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Head of Program - Global Shared Services

Requisition ID:  17423
Region:  Europe (HQ)
Contract type:  Open-ended contract

What we do


The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) works worldwide to provide humanitarian assistance to people affected by conflict and armed violence. We take action in response to emergencies and at the same time promote respect for international humanitarian law. We are an independent and neutral organization, and our mandate stems essentially from the Geneva Conventions of 1949. We work closely with National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and with their International Federation in order to ensure a concerted, rational and rapid humanitarian response to the needs of the victims of armed conflict or any other situation of internal violence. We direct and coordinate the international activities conducted in these situations.



The ICRC is introducing a Global Shared Services(GSS) ecosystem to reinforce organizational performance and optimize costs across functions and geographies through end-to-end processes, digitalization, and standardization. The GSS program has been set up to design and implement an overarching operating model across the ICRC and to build a related service delivery framework, enabled by a coherent location strategy, strong human resources support and adapted financial mechanisms. 

The program will deliver its intended benefits over three distinct phases:

(1) Phase 1 focuses on building the foundations and designing the future set-up;

(2) Phase 2 focuses on formalizing and implementing the proposed operating model and governance,

and (3) Phase 3 focuses on managing the transition from “build” to “run” and extending the services offered.

The Head of Program is responsible for driving the GSS program to its successful completion. In this capacity, they will oversee the large interdependent projects comprising the program and lead the multidisciplinary team responsible for delivery. The Head of Program reports to the Director of Financial Resources and Logistics, as the sponsor of the GSS Program, and interacts with a wide range of senior-level stakeholders within the ICRC and beyond.

Main responsibilities


Program coordination


  • Manage the program by following the established time-scope-cost-quality parameters. 
  • Maintain a strategic and global view of the program throughout its lifecycle.
  • Ensure that the program’s progress is effectively monitored, controlled, reported on, and realised benefits tracked according to the ICRC’s Project Management Framework.
  • Furnish the agreed program deliverables and ensure their smooth integration within management processes identified by the Steering Committee.
  • Bring appropriate issues to the Steering Committee and Core Team for decision.
  • Ensure that communication and change management plans are developed and implemented to support the effective adoption of related changes; organize the flow of communication, support Steering Committee members in fulfilling their communication responsibilities; facilitate regular communication with multiple audiences.  
  • Manage interdependencies within the program and with other ICRC-wide initiatives, leveraging related opportunities and escalating issues and risks to ensure that appropriate mitigation actions are undertaken and effectively monitored.
  • Design and monitor the transition phase up to an expected level of satisfaction defined by the Steering Committee. Organize and perform regular lessons learned exercises and ensure the Program’s closure.



Subject matter expertise


  • Lead the substantive development of the GSS ecosystem, providing expertise on the various program workstreams, to ensure that the resulting design meets organizational requirements and is in line with external best practice.
  • Frame required consultancy support and ensure that required output is furnished and integrated within the overall approach.   
  • Conceptualize and support feasibility studies geared towards centralization of corporate functions and process automation.

Team leadership and management


  • Supervise a team of skilled professionals in Geneva and the ICRC’s Corporate Services Network, promoting staff engagement and well-being. 
  • Cultivate a diverse and inclusive working environment; motivate and support individual team members.


Stakeholder engagement 


  • Contribute to the oversight and management of cross-cutting files, as a member of key transversal working groups and steering committees. 
  • Represent the program in various internal and external capacities. 
  • Share experiences and contribute to continuous improvement through the Project Management Office and the change management community.

Scope & Impact


  • Management of annual program budget of CHF 2 million per year for the life of the program.
  • High-strategic and global impact, with responsibility for implementing the full scope of the GSS program across the ICRC’s organizational structure.
  • Direct supervision of 5 to 7 program staff members.
  • Significant coordination and sequencing efforts required.

Reports to:


  • Director, Department of Financial Resources and Logistics  



  • Internally, interacts with the Assembly Council, the Directorate, GSS program contributors (Steering Committee, Core Team, Workstreams), and other ICRC managers at headquarters and in the field as well as the Project Management Office
  • Externally, interacts independently with counterparts within the humanitarian sector and beyond as well as other shared services experts

Background & experience required


  • Master’s degree in relevant field
  • Formal project/program management certification (MSP, Prince or PMP)
  • 15+ years of professional experience, with 10+ years in managing, planning and coordinating large-scale transformational projects
  • Proven track record in accompanying organizational change
  • Computer proficiency

Desired profile and skills


  • Proactive and results-oriented; excellent project management and analytical skills; strong ability to prioritize
  • Extensive business process optimization experience, including through offshoring and outsourcing
  • Broad understanding of the interplay between efficient process design, effective controls and optimized business performance
  • Sense of initiative and ability to work autonomously
  • Ability to present complex information in a clear and concise manner
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, in English and French
  • Ability to work under pressure and to tight deadlines
  • Solid team player
  • At ease with networking and relationship-building 
  • Availability to undertake short missions in locations where ICRC operates to gain the best understanding of organizational realities as well as to engage with shared service providers as well as their clients

Additional information


  • Location:                        Geneva
  • Type of contract:            Open-ended
  • Starting date:                 1 September 2021
  • Activity rate:                   100%
  • Application deadline:  Sunday, 27 June 2021


The ICRC values diversity and is committed to creating an inclusive working environment. We welcome applications from all qualified candidates. Only candidates under serious consideration will be contacted.