Managing Director, Agrotechnology and Food Sciences Group

Ref: 4365

Wageningen University & Research

Wageningen, the Netherlands

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Role Managed by:

Thomas Modder

Research Associate

t: + (31) 2 0240 4379

f: +44 (0) 207 340 6201


Primary Practice Group: Higher Education and Research

Salary & Benefits: competitive

Closing Date: 07/11/2019

Formal Interview Date: Monday 9th and Friday 13th December.

Wageningen University & Research is now looking to appoint a new Managing Director for its Agrotechnology and Food Sciences Group.

Wageningen University and Research (WUR) is recognised worldwide as the leading centre for state-of-the-art knowledge about food and the natural environment. WUR’s integral approach, combining fundamental scientific research at Wageningen University with the market-focus of the Wageningen Research Foundation Institutes, leads to scientific breakthroughs that can quickly be translated into practice and incorporated into education. More than 6,500 employees and 12,000 students together “explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”.

The Agrotechnology and Food Sciences Group (AFSG) is one of the largest of WUR’s five Science Groups. Its four University Science Clusters and the Wageningen Food & Biobased Research Institute conduct worldtop scientific research and collaborate with leading partners in international business and government in the area of nutrition, healthy, tasty, safe and fresh food, environmental technology and biobased products.

Key Responsibilities and Characteristics

The Managing Director holds final responsibility for the strategy and functioning of AFSG in the areas of research, education, business development, marketing, finance, organisational development, personnel, communication and culture within the complex organisation of Wageningen University Research. The Managing Director leads on the development of an inspiring vision for AFSG and creates support for this vision across the Science Group. S/he will promote and ensure a structurally strong scientific position as well as a national and international market orientation for ASFG.

Reporting to the President of the Executive Board, the Managing Director is a member of the Board of Directors/Concern Council. Therefore, the Managing Director is responsible for the Groups contribution to the wider WUR strategy and expected to develop and lead cross-unit initiatives that contribute to strengthening WUR as a whole.

The ideal candidate:

  • is a connector and team player who promotes cooperation and who has a leadership style that is both guiding and coaching;
  • is result-driven and has proven management skills, with experience in administration and management;
  • is open to and responds proactively to change, and can translate this into innovative solutions;
  • has an international network (including government, industry, academia and other social partners) and is expanding this constantly;
  • can link scientific quality and innovation to entrepreneurship, acquisition and customer focus, and has a vision for developing, transferring and adding value to knowledge;
  • is outward-facing and sensitive to the public and politic debate;
  • has an affinity with the scientific domains of AFSG, and preferably a PhD;
  • is receptive, seeks consensus and takes responsibility in resolving issues and stands behind decisions taken;
  • communicates clearly and effectively;
  • recognizes the role of the Works Council (employee participation) in the governance of AFSG and is able to maintain constructive relations with it.

Appointment Process

An executive search exercise is being undertaken by Perrett Laver to assist the Appointment Advisory Committee. Applications should consist of a covering letter addressing motivation and suitability against the person specification and a full curriculum vitae. Perrett Laver may be contacted for informal enquiries and questions about the post on +31 20 2404 379 or Applications can be uploaded at, quoting reference number 4365. The deadline for applications for this position is 9am CET on Thursday the 7th of November 2019.

Wageningen University & Research explicitly strives for diversity in the composition of the workforce, including in senior management. Applications from female and international candidates are therefore actively encouraged.

Applications will be considered by the Appointment Advisory Committee in mid-November. Perrett Laver will conduct preliminary discussions with longlisted candidates, and the Committee will then meet to decide on a shortlist of candidates in early December. These individuals will subsequently be invited for informal sessions and for formal interviews on Monday 9th and Friday 13th December. Selection of and negotiations with the preferred candidate will take place thereafter.

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