Head of Cabinet - Director General’s Office

1. Position information

Vacancy No.: VN18-38
Grade: A5
Job Ref. No.: STF-C/18-38
Department: Director General’s Office
Section: n/a
Reports to: Director General
Closing Date: 13 November 2018

2. About 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 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.

For further information on ECMWF’s annual report 2017, please visit the following link: https://www.ecmwf.int/search/site/2017%20annual%20report

For ECMWF’s Strategy, which sets the Centre’s direction of travel until 2025, please visit the following link: https://www.ecmwf.int/en/about/what-we-do/strategy

For information on official ECMWF collaboration agreements, please visit the following link: https://www.ecmwf.int/en/about/who-we-are/official-documents 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: https://www.ecmwf.int/

3. Summary of the role

The Head of Cabinet reports to the Director General and is a key member of the Director General’s Office. S/he will support the Director General in the coordination of the Centre’s strategy and its implementation in cooperation with selected partners.

S/he will assist the Director General in high-level interactions with Member States and strategic partners and will oversee the direction of strategic communications in collaboration with the ECMWF Communications teams. The successful candidate will also support the DG in making strategic decisions and will coordinate high-level projects and assignments.

4. Main duties and key responsibilities

The key responsibilities of the Head of Cabinet include:

  • Supporting the DG in matters related to ECMWF governance and coordination of committees and facilitating the effective interaction of the Senior Management Team Ensuring that preparations are carried out, and that all inputs required for meetings and events attended by the DG are available in a timely manner
  • Facilitating effective decision-making by collecting complex data, analysing it and providing recommendations on policy matters
  • Producing strategic analysis on a range of complex issues, including carrying out research and relevant studies on specific topics related to strategy, policy and others as required and preparing briefing papers on findings
  • Coordinating and managing strategic relationships with Member and Co-operating States,
  • European and International organisations (WMO, EU, EUMETSAT, ESA, EUMETNET, NOAA, CMA, GEO...) and other major stakeholders on behalf of and in close cooperation with the DG and the Senior Management Team
  • Coordinating and managing high-level visits and events and ensuring adequate briefings, preparation and follow-up of outcomes
  • Overseeing the direction of strategic communications in collaboration with the ECMWF Communications teams
  • Coordinating ad-hoc special high-level projects as assigned by the DG
  • Representing the organisation in internal and external meetings as required

5. Personal attributes

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Ability to quickly build trust and credibility
  • Strong planning and organising skills
  • Ability to prioritise and to work under pressure. High energy style, flexible and adaptive, with the ability to work well in a very fast paced environment
  • Initiative, willingness to take the lead and to take ownership of issues
  • Ability to work strategically and collaboratively across departments
  • Proven track record of effectively interacting with senior management
  • Ability to build relationships and to influence without formal position power, proficient with complex and sophisticated negotiations
  • Ability to analyse complex information, synthesise it, identify implications and provide clear recommendations, attention to detail
  • Interest to work in a highly international and multi-cultural environment
  • Willingness to travel frequently

6. Qualifications and experience required


  • An advanced university degree with relevance to international policy, management, meteorology or Earth sciences, or equivalent.


  • Substantial experience in the management of international and national policy matters and cooperation in the field of meteorology or Earth Sciences.
  • Considerable demonstrated experience acquired in a relevant organisation, preferably an international organisation.
  • Experience of successful negotiations.
  • Exposure to and experience of external communication.
  • Capacity for intellectual and managerial leadership.

Knowledge and skills (including language)

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

7. Other information

Grade remuneration

The successful candidate will be recruited at the A5 grade, according to the scales of the Coordinated Organisations and the annual basic salary will be £96,690.60 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 allowances are available on the ECMWF website at www.ecmwf.int/en/about/jobs, including the Centre’s Staff Regulations regarding the terms and conditions of employment.

Starting date: As soon as possible

Length of contract: Four years, with the possibility of a further contract

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

8. How to apply

Please apply by completing the online application form available at www.ecmwf.int/en/about/jobs/.

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.

Staff are usually recruited from among nationals of the following Member States and Co-operating States:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, France, Hungary, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Staff from other countries may be considered in exceptional cases

published: 06 October 2018     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.