Managing Director and Executive Vice President for Programs

Ref: 5523

World Resources Institute (WRI)

Any city where a WRI office is located

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Role Managed by:

Cora Hui

Research Associate

t: +1 416 522 8574


Primary Practice Group: Global Non-Profit and Social Impact Practice

Salary & Benefits: Competitive

Closing Date: 04/02/2022

The stakes could not be higher in the coming decisive decade. Not only must we recover from the COVID-19 health pandemic and ensuing economic crisis, we must achieve the vision set out by the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. As such, we are redoubling our efforts, working to address seven critical challenges that the world must overcome this decade to secure a sustainable future for people and the planet: climate change, energy, food, forests, water, sustainable cities, and the ocean.

World Resources Institute (WRI) is a global research organization with a mission to move human society to live in ways that protect Earth’s environment and its capacity to provide for the needs and aspirations of current and future generations. Our vision is global, focused on investments and strategies that create a just transition, creating shared prosperity and equity for people around the world while rapidly decarbonizing the economy to slow climate change. Our work spans more than 50 countries, with 12 offices in Africa, Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and the United States. Our nearly 1600 experts and staff turn big ideas into action.

With a new President & CEO at the helm, WRI is about to develop its next five-year strategy. We recognize the opportunity this offers for strategic alignment and direction across our global network, becoming a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable organization, to invest in our staff, support systems and innovation, and to enhance the productivity of our teams by unlocking and expediting decision-making processes and breaking down silos. Success will demand strong, effective leadership and management. WRI has an extraordinary opportunity to assemble a senior team of proven leaders to guide the development of our next strategy and equip us tackle the challenges ahead in four distinct clusters. Four roles have been created meet our growing organization’s needs.

One of these roles is the Managing Director and Executive Vice President for Programs who will be responsible for ensuring WRI’s programs are future focused, delivering approaches and solutions to ensure WRI remains the most innovative organization tackling climate and development globally. Working across program leadership in our seven areas: cities, climate, energy, food, forests, water, and the Ocean and four centers of excellence: equity, economics, business, and finance, you will enable the collective programs of WRI to have impact greater than the sum of its parts.

Specific responsibilities include:

  • Overseeing WRI’s programmatic work, including the cross-cutting centers of excellence with focus on research and interventions that catalyze the systemic transformations necessary for a just and sustainable transition.
  • Streamlining staffing, resources, and budgets across programs to deliver cross-programmatic solutions.
  • Setting clear, ambitious strategic objectives to lead cross programmatic high-quality research.
  • Providing analytical thought leadership to find practical solutions for action.
  • Driving effective collaboration, resource allocation and decision-making to foster alignment of country program strategies and integration with global challenge areas.
  • Ensuring WRI’s portfolio and research are tightly focused on interventions where we can advance our strategic goals, through robust theories of change such that our research delivers maximum impact, moving the needle and meeting our five-year strategic objectives.

Person specification

This is an exceptional opportunity for a dynamic, experienced, and humble leader, with a strong understanding of the pressing global challenges and human needs associated with economic development, equity, and natural resource protections in the international sphere, committed to research to influence transformative change, who fosters a culture of collaboration, mutual respect, and teamwork.

The successful candidate should bring experience in technical, policy and equity issues related to the environment and economic development, with a track record of quality, credible, ethical and respected work around these issues in various continents of the world and with different governmental, private-sector, NGO, and civil society constituencies.

This leader naturally connects, builds, and maintains strong and trusting relationships with others; demonstrates a high level of personal integrity and emotional intelligence, and the ability to communicate clearly and persuasively; is capable of convening important constituencies, encouraging multiple perspectives and leverages these relationships to accomplish goals of WRI.

You are passionate about outcomes to address urgent global challenges; maintain a clear focus on goals amid multiple demands; and have the capacity to prioritize and delegate effectively in order to deliver results.

Our Managing Director and Executive Vice President for Programs has excellent judgment; is comfortable and determined in setting priorities and overseeing multiple strategies in a highly collaborative environment; and is able to make confident decisions that fairly balance a variety of factors and to navigate confidently in ambiguous or challenging situations.

WRI has a diverse workforce of people who share common values and goals, have a deep understanding of the technical aspects of the issues on which the organization works, and a keen appreciation of the political and cultural contexts that determine how decisions are made. In each of WRI’s programs and in all the countries where it works, WRI’s people forge partnerships with diverse stakeholders to advance shared goals. Because the fight against climate change and racial injustice are inseparable, WRI recognizes the need to engage with people from all races and ethnicities, cultures, socio-economic statuses, and other identities to realize WRI’s vision.