams and Partnerships: Collegiate – acting as a team player, even if this results in adjustment of own priorities; develops mutually trusting relationships with complex partnerships to deliver excellent business outcomes.
  • People Management: High level of self-confidence with a direct, honest, respectful, and empathetic approach and ability to effectively provide feedback. Able to manage team members towards their own accountabilities, to manage team collaborations where integration and group problem-solving is necessary, and to manage upwards to enable effective senior oversight and appropriate involvement. Supports learning and a sense of mutual purpose in diverse teams; sets a strong learning culture in their part of the organization; effective coach, equally at home with high performers and those in difficulty; uses opportunities across the Foundation to develop others.
  • Integrity: Ability to use best judgment when handling confidential, sensitive and proprietary information as is related to the Foundation or its grantees, partners and staff.
  • Self-Awareness and Resilience: Remains calm and positive under pressure and in difficult situations; plans own learning and development; aware of impact on others and adjusts own behavior accordingly; has a positive impact on those around them; leads major change while keeping staff and partners on board.


All applicants to apply by sending an application to responses@russellreynolds.com with the subject line “Rockefeller Foundation MD Africa.”

The Rockefeller Foundation is committed to the principles of equal employment opportunity and to compliance with all federal, state, and local laws concerning employment discrimination, including the Americans with Disabilities Act. To this end, the Foundation ensures equal opportunity to all employees and applicants regardless of race, color, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, national origin or ancestry, citizenship, lawful alien status, physical, mental, and medical disability, veteran status or liability for service in the United States Armed Forces.

The Rockefeller Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer.