Chief of Staff

  • Executive-level, Full-time staff position
  • Posted on 19 July 2019

Job Description

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

Launched in 2000, Gavi is a leading international public-private partnership (PPP) committed to saving children’s lives and protecting people’s health by increasing equitable use of vaccines in lower-income countries. The organisation is seeking to appoint a new Chief of Staff to the CEO. This person will be a critical source of counsel to the senior team and facilitator of its effective operation. S/he will also oversee the risk function.

Since 2000, Gavi has supported developing countries in the immunisation of over 700 million children saving 10 million lives and generating US$150 billion in economic benefits. The Alliance’s work has helped to reduce child mortality related to vaccine preventable diseases by nearly 60% in 68 Gavi supported countries. New life saving vaccines have been scaled up at an unprecedented rate reducing mortality, morbidity and disability. The number of children in Gavi supported countries who miss out on basic immunisation has been reduced by nearly half from 30 million in 2000 to just about 16 million in 2017. This has been achieved despite a 15% increase in the number of children surviving beyond 12 months in Gavi supported countries since 2000. In 2017 alone, 65 million children were immunised with Gavi supported vaccines. To build upon this progress and take full advantage of the opportunities of 2016-2020, the organisation exceeded its replenishment target at the Gavi replenishment conference in January 2015 and secured $7.54 billion in donor pledges. This will enable the Alliance to fulfil its goal of immunizing more than 300 million additional children, and save 5 to 6 million deaths in the current strategic period of 2016-2020. With as many as 20 countries transitioning out of Gavi’s financial support in this period, however, ensuring that programmes are sustainable in the long-term is essential.

Gavi’s business model combines excellence from both the private and public sectors and a commitment to running a lean organisation that makes a measurable impact upon global health, including the long-term strengthening of health systems. Gavi builds on public sector expertise in health and development, with the acumen of private sector individuals and organisations. The Alliance brings together developed country donors, implementing governments, civil society organisations, research and technical institutes, and vaccine producers with the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, and the World Bank, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), private philanthropists and international financiers to find ways to fund and support immunisation in the world’s poorest countries and advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Making the reach of immunisation near universal and thus foundational to the new SDG vision of Universal Health Coverage would be a key focus moving forward.

Working as an alliance, Gavi achieves objectives in support of its mission that no single agency or group alone could realise. These include cooperating to accelerate access to underused and new vaccines; innovative performance-based financing and programming approaches to international development aid; strengthening national health and immunisation systems; and introducing innovative immunisation technology. By pooling demand for vaccines from the world’s poorest countries, securing long-term funding and shaping vaccine markets, Gavi are accelerating access to life-saving vaccines in the countries that need them the most.

The Board has recently approved a strategy for the 2021-2025 period. It prioritises reaching people in currently under-served countries. By 2025, it will have broadened Gavi’s scope to include at least 18 infectious diseases. It will strengthen health systems to increase equity in immunisation. It will improve the sustainability of immunisation programmes with support for domestic resource mobilisation. It will also continue to broaden its market-shaping work.

2020 will be an important year for Gavi, with its next replenishment pledging conference being hosted by the UK.

For more information on Gavi, please visit their website at:

The Gavi Governance Structure

Originally hosted by UNICEF at its launch in 2000, Gavi became a Swiss foundation in 2009 and has been granted international institution status in Switzerland with special privileges and immunities. The reorganised governance structure combines attributes of public sector and corporate governance systems. The board, comprising 28 members from governments, partner organisations, civil society organisations and the private sector, is chaired by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Finance Minister of Nigeria.

Note - UNICEF, WHO and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation hold permanent seats, while representatives of other Gavi Partners serve on a time-limited basis.

More information on the Gavi governing board’s function and composition can be found here:

The Gavi Secretariat

The Secretariat is a knowledge-based global strategic health/development partnership comprised of approximately 280 staff. It is responsible for managing the operations of the Gavi business, including

strategy and policy development; advocacy and resource mobilisation; programme delivery, incorporating programme monitoring and evaluation; approving and disbursing funds; collaboration and coordination with other global health agencies; legal and financial management; and support and administration of the Gavi Board and Committees. Offices are located in Geneva and Washington DC. The Secretariat is led by the CEO, Dr Seth Berkley, and supported by the Deputy CEO, Anuradha Gupta, and several teams.

More information on the secretariat, as well as the full organogram, can be found here:

The Role

The Chief of Staff to the Chief Executive of Gavi is a critical and fascinating role. This is an opportunity to work at the heart of the world’s most innovative funder of vaccination and immunization, as it implements an exciting new strategy. The Chief of Staff provides strategic support to Seth Berkley, the CEO. S/he ensures seamless coordination within the executive office of Gavi, and between it and the wider senior team. The Chief of Staff also oversees Gavi’s risk function and leadership engagement with external stakeholders.

Main Duties and Responsibilities
  • Timely, efficient, effective, high quality and strategic support to CEO, including handling politically sensitive and confidential matters and information with discretion and maturity;
  • Developing strong and mutually supportive working relationships and collaboration with all teams within the secretariat;
  • Ensuring accurate, strategic, evidence-based, and high-quality communications by the CEO to the Board, at external engagements, and other important forums;
  • Assure alignment between CEO and Deputy CEO and seamless coordination within the Executive Office to enhance the leadership of both CEO and Deputy CEO;
  • Ensuring that the Executive Office remains efficient, agile and congenial imbued with a strong team spirit, lean processes and effective knowledge/information sharing and management;
  • Building trusting relationships with Alliance partners and other key constituency representatives and ensuring CEO and Deputy CEO’s strategic dialogue and engagement with them;
  • Planning strategic leadership engagement for board chair, CEO and Deputy CEO including country visits and participation at important global and regional forums;
  • Overseeing Gavi’s Risk function and ensuring board confidence in Gavi’s risk assurance ability and approaches remains high;
  • Delivering on special projects/ duties internally and externally as may be assigned from time to time;
  • Additionally, the Chief of Staff is the line supervisor for Head of Risk and staff supporting the CEO. S/he also manages the budget of Executive Office.


The position will be based in Geneva, Switzerland.

Candidate Profile

Academic Qualifications

  • Advanced university degree in social sciences, health, international relations, business or related fields;
  • Health and development background an asset as would be familiarity with GAVI’s work.

Candidates for the role will possess the following experience:

  • At least 15 years of experience with a successful track record of working with complex and sensitive issues in a mature and solutions-oriented manner;
  • Solid experience of interacting with high level government officials, Corporate CEOs and intergovernmental bodies that require high degree of political astuteness;
  • Demonstrated ability to work behind the scenes with discretion and in a supportive role;
  • Demonstrated operational skills, emotional intelligence and superior judgement in evaluating opportunities and risks;
  • Robust experience in the development of strategic and policy directions and design;
  • Experience working in an international cross-cultural environment: experience in the development field, global health and immunisation desirable; scientific literacy would also be desirable;
  • Experience working in an environment that is politically sensitive and highly visible.


  • Gavi operates in an English language environment, consequently fluency in spoken and written English is essential;
  • A second language is desirable, preferably French (as Gavi operates in the French speaking region of Switzerland).

The Chief of Staff will be a person of unimpeachable personal integrity, and will demonstrate the key competencies and behaviours identified below:

  • High level influencing and negotiating skills, and the capacity to build effective relationships with a wide range of stakeholders in a complex global partnership environment;
  • Excellent writing and communication skills;
  • Outstanding judgment, political astuteness and ability to be discrete;
  • Exceptional hands-on management style and the ability to address and resolve issues efficiently, and deliver results;
  • Flexibility and ability to work both independently and collaboratively with high emotional intelligence;
  • Superior relationship management, excellent organizational skills, ability to multitask and attention to detail;
  • Rigorous analytical skills and ability to process and synthesize complex information and data exceedingly quickly along with ability to think outside the box;
  • Competence with digital tools and ability to work quickly and accurately with them;
  • Experience and enthusiasm for working in a fast-paced and constantly changing environment;
  • A positive, can-do attitude and a sense of humour;
  • Willingness to travel (approx. 20-30%) and work under bursts of high pressure.
How to Apply

To apply, please send a full CV together with a supporting statement, briefly highlighting your experience and skills against the requirements of the role, to Please quote the role title and assignment code P1906-115L in the subject heading of the email. All applications will be acknowledged.

The closing date for applications is 11 August 2019.

For an informal discussion about the position, please contact a member of the Russell Reynolds team at

GAVI is committed to diversity within its workforce and encourages applications from all qualified candidates.


Henry Scarlett

Simon Kingston

Russell Reynolds Associates

Russell Reynolds Associates

Almack House, 28 King Street

Almack House, 28 King Street





United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Direct: +44-20-7198-1858

Direct: +44-20-7830-8089

Gabbi Comet

Russell Reynolds Associates

Almack House, 28 King Street



United Kingdom

Direct: +44-20-7198-1823

About the Organization

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is a public-private partnership committed to saving children's lives and protecting people's health by increasing equitable use of vaccines in lower-income countries. The Vaccine Alliance brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry, technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private sector partners. Gavi uses innovative finance mechanisms, including co-financing by recipient countries, to secure sustainable funding and adequate supply of quality vaccines. Since 2000, Gavi has contributed to the immunisation of nearly 700 million children and the prevention of more than 10 million future deaths.

More information

FINAL JD - Chief of Staff.pdf

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