Director of Operations and Finance

London, England, United Kingdom expand job description ↓


We are looking for a Director of Operations and Finance to oversee all of our campaigns and ensure the campaigns deliver maximum impact and are completed on time and on budget. The Director of Operations and Finance is also responsible for overseeing DMI’s finances. We are looking for an exceptional candidate to fill this key, senior role. It's unlikely that one individual will have all the skills and experience required: we are open to candidates from the private sector with a background in operations, finance or consultancy, or from senior executives within the NGO or media sectors.

DMI delivers mass media campaigns to promote health in developing countries. It is the first organisation to scientifically prove that mass media can change life-saving behaviours. It recently completed a 5-year, £7m randomised controlled trial in West Africa which showed that 35% more children were taken for treatment for malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia. Child mortality was reduced by 7.5% as a result. DMI is ranked as one of the most cost-effective non-profit organisations in the world by GiveWell.

DMI currently has operations in four countries (Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Tanzania and DR Congo) as well as projects coming on-stream in Malawi, Guinea and the Ivory Coast. We have two priorities: to continue to generate ground-breaking research (we are conducting another major scientific trial to measure our impact on contraceptive uptake) while taking proven strategies to the largest possible scale, saving as many lives as possible. We work across the range of health issues, including child survival, reproductive health, nutrition and hygiene and we’re developing some exciting new ideas, including early childhood development.

We are an innovative and rapidly growing organisation, working at the nexus between science and creativity. There are 14 staff in our London office, overlooking the Regents Canal. What makes us distinctive is our intellectual rigour, enthusiasm and willingness to learn from both our successes and our mistakes. We believe we are on the cutting edge of how international development should work, showing – for example - not only that knowledge is a human right, but that it’s also a very efficient way of saving lives. Our ethos is non-hierarchical: all our staff are intellectually high-powered and it’s a “best idea wins” culture. By working at DMI you will have a genuine, measurable impact on improving lives in low-income countries.

Candidates are strongly advised to attend a presentation about DMI on 29 March or 4 April at 6.30pm. Candidates will get a brief presentation about DMI and they will have the opportunity to ask the CEO questions about the role. Please email to register for one of these evenings.

The closing date for applications is 5pm Sunday 9 April 2017. First round interviews are expected to take place on 19/20 April with second round interviews on 25 April.

Main Duties

The responsibilities of the role include:

  • To lead on the detailed planning and coordination of DMI projects and activities. To supervise and coordinate the activities of all Country Directors, ensuring that all projects are delivered to agreed standards, timescales and budgets; briefing the CEO regularly on progress, and drawing his attention to any concerns.
  • To manage the finances of DMI (both its non-profit and profit-making arms), and to oversee the management of country budgets, ensuring the most effective use of resources.
  • To contribute to strategic planning and decision making. The Director of Operations and Finance will be a key member of DMI’s Senior Management Team.
  • To develop a thorough understanding of DMI’s methodologies and objectives, the project’s objectives, the scientific aspects of our work, and to develop ideas on how our efforts to save lives can be further maximised.
  • To set up projects in new countries, including activity and timeline planning, finalising contracts with funders, NGO registration, office set-up, recruitment of key personnel, opening bank accounts, procurement of vehicles/equipment; and to oversee any scale up or down of country programmes.
  • To oversee all operational, HR, legal and financial issues related to DMI’s work. To ensure effective management of project offices and that finance and administrative functions are carried out in line with DMI policy and local regulatory requirements.
  • To be the key contact for project funders on ongoing projects. The Director of Operations and Finance will ensure that the formal requirements of our funders and governments are met and that these relationships are managed successfully.
  • To maintain and implement DMI’s policies and procedures with particular focus on security, insurance and HR. DMI operates in a number of politically unstable locations and the Director of Operations and Finance must ensure that there is a focus on security and safety throughout DMI’s work.
  • To assist the CEO and Country Directors in the recruitment and management of international staff. The Director of Operations and Finance is the line manager for Country Directors.
  • To manage operations, finance and administrative staff in the DMI London office.
  • To oversee DMI’s systems for financial monitoring and accountability for all expenditures in the UK and overseas. The Director of Operations and Finance will also ensure the year-end financial accounts and audit process is completed satisfactorily and on time.
  • To ensure that DMI complies with all relevant UK tax legislation and that returns are submitted on time; ensure that financial records are maintained as required by Companies House and HMRC.
  • To act as Company Secretary, ensuring that board meetings are scheduled, and drafting agenda and minutes; to arrange the quarterly Finance and Audit Committee meeting and oversee the preparation of all documents for FAC and board meetings, draft agenda and minutes.
  • To ensure that knowledge management systems are used effectively throughout DMI, and that electronic filing and IT systems are deployed for maximum effectiveness.
  • Assisting DMI with any other tasks as required


Essential knowledge, skills and experience

  • Very strong intellectual ability, as evidenced by a good degree or similar qualifications and performance at interview. Both the media and scientific elements of DMI’s work are intellectually demanding. While a science background is not required, the applicant must be able to demonstrate that s/he is capable of leading projects that have a scientific basis.
  • Substantial managerial experience. The candidate must have run an organisation, department or projects involving 20+ people, and projects that are either very large (multi-£ million) or very complex. Proven ability to deliver complex projects with success, while adhering to deadlines and budget. Experience of managing staff remotely and the difficulties that this may raise.
  • A good problem solver who takes the initiative in identifying problems and then suggests solutions to those problems.
  • Experience of recruiting staff and developing teams from scratch.
  • Experience of developing strategies for managing complex pieces of work from scratch.
  • An ability to cope with, and understand, the pressures of working under pressure in a development context, and an appreciation of the issues and difficulties involved.
  • Significant experience in the management of budgets of a large and complex nature. Ability to understand accounts, and supervise the project’s budget effectively.
  • Strong diplomatic skills. Evidence of ability to manage effective collaboration both internally and externally.
  • Strong management skills – the individual must be able to work effectively with a large, cross-cultural team.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English. Much of our work is done long-distance, by email or telephone, and the highest-level communication skills are essential.
  • A good understanding of the applications of mass media; a common-sense understanding of what media strategies will work, and what won’t work, in a developing country context.
  • An understanding of public health issues. While the applicant is not expected to have a public health background they will be expected to demonstrate at interview an ability to grasp the public health issues that relate to this project.
  • Experience of writing formal reports/proposals for clients and/or donors.
  • High capacity for work, resilient and good-humoured under pressure, good at working as part of a team.
  • Adaptability and willingness to learn. These projects are unusual and complex and no candidate will have all the skills required, and it will take several months to get fully up to speed.
  • Ability to present financial information and make it understandable for non-finance people.
  • Excellent IT skills with experience of operating computer-based financial management systems (DMI uses QuickBooks). Competent to advanced level in Microsoft Excel.
  • An eye for detail and a concern for accuracy, together with the ability to keep sight of the broad picture.
  • Permission to live and work in the UK.

Desirable knowledge, skills and experience

  • Language ability in French and/or Portuguese, both written and spoken.
  • Fully qualified accountant (with ACA, ACCA, CIMA, CA or equivalent), MBA or Finance Masters with at least 3 years post-qualification experience.
  • Experience of living or working in a developing country.


  • Salary of £70,000 to £75,000 depending on experience, plus 5% pension contribution.
  • 25 days of annual leave per year, excluding UK bank holidays.
  • Good work-life balance, friendly and dynamic colleagues, and a beautiful canalside office in Hackney!

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