Director of Administration - ECMWF


The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) is an independent intergovernmental organisation supported by 34 Member and Co-operating States. The Centre provides its members with world-leading global weather predictions, climate monitoring, air quality forecasts and operates a supercomputer and archive data centre for the benefits of its members and the wider weather and climate communities.

ECMWF was established in 1975 in recognition of the need to pool scientific and technical resources across Europe in order to improve weather forecasts. Based in Reading, Berkshire, 60 km west of London, ECMWF employs about 360 people from over 30 countries. ECMWF’s annual budget of around £100+ million is funded by annual contributions from our member countries and from external contracts. The European Union is a key partner and also provides significant funding for us to deliver climate monitoring and atmospheric composition forecasts on its behalf, in the context of the Copernicus programme. This is achieved by procuring a large component of this activity from other organisations in Europe. A large proportion of our expenditure is linked to our supercomputing facility and we are currently running two Cray XC-40 supercomputers, some of the largest in international rankings.

Our leading position in global numerical weather prediction relies on the advanced computer observation-analysis modelling technique used to predict the weather. Our operational activities and wide-ranging programmes of research and development have played a pioneering role in the remarkable advances made in this field. In over four decades, ECMWF has dramatically improved the accuracy and reliability of its weather forecasts, working in collaboration with scientific and technical organisations in Europe and across the world.

Supercomputing capability plays a key role in ECMWF’s success and in its ability to implement its strategic vision to 2025. To meet the required flexibility for future growth, ECMWF’s data centre is being relocated to Bologna, Italy and will be operational in 2020.

ECMWF is entering a period of significant change with, in addition to the data centre relocation, the development of proposals for its new Headquarters in the Reading area, the negotiation of a new Copernicus Delegation Agreement and the development of new revenue models to support a move towards Cloud Computing.

During this period of considerable change, the new Director of Administration will be responsible for ensuring the continuity and development of key support services, with appropriate funding, within the financial and regulatory framework of the Centre.

For further information on ECMWF’s annual report 2017, please visit the following link:

For ECMWF’s Strategy, which sets the Centre’s direction of travel until 2025, please visit the following link:

The ECMWF strategy sets demanding targets for medium- and long-range numerical weather prediction, including the ability to make skilful ensemble predictions of high-impact weather up to two weeks ahead. It underpins the Centre’s research efforts and guides its programme to adapt the forecasting system to future supercomputer architecture.

ECMWF Director-General Florence Rabier describes the Strategy as giving the Centre a “clear direction and a renewed sense of purpose”. In addition, the Strategy confirms the primacy of an ensemble approach to forecasting and enables the Centre to adequately capture the likelihood of extreme weather, which is essential because of its potentially disastrous consequences.

For additional details, see:

Summary of the Role

The Director of Administration is responsible for the successful leadership and management of the Administration Department. The Administration Department currently employs 40+ international staff and is responsible for the following areas of work:

  • Finance
  • Human Resources
  • Procurement
  • Legal
  • Headquarters premises and related general site services

This involves setting the strategic direction and vision of the services within the department to ensure that these are aligned with and contribute to ECMWF’s overall strategy within the regulatory framework defined by its Convention and the regulations set down by its Council. The Director of Administration plays a key role in advising the Director-General in the area of Administration and in formulating and implementing the strategy for the financial management, human resources, procurements and infrastructure including accommodation.

As an executive management position, the role involves interacting with both internal stakeholders from across the Centre and external stakeholders such as the National Meteorological Services of the Member and Co-operating States, International Organisations (Council of Europe, Eumetsat, ESA, NATO and the OECD), the European Commission and national governments.

The Director of Administration will foster stakeholder cooperation to support ECMWF in obtaining the resources (financial and otherwise) necessary to carry out its mission, ensuring compliance with the ECMWF internal legal framework and related policies, relevant external regulations, and any contractual obligations.

ECMWF operates with an annual budget allocation from our Council, and with external contracts. Finance is of critical importance, both in terms of budget management, accurate accounting in line with relevant standards and demonstrating value for money to its stakeholders. The Director of Administration will provide leadership in these matters as part of the senior management team.

ECMWF’s people are key to the success of ECMWF. The development and evolution of state-of the art HR policies to attract world-class talent, the provision of a high standard of physical work environment and the fostering of an innovative, productive and supportive culture are all critical contributors to this success.

Main duties and key responsibilities

Supported by a department involving over 40 staff, The Director of Administration is responsible for the delivery of all administrative support to the whole organisation. The Director of Administration reports to the Director-General and is a member of the ECMWF Management Board. The Director of Administration is responsible for the overall management of the ECMWF human resources, for the financial, legal, and procurement functions and for the establishment and maintenance of the site infrastructure.

The main duties include:

  • Leading the Administration Department and its allocated resources
  • Formulating human resource policies and their implementation, including assessment of human resource planning, management of social security and pension funds and interactions with the Staff Committee and Coordinated Organisations
  • Ensuring that ECMWF has a financial strategy to secure the resources it needs to fulfil its mission and to implement that strategy through the successful negotiation of the annual budgets and 4-year forecast
  • Managing the implementation of the agreed budget through effective monitoring and reporting of progress against the budget and identifying actions needed to ensure that budget objectives are achieved, establishing annual accounts in compliance with relevant standards (eg
  • IPSAS)
  • Ensuring effective internal control processes are in place to ensure that the resources of ECMWF, including its intellectual property, are protected and that revenues and expenditures are incurred in line with ECMWF’s regulatory framework, including the reporting of financial and other outcomes to the Council and its Committees
  • Ensuring that ECMWF’s legal risks are effectively managed, its Intellectual Property rights preserved and that its activities are carried out in line with its own regulations and other relevant legislation, regulations and contractual obligations
  • Providing legal expertise required for the negotiation of cooperation agreements with third parties, including the European Commission
  • Ensuring that ECMWF’s goods and services are procured equitably and fairly, represent best value for money and are in line with ECMWF’s regulatory framework
  • Managing the headquarters premises in Reading and the planned datacentre premises in Bologna, ensuring that ECMWF has a working environment that is safe and suitable for its needs
  • Managing the legal, financial and control risks associated with ECMWF’s obligations under the Copernicus Delegation Agreement
  • Contributing to the delivery of ECMWF’s overall strategy as a member of the senior management team at ECMWF
  • Building excellent working relationships with members of the ECMWF governing Council and other advisory committees

Personal attributes

  • Leading and deciding, while empowering, motivating and guiding others towards common goals
  • Seeking and promoting excellence and achievement of results
  • Commercially aware with an ability to develop and execute strategies which balance multiple influencing factors
  • Demonstrating excellent communication skills, both verbal and written
  • Highly developed relationship building and negotiation skills
  • Respecting diversity and value others, by promoting equality and opportunity and treating others with fairness, dignity and respect
  • Evidence of leading role in successful change management projects

Qualifications and experience


  • Advanced university degree in a relevant discipline or equivalent professional experience.


  • Substantial number of years of experience of executive management level with responsibility for leading and delivering the strategic outcomes in a politically sensitive and complex environment.
  • Extensive experience in managing a large and diverse team.
  • Experience in working in a scientific/technical, international environment would be highly desirable.

Knowledge and skills (including language)

  • Candidates must be able to work effectively in English and interviews will be conducted in English.
  • Some knowledge of one of the other ECMWF working languages (French or German) would be desirable.
  • A good knowledge of Italian would be an advantage.

Other information

The successful candidate will be recruited at the A6 grade, according to the scales of the Coordinated Organisations and the annual basic salary starts at c£114k per annum net of tax. This position is assigned to the employment category STF-C as defined in the Staff Regulations. Full details of salary scales and allowance are available on the ECMWF website at including the Centre’s Staff Regulations regarding the terms and conditions of employment.

Staff are recruited from among nationals of the Member States and Co-operating States1. At ECMWF, we consider an inclusive environment as key for our success. We are dedicated to ensuring a workplace that embraces diversity and provides equal opportunities for all, without distinction as to race, gender, age, marital status, social status, disability, sexual orientation, religion, personality, ethnicity and culture. We value the benefits derived from a diverse workforce and are committed to having staff that reflect the diversity of the countries that are part of our community, in an environment that nurtures equality and inclusion.

Starting date: As soon as possible.

Length of contract: Five years for the initial contract, with the possibility of renewal.

Location: The position will be based in the Reading area, in Berkshire, United Kingdom.

How to apply

The preferred method of application is online at

If you are unable to apply online, please email your application to

All applications will receive an automated response.

Applicants should accompany their CV with a short statement/cover letter outlining their motivation for applying, and how their skills and experience meet the requirements of this position. Applicants should also include an organisation chart showing their current position within the Senior Executive team of their current employment.

For a detailed discussion about the role or for more information, please contact the retained consultant at Berwick Partners:

Jonathan Clark, Partner
D: + 44 121 654 5926
M: +44 7736 818185

Selection process

Key dates and interview timeline

  • Vacancy notice closing date – midday on 28 September 2018
  • Longlist candidates notified: pre-assessments and interviews with Berwick Partners in London – 4 October - 15 October 2018
  • Psychometric tests co-ordinated by ECMWF – 4 October - 15 October 2018
  • Shortlist candidates notified - 18 October 2018
  • Final stage interviews - 5 & 6 (am) November 2018 in Reading, Berkshire
  • Final approval by ECMWF Council – 4 December 2018

Longlisted candidates will be required to undertake psychometric testing which will be conducted in English.

A board comprising senior directors and external panel members will interview shortlisted candidates.

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published: 30 August 2018     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.