Chief Operations Officer (COO)

Company Africa Health Research Institute
Reference # DUR/COO/001/2017/NOV
Published 08/01/2018
Contract Type Contract
12 Months
Salary Market Related
Location Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

The Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) is one of the leading health research institutes on the continent with a complement of over 500 researchers and support staff who work at its Durban and Somkhele research campuses. Collectively the different AHRI campuses have approximately 20 years of research experience in KwaZulu-Natal. AHRI’s academic partners are the University College London and the University of KwaZulu-Natal while its principal funders are the Wellcome Trust, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Department of Science and Technology. AHRI’s current annual turnover is R350M.

AHRI’s next COO will be a professionally qualified executive who has a proven successful track record in operational leadership. On appointment of the COO there will be a restructuring of portfolios to suit the skills and competence of the senior executives.

Job Functions Academic,Advisory,Facilities & Property Manager,Finance,Human Resources,Information Technology,Management,Operations,Research,Safety & Security,Science
Industries Ngo / Non-Profit,Research

The COO will:

Be likely to have strategic and operational responsibility for Operational Finances, Facilities Management, HR, Communication, Safety and Security, IT Services and other support services of the Institute.

Be responsible for all operations in compliance with goals, policies and objectives, established by the Chief Executive Officer and the Board of Directors, which are aligned with national statutes and ethical research standards.

Direct, coordinate and administer all aspects of the Institute’s operations or subsidiary operations through subordinates.
Develop corporate policies with fellow executives who serve on AHRI’s Executive Committee which encompass all, or some areas, of the Institute’s operations.

Develop, implement and monitor world class management systems within AHRI, to ensure a safe, efficient and sustainable institute which provides an enabling research environment.
Participate at the highest governance level – the AHRI Board of Directors.


1. Degree (Postgraduate qualification preferable)
2. Professional registration in the candidate’s principal professional discipline
3. Additional professional registration or post-graduate studies in management, leadership or administration.


1. At least 10 years of operational leadership at the executive level.
2. Proven track record of managing a large and diverse workforce
3. Proven track record of overseeing annual departmental budgets in excess of R100M


1. Must be able to engage confidently at all levels internationally, nationally and at an executive level
2. Must be an energetic, creative thinker and extremely personable
3. A sensitivity to the multiple environments, scientific goals, and diversity of workforce
4. Ability to engage with a wide variety of stakeholders
6. Ability to plan and organise work and meet deadlines
7. Must be a self-starter, driving and assertive
8. Must be influential, approachable, dynamic, persuasive and a networker
9. Demonstrate high level of strategic and creative thinking
10. Ability to manage complex situations, competing operational priorities and ambiguity
11. Has level IT skills relevant to the COO professional discipline and operational management
12. Ability to present a strategic and operational vision to national & international audiences
13. Knowledge of South African Labour, Safety and Information legislation
14. Conflict resolution skills as well as confidentiality, tact and discretion when dealing with people


Experience in a high-level research environment will be an added advantage, or
considerable experience in a corporate or industrial environment with potential to move into research

Understanding of the national and international research environment

Proven leadership experience and ability to manage a diverse range of support departments


AHRI is fully compliant with South African labour law and is committed to employment equity. This position is open to applicants who are South African citizens or South African permanent residents.

AHRI reserves the right in special circumstances to accept late applications or to extend the above date to facilitate further searches. Furthermore, AHRI reserves the right not to make an appointment. Please consider your application unsuccessful if you have not been contacted within 4 weeks of the closing date.

Job Closing Date 28/02/2018
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Last Updated: 12 hours ago [18.02.01]