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Deputy Secretary General


About ISO

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a non-governmental international organization and a world leader for the production of global and market-relevant, consensus based standards addressing a broad scope of technologies, industries, management systems, services and related conformity assessment. Its members are the National Standards Bodies of 165 countries. Through its members, it brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market relevant International Standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges.

As a member-based organization, ISO maintains and promotes a collection of some 20,000 International Standards, with a current yearly production of more than 1,500 new or revised standards. ISO is not part of the United Nations Organization, but has multiple collaborations with the UN System, the World Trade Organization and over 700 other international and regional governmental and non- governmental organizations.

ISO’s members play a vital role in how ISO operates, meeting once a year for a General Assembly that decides on the strategic objectives. The Central Secretariat is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and coordinates the system and runs day-to-day operations, overseen by the Secretary-General.

ANSI serves as the U.S. member of ISO.

Job Purpose

The Deputy Secretary General will work in close collaboration with the Secretary General and CEO. The Deputy Secretary General will assist in providing leadership and direction on organizational planning. He-she leads finance, administration, legal, events and facility managements teams and is responsible for the budget of the ISO Central Secretariat. The Deputy Secretary General will handle a wide range of matters of organizational importance and be responsible for the central coordination and activities in the ISO Central Secretariat.

As part of ISO’s leadership team, the Deputy Secretary General will build collaborative relationships with the department heads. He/she will be responsible for overseeing and directing a broad range of high-level projects including the development, coordination and implementation of operation plans and policies to help ensure organizational effectiveness and attainment of strategic priorities consistent with the ISO strategy.

The Deputy Secretary General will report to the Secretary General and CEO. He-she also participates in several ISO’s governing bodies, including the ISO Council. He-she is responsible for ISO’s governance groups on commercial policy (Commercial Policy Advisory Group, CPAG) and finance (Council’s Standing Committee on Finance, CSC/FIN).

Tasks Include:

  • Organizes the different services of the Central Secretariat in accordance with the decisions of the General Assembly and of the Governing Board;
  • Engages with internal and external stakeholders and develops relationships in order to generate a deeper and longer term directional shared understanding of need/opportunity;
  • Supports the Leadership team on developing their innovative, future oriented thinking across the different functions, taking advantage of external intelligence and internal perceptions of needs;
  • Challenges the status quo to drive positive change and to improve ISO’s organizational performance; ensures an effective structure and an efficient functioning of ISO’s Central Secretariat;
  • Is ISO’s lead on finance, administration and budgeting; Provides advise on commercial policies and manages legal and facility management teams;
  • Keeps the Secretary General and CEO closely informed in carrying out his/her function.

Specialized Knowledge and Competency Requirements

The successful candidate should possess minimum of 15 years of experience. Master’s Degree preferred in Business Administration, Public Administration, or in another relevant field. Minimum of 10 years' high-level experience in progressively more responsible administrative roles in supporting a Secretary General/CEO; preferably in an international membership-based environment.

The candidate should have the ability to interact and influence at the most senior levels of an organization and to work collaboratively across functions, levels and departments toward shared objectives. This individual must possess a strong executive presence and be capable of engaging with colleagues to shape, marry and recommend the priorities. He-She is more likely to have general management capabilities than be a functional specialist. He-She should be able to generate innovative strategies or approaches aligned with future trends and developments. The ideal candidate should naturally simplify the complex when they explain initiatives and projects.

Furthermore, this candidate will most likely possess a demonstrated record of successful independent management and administrative projects.

This individual will have high ethical standards and can effectively work with diverse constituencies and possesses exceptional interpersonal skills necessary to manage a multi-faceted operation. The ideal candidate will have strong written and oral communication skills, familiarity with new technologies, organizational skills to promote collaboration and teamwork.

He/she must be fluent in English, and French would be an asset.

In terms of the performance and personal competencies required for the position, we would highlight the following:

Setting Strategy

  • The ability to create and articulate an inspiring vision for the organization, not only for the areas he-she is directly responsible for, but the organization as a whole.
  • The inclination to seek and analyze data from a variety of sources to support decisions and to align others with the organization's overall strategy.
  • An entrepreneurial and creative approach to developing new, innovative ideas that will stretch the organization and push the boundaries within the industry.
  • The ability to effectively balance the desire/need for broad change with an understanding of how much change the organization is capable of handling, to create realistic goals and implementation plans that are achievable and successful.

Executing for Results

  • The ability to set clear and challenging goals while committing the organization to improved performance; tenacious and accountable in driving results.
  • Comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty; the ability to adapt nimbly and lead others through complex situations.
  • A leader who is viewed by others as having a high degree of integrity and forethought in his/her approach to making decisions; the ability to act in a transparent and consistent manner while always taking into account what is best for the organization.

Leading Teams

  • A strong people manager with the ability to motivate the team, delegate effectively, celebrate diversity within the team, and manage performance; widely viewed as a strong developer of others.
  • The ability to persevere in the face of challenges, and exhibit a steadfast resolve and relentless commitment to higher standards, which commands respect from followers.
  • A leader who is self-reflective and aware of his/her own limitations; leads by example and drives the organization's performance with an attitude of continuous improvement by being open to feedback and self-improvement.

Relationships and Influence

  • Naturally connects and builds strong relationships with others, demonstrating strong emotional intelligence and an ability to communicate clearly and persuasively.
  • An ability to inspire trust and followership in others through compelling influence, powerful charisma, passion in his/her beliefs, and active drive.
  • Encourages others to share the spotlight and visibly celebrates and supports the success of the team.
  • Creates a sense of purpose/meaning for the team that generates followership beyond his/her own personality and engages others to the greater purpose for the organization as a whole.

The position is based in Geneva, Switzerland. 

The application deadline is February 12, 2021. The successful candidate would ideally start in mid-2021.


Job information

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Geneva, Switzerland

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Reports to: 
Secretary General and CEO

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Date Posted:


How to apply

Send CV and a supporting statement briefly highlighting relevant experience and skills to Marionne Barge at Russell Reynolds,
Apply Now