Strategy & Operations Director

Geneva, Switzerland
[Closing date: 20 January 


Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is a collaborative, patients’ needs-driven, non-profit drug research and development (R&D) organization that is developing new treatments for Neglected Diseases (

Established in 2003, DNDi is a not-for-profit research and development (R&D) organization that develops new, improved, and affordable medicines for deadly neglected diseases that afflict millions of the world’s poorest people.

DNDi focuses on discovering and developing treatments for sleeping sickness (human African trypanosomiasis), Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, filarial infections, paediatric HIV, mycetoma, and hepatitis C. In 2016, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, DNDi launched the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership, a not-for-profit research and development organization to develop new antibiotic treatments addressing antimicrobial resistance and to promote their responsible use for optimal conservation, while ensuring equitable access for all.

Since its inception, DNDi has developed eight new treatments for neglected patients for malaria, sleeping sickness, visceral leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, and paediatric HIV with several new drug candidates in the R&D pipeline.Our objective is to deliver 16 to 18 new treatments by 2023, ensure equitable access to these treatments, and build a robust pipeline of new drug candidates


Purpose of the position

The Operations and Strategy Director (OSD) ensures coordination needs at the executive level and acts as an enabler for growth and effectiveness across the organization. S/he coordinates DNDi infrastructure and organizational development globally and ensures coherence in the continuum “from vision to impact”. S/he drives strategic planning and risk management efforts and practices. The OSD contributes shaping DNDi model through engineering of innovative partnering schemes. S/he ensures consistency in the management of key partners & suppliers across disease areas, teams and regions while engaging partners together with other senior leaders of the organization to create “value for patients”. The OSD assists the Executive Director to ensure operational excellence and overall compliance. The OSD has direct oversight over the following functions: Strategy and Business development, Finance and Planning, Legal, Human Resources and Organization, Information Systems and Technology. S/he also ensures provides operational guidance to International Development

The Operations and Strategy Director has oversight on a global team of about 70 persons, that are based in Geneva and regional offices (Nairobi, Kinshasa, New Delhi, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, New York, Rio de Janeiro).


Specific job responsibilities

Strategy & evaluation

  • Under the guidance of the Executive Director, lead the strategic review process to develop the next business plan of DNDi to be presented to the Board of directors in 2020
  • Serve as the in-house senior expert for strategy development. Provide methodologies, tools, and guidance to develop specific strategies (disease, regional, functional levels), assess opportunities and strengthen decision-making for priority setting and resource allocation. Manage a team of staff and/or consultants that ensure delivery and ownership by relevant project leaders.
  • Ensure consistency in various planning approaches and coherence in the continuum ‘vision&mission-objectives-strategies-action plans-impacts’
  • Building on existing practices and stakeholder expectations, lead DNDi approach for Measurement & Evaluation. Engaging relevant stakeholders, especially in External Affairs, develop relevant KPIs supporting monitoring of activities, demonstrating effectiveness, impacts and “value for money”. Update and maintain DNDi log-frame and performance framework.
  • Act as lead coordinator for external partner evaluations

Business development and alliance management

  • Drive the implementation, monitoring and update of DNDi partnership framework, in conjunction with key stakeholders. Lead analyses on DNDi value proposition and partnership engagement mechanisms.
  • Develop a network of contacts among relevant stakeholders, including industry, academia, NGOs, and governments, in the endemic countries. Represent DNDi in appropriate events
  • Spearhead alliance management and “key partner management” practices
  • Support the Collaborative Agreement with GARDP and lead potential future strategic “institutional” alliances
  • Together with the two Heads of Business Development in his/her leadership team, collaborate with the directors and heads of the diseases initiatives, R&D department, external affairs and regional offices to elaborate partnering strategies for supporting the development of the portfolio and activities of DNDi. Explore the landscape (public and private sector) for opportunities (compounds, R&D capabilities, technologies other resources) relevant to DNDi’s business plan at global, disease area, and regional levels.

Operational effectiveness and organizational development

  • Is the custodian for the DNDi operating model, ensuring that DNDi develops and applies same principles and processes across the organization, including DNDi international network
  • Oversees DNDi’s management and reporting processes, by adjusting or developing mechanisms to stimulate and facilitate implementation, report on progress made and challenges encountered at each level of the organization (e.g. guidelines and processes, management dashboards, knowledge tools, …)
  • Oversees the departments in charge of the infrastructure of DNDi, including Finance and Planning, Human Resources and Organization, Legal, and Information Systems and Technology. Provides vision, strategic drive, operational coherence, and effectiveness to support the development of the organization and the implementation of the activities.
  • The OSD ensures coherence in the development of systems and ways of working across the organization. With the support of the operations leadership, s/he drives effectiveness of DNDi resources globally.
  • Work closely with Executive Office to ensure consistency of Executive Team agenda, efficacy in decision-making and information flows

Governance, risk management, and compliance

  • With the support of the Head of Legal, the OSD actively contributes to governance management of DNDi as a Swiss Foundation and more broadly to DNDi’s global governance framework. In consultation with the Director of International Development and the Regional Directors/Heads, the OSD ensures coherence of the local set ups with the global organizational model (branches or legal entities, local partners and consultant models, empowerment and control mechanisms…)
  • The OSD attends Board meeting and relevant sub committees of the Board of directors. S/he attends the Audit committee and supervise preparation by the Finance and Planning Director.
  • The OSD is the owner of the risk management process and ensures consistency in the risk management framework across the organization. S/he ensures that DNDi designs and implements an effective risk-based internal control system. S/he conducts regular analysis on DNDi’s major risk areas and supports Executive Team in framing appropriate mitigation strategies. The OSD supports the Executive Director in the risk review with the Board. S/he acts as chief compliance officer for the organization.


Job requirements

Skills and attributes

  • Strategic thinker. Very clear, analytical, and systematic thinking that demonstrates strong judgment and problem solving competencies
  • Excellent ability to use initiative, prioritize and multi-task, deal with ambiguity and work well under pressure to meet deadlines
  • Excellent communication skills in multicultural, multi-lingual environments; ability to convince and represent DNDi at high level events
  • Excellent ability to manage organization wide programmes with budget management
  • Excellent management and negotiation skills
  • Excellent ability to lead and motivate global and multicultural teams for demonstrated performance
  • Adherence to DNDi values and mission
  • Outstanding integrity


  • Minimum 17 years’ experience in relevant fields (Strategy/Business Development/Operations in pharma industry / biotech / innovation and growth contexts), including minimum 5 years in operational/functional leadership role
  • Proven ability to work effectively in a matrix structure, lead, and engage colleagues from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds (private, public, not-for-profit)


  • Exposure to global health challenges and/or social impact ventures and business models
  • Strategy/management consulting combined with operational leadership


  • MBA, Master degree, or Ph.D. in relevant field

Other requirements

  • Fluency in English
  • Proficiency in French and/or local languages desirable
  • Willingness and ability to travel globally
  • Excellent knowledge of Microsoft Suite


Reporting line

  • S/he reports to Executive Director


Other information

  • Status: full time – permanent role


To apply

  • Deadline for application: Accepting applications until 20 January 2019
  • Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted