MSF USA Executive Director M/F

Médecins Sans Frontières
  • Location
    Paris, France
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career / Advanced
  • Apply by
  • Posted
    Jan 08

Position description

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international independent medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural and man-made disasters, and exclusion from health care in more than 70 countries.

MSF medical teams often witness violence, atrocities, and neglect in the course of their work, much of which occurs in places that rarely receive international attention. At times, MSF may speak out publicly in an effort to bring a forgotten crisis into view, alert the public to abuses occurring beyond the headlines, criticize the inadequacies of the aid system, challenge the diversion of humanitarian aid for political interests, or denounce policies that restrict access to medical care or essential medicines.


Under the oversight of the Board of Directors, the Executive Director ("ED") is responsible for leading MSF-USA in accomplishing its social mission of significantly participating in, and contributing to, the effective provision of medical humanitarian assistance to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural or man-made disasters, or exclusion from health care.

Essential Functions and Responsibilities

Leadership and management of the US office: The ED is responsible for ensuring the effective, efficient, and ethical management of MSF-USA. This includes financial and human resources, as well as developing and upholding the credibility and reputation of MSF's medical humanitarian work and the name/logo in the United States. The ED leads and manages an organization with approximately 200 full-time staff, with an annual budget of more than $375 million. As the head of the New York office, the ED is responsible for fostering and maintaining a dynamic, collegial, and respectful work environment.

The ED heads the Executive Department, composed of the Director of Internal Operations, the Director of Internal Control and Risk, the Board-Executive Liaison Officer, and Executive Assistant. The ED also directly supervises the Directors of six departments, Programs; Medical; Operations; Communications; Development; and Field Human Resources. The Director of Internal Operations supervises departments of Domestic Human Resources; Finance & Administration; Internal Control & Risk; Systems: Office Services; and eHealth.

The directors of Internal Operations; Programs; Medical; Operations; Communications; Field Human Resources, Domestic Human Resources; and Fundraising make up the Management Team (MT), of which the ED is the chair.

Organizational Leadership: The ED promotes a culture of high performance and professional development that values refining employee skill sets, learning and ensuring timely and appropriate training for MSF-USA staff.

The ED establishes and monitors staff performance and development goals of her/his direct reports and oversees the performance evaluation framework of the broader office. S/he assigns accountabilities, sets objectives, establishes priorities, conducts annual performance appraisals, and administers salary adjustments. 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: S/he is a champion of promoting and is responsible for ensuring an inclusive workplace that values the diversity of its staff and volunteers through equitable engagement, management, and development at all levels. The ED will work with the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Council to ensure progress is assured and that dialogue at the highest executive level is open and supportive of DEI initiatives and programs. 

Risk Management: The ED, in close collaboration with her/his team responds to, identifies and monitors business risks and ensures that mitigation measures are discussed and incorporated in the respective departments' annual plans. The ED provides guidance to the Board and Executive Liaison Officer on sensitive trademark infringement cases, when necessary.

Operational Partnership: the ED leads MSF-USA's participation in the 'operational partnership' with MSF-France, Japan and Australia which includes shared responsibility and oversight for the development of strategic plans, implementation and critical review of joint operational projects; the provision of medical and other support to operations; the mobilization and management of appropriate human and financial resources.

Fundraising: the ED oversees and has significant/direct involvement in fundraising with a wide spectrum of donors (major donors, foundation and corporate donors, and other individual donors) and support MSF USA's emphasis on unrestricted giving and increasing funding to support MSF's operational capacity and independence.

Public Representation, Communication and Advocacy: the ED oversees and plays an active role in the definition and implementation of public communication and advocacy actions in the United States, to support operations and raise public awareness and understanding of medical humanitarian issues. The ED regularly serves as a spokesperson for MSF to the US media, and represents MSF to the US government, policy makers, academic institutions and other NGOs in the United States. The ED represents MSF's work to donors, through mailings and other means of communications, as well as in-person. The ED is also actively engaged with other international humanitarian agencies in the US and participates and helps shaping high-level humanitarian policies and strategies.

International Engagement: The ED leads MSF-USA's participation in the ongoing development of an efficient, effective, interdependent and accountable MSF international movement. The importance of MSF-USA's role within the international movement dictates that the ED spends considerable time and effort on issues related to MSF's success as a broader coordinated and mutually accountable international movement.

The ED is a member of the Executive Directors' Committee, (Full ExCom) a platform on which s/he interacts with other EDs from other MSF sections. On this body, s/he participates in the definition of policies and strategies to uphold and advance MSF's social mission; makes joint decisions on strategic issues; takes on delegated responsibilities on behalf of MSF-USA; and ensures the implementation of International Board directives. S/he can also serve on ad hoc assignments to other MSF international working groups, special projects, or platforms. The ED also promotes the participation of MSF-USA on relevant international platforms and ensures that the US section's perspectives, capabilities and insights are offered to the movement.

The ED is accountable to and reports regularly to MSF-USA's Board of Directors. S/he works closely with the MSF-USA President and other Officers of the US Board and its' committees. The ED presents multi-year strategic orientations and their periodic review to the Board for approval. S/he also works with the chairs of the Board of Advisors and appropriate staff to identify prospective members.



Humanitarian expertise, passion: A minimum of eight years of directly relevant work experience at a high-level within a humanitarian organization. Passionate belief in and commitment to humanitarianism and MSF's unique and critical positioning and principles within the sector and society at large.

Leadership: Proven strategic and crisis management experience with a track record in leadership and demonstrated management/team development skills and ability to make time sensitive decisions in unstable and volatile humanitarian contexts. Demonstrated capacity to develop programs, establish priorities and allocate resources among those priorities, delegate authority to achieve multiple operating and strategic goals and achieve results. Ability to critically analyze humanitarian issues with a broad vision and critical sense of the future of humanitarian organizations.

Management style: Ability to foster a creative, professional, collegial, inclusive management culture, to empower managers and staff members to fulfill their potential and to encourage staff to challenge assumptions, and to prioritize teamwork where appropriate. Strong interpersonal skills including the ability to respond effectively to sensitive inquiries/complaints.

Communication skills: Excellent written and oral communication skills in highly varied situations. Ability to write and make speeches and articles that establish the messages and correct tone for the organization, internally and externally. Ability to effectively analyze, synthesize, and present complex or controversial information in a clear and convincing manner. Presence, experience, and maturity to meet with key contacts within and outside the humanitarian community: NGO leaders, high level government officials, key media figures, researchers, activists, individual donors, senior corporate executives, and directors of major foundations.

Multicultural experience: Experience with and demonstrated ability to manage a multicultural staff and foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment.

Board relations: serve as the link between the MSF-USA Board of Directors and the Management Team and MSF-USA staff. The ED is responsible for reflecting and communicating the recommendations of the MT and the views of the office to the Board.

Financial, budget, and analytical skills: Experience with fiscal and budget management in an organization of comparable size and complexity. Proven successful experience involving planning, analyzing, and negotiating along with financial skills and the business acumen necessary to support, expand and improve the performance of the organization.

Education: Master's Degree in health administration, public health, international affairs, business administration, public administration or related area, or equivalent combination of education and experience.

Travel and work environment: Ability to travel extensively within the United States, to Europe, and serve in the field for several weeks at a time, often on short notice. Ability to sustain high energy over the long term and to work independently in a rapidly changing, high-pressure environment under tight deadlines.


  • Experience with board relations and development with an emphasis on recruitment, training, organization and motivation.
  • Proficiency in French and other foreign languages is a plus.
  • Prior experience of working with a US 501(c) 3 non-profit organization is a plus. 

The appointed candidate will be offered a salary that is commensurate with their experience and the

seniority of their new role.

Application instructions

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