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Job Description

At CIMMYT, an international organization headquartered in Mexico, we are committed to addressing tomorrow's challenges today. Our mission is to sustainably improve the livelihoods and resilience of resource-poor smallholder farmers across the globe and particularly in the Global South while working towards a more productive, inclusive, and environmentally sound agri-food system. We are dedicated to ensuring food and nutrition security for a better future. With projects in 50 countries and 1,500 staff, we collaborate with hundreds of partners and are part of the global network of CGIAR research centers, delivering science for a food-secure future. For more information, visit

Join CIMMYT as our Chief Operations Officer (COO) and Help Shape Tomorrow's Solutions Today!

Are you a visionary leader ready to make a significant impact on global agriculture and food security? Do you possess a proven track record in both strategic and operational management, coupled with a passion for sustainable development?

As our new COO you will play a pivotal role in leading CIMMYT's operations into the future. Reporting directly to the Director General, you will serve as a vital member of the senior management team, overseeing critical Enabling Units, including Finance, People and Culture, Knowledge Management and IT, Business Services, and Legal Operations. You will be based at our headquarters in Texcoco, México. Your responsibilities will include:

Contributing to the Integrated Management of the Organization:

  • As a member of the senior management team, co manages the organization by managing execution and day to day operations.
  • Ensure effective execution of organization’s mission and optimal day-to-day operations.
  • Actively contribute to our strategic goals and overall institutional management, with a focus on aligning research and corporate services (enabling units).
  • Analyze developments on the global market and their impact on CIMMYT's strategic direction, keeping the Director General informed of critical matters and advising on follow-up actions.
  • As a member of the senior management team, sees to it that there is adequate information exchange from and to all parts of the organization.
  • Promote CIMMYT's vision, mission, strategy, and objectives as part of senior management.
  • Oversee and manage corporate infrastructure, including improvement plans and new developments.
  • Manages the positioning of CIMMYT within the CGIAR, ensuring cross-learning and integration of the effective and beneficial service offers while ensuring accountability and quality for the institution and compliance with CGIAR standards and global best practices.
  • Fully represents the institution internally and externally at all levels concerning overall excellence in operations and acts as the source of expert functional referral for staff and stakeholders.
  • Accompany CIMMYT’s process to become fit for purpose and support our growth that requires a culture of centralization of standards, policies, frameworks, and quality control with an operational decentralization through transparent processes – online documenting and repositories, etc./approvals and the like that are tight, agile, and well-articulated.

Upscaling our Operational Capacity:

  • Stay informed about global trends and developments, analyzing their consequences for Enabling Units, and advising the Director General on responses.
  • Upgrade and implement policies, internal controls, accounting standards, and procedures at all offices.
  • Establish norms, objectives, and key indicators for the management of the Enabling Units.
  • Supervise the effectiveness and efficiency of Enabling Unit processes and outputs and recommend improvements to the Director General.
  • Review the implications of strategic policy plans on operational and budgetary matters from a long-term perspective, providing alternatives and recommendations to the Director General.
  • Advise the Director General (CEO) on strategic and sensitive policy decisions.
  • Advises the Director General (CEO) and members of the Management Committee on business operations support across all offices worldwide.

Directing the Planning and Performance of Enabling Units:

  • Coordinate the implementation of the Excellence in Operation Component of the 2030 Strategy.
  • Provide operational, tactical, and strategic leadership to the Enabling Units, ensuring good stewardship, values, and accountability.
  • Promote a high-performance culture and continuous improvement across all enabling units while promoting our values, behaviours, daily actions, and expected being.
  • Ensure implementation of Enabling Unit policies.
  • Support the establishment of new offices and ensuring availability of the full scope of operational support.
  • Ensures appropriate Host Country Agreements/Host Agreements and infrastructure/office facilities are in place in coordination with the Regional and Country Representatives.
  • Develop decision-making support documents for the Director General, promoting a high-performance culture and continuous improvement.
  • Develop and execute strategic and scenario planning that considers financial and risk management, projects, and business solutions that improve the business support services to the Institute’s research work.
  • Ensure delivery of user/client-focused solutions based on strategic leadership.

Managing Enabling Units:

  • Ensure that the Enabling Units apply CIMMYT's strategic objectives.
  • Translate strategic objectives into operational objectives.
  • Takes ultimate responsibility for services and products delivered by the Enabling Units.
  • Supervise the production and quality of budgets, long-term plans, agreements, and advise the Director General on setting priorities.
  • Draws up the (long-term) budgets and long-term plans (planning and audit cycle) for the Enabling Units and supervises the financial results of the Units.
  • Draws up, sets conditions, and supervises agreements with the Directors.
  • Supervises the realization of the agreements and sets priorities in consultation with the Directors.
  • Initiate and stimulate the development of new policies and guide their execution.
  • Directs projects and conducts periodic performance assessments.


As our ideal candidate, you will possess the following qualifications and skills:

  • An academic degree in business administration, public administration, business economics, or a similar field.
  • Relevant work experience of at least ten years, including at least five years in a comparable executive position.
  • Demonstrated leadership experience.
  • A strong understanding of organizational and change processes.
  • Extensive knowledge of and experience in project management and project administration.
  • In-depth business and business economics knowledge and experience.
  • Experience in working in an international environment.
  • Strong negotiation skills.
  • A good command of English and Spanish (preferable).
  • Demonstrated analytical ability.
  • Strong communication skills.
  • Responsibility and involvement.
  • Ability to manage stressful situations.
  • Decisiveness.
  • Integrity and reliability.
  • Accuracy, structure, and detail-orientation.
  • A hands-on mentality.
  • A people-oriented approach.
  • You exhibit the following competencies: Strategic Impact, Operational Efficiency, People management, Networking and Communication, and Individual Impact.

Ready to Join Us?

Qualified candidates are encouraged to apply using the following link. The application deadline is November 3rd, 2023. Applications should include a motivational letter, a CV, and relevant documentation of qualifications and experiences. Incomplete applications will not be taken into consideration. For further information on the selection process, please contact Mr. Sebastian Volkers, principal consultant at Volkers Remarkable Talent, Please note that only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

CIMMYT is an equal opportunity employer. It fosters a multicultural work environment that values gender equality, teamwork, and respect for diversity. Female candidates are encouraged to apply.


  • The opportunity to have an impact on people’s lives and achieve positive change on a global scale.
  • A collaborative and diverse work environment that values gender equality, teamwork, and respect for diversity.
  • The position is for an initial fixed term of three (3) years, after which further employment is subject to performance assessment and continued availability of funds.
  • CIMMYT’s internationally competitive salary and benefits include housing allowance, available car, comprehensive health and life insurance benefits, children’s education allowance, paid vacation, annual home travel airfare, participation in and contribution to a retirement plan, and generous assistance with relocation costs.

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