Executive Director (Conservation International South Africa)

Conservation International (CI)
Cape Town, South Africa
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
NGO/Civil Society
Experience Level: 
Senior (10+ Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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The Executive Director of Conservation South Africa (CSA) provides the strategic and programmatic direction of the country program, proactively identifying opportunities and trends for the achievement of the institutional goals. They are responsible for senior-level program management and ensuring that program strategies, initiatives and outcomes advance Conservation International's (CI) human development and conservation priorities. Duties are complex and include leading the design, implementation and integration of program strategies throughout the country program and integrated across CI. The Executive Director provides broad programmatic, project, monitoring and technical oversight and continuously engages key internal and external partners critical to program success. They represent CI in the country and have a key role in building alliances, a central focus for CI strategy. The Executive Director ensures that CI’s work is presented effectively to donors and key stakeholders to ensure strategic and sustainable partnerships.
The Executive Director ensures compliance with CI policies, program and funding agreements and local requirements. Additionally, they are responsible for managing the country program and all its component projects, leading the team, raising funds and managing financial and other resources. they will also ensure that the program is integrated with CI’s strategic fundraising and partnership goals and work in collaboration with CI headquarters-based technical and operations units to support the needs of the field programs.
The Executive Director directly manages staff, interdisciplinary teams, and/or outside partners. They work with a high degree of independence and serve as a technical expert in CI’s multidisciplinary approach to conservation. They exercise a high level of creativity and strategic thinking to efficiently manage the country program and build the local capacity within environments that are complex and full of challenges.

  • Reporting to Chairman of the Board of Conservation South Africa and the Senior Vice-President for the Africa Field Division, the Executive Director - Conservation South Africa will be expected to:
  • Develop program strategies, objectives, work plans and metrics.
  • Provide strategic oversight and team leadership to effectively implement program activities and ensure high-impact outputs.
  • Lead and inspire a multidisciplinary team ensuring effective communication, instilling organizational values and behaviors and creating a work environment that attracts, develops and retains talent
  • Lead program alignment and integration with division and CI-wide conservation priorities. Engage CI leadership and other senior staff.
  • Directly oversee and ensure program compliance with CI policies, funding agreements and local requirements.
  • Enable CI to promote national institutional and policy frameworks for development, that favor biodiversity conservation, and to support national capacity for conservation in CI field programs.
  • Continuously cultivate and engage stakeholders including donors, government and NGOs, technical colleagues and other partners critical to program success.
  • Represent CI in South Africa and build alliances with governmental and non-governmental organizations to support CI outcomes, serving as a trusted and visible point of contact for CI.
  • Champion opportunities for program growth and development.
  • Ensure program financial sustainability by setting fundraising strategy, securing program funding and managing financial resources. Regularly partner with CI and HQ staff on funding proposals including coordinating and finalizing the writing of funding documents (proposals & budgets), and regional/global fundraising efforts


  • Directly supervise program and project staff, including overseeing the work of external partners.
  • Manage the program’s budget and finances.
  • Manage public or private funds; ensure compliance with donor requirements and CI policies.


  • Advanced degree in biological, environmental, social science, international development, business or related field with not less than 8 years of work experience in management position in conservation related work
  • Senior-level program or project management experience, preferably in the global conservation, NGO, advocacy or related for-profit arena of not less than 10 years.
  • At least 8 years’ experience supervising others including multi-disciplinary teams.
  • Demonstrated ability to achieve program goals with a high level of creativity and strategic thinking, to efficiently manage, and to build local capacity within extremely complex, challenging environments.
  • Flexible and results-oriented with a high level of resourcefulness to deal with constant changes as a result of local social and economic circumstances
  • Demonstrated ability to manage complex projects or initiatives involving multiple internal and external stakeholders
  • Superb technical and analytical skills.
  • Excellent organization and time management skills.
  • Proven leadership skills and success in effectively inspiring and engaging diverse works groups in a multicultural environment.
  •  Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English. Fluency in any of South Africa’s other official languages is an added advantage
  • A record of success partnering with, and influencing, key stakeholders and successfully raising funds.
  • Proven ability to multitask and meet priorities. Adept at working in a fast-paced environment with changing priorities with limited supervision.


  • Local and international travel of 30% or more, often in difficult travel conditions.
  • Ability to work in remote locations or under difficult working conditions.
  • This position will be based in Cape Town or Johannesburg. South Africa. Applicants will need to have the ability to live and work there without employer sponsorship of relocation costs.


We expect that all employees will embrace the values of our organization.

Passion: We are inspired by nature and cherish the diversity of life in all of its forms.

Respect: We respect and trust each other, and we embrace our diversity of cultures, talents, and experiences.

Integrity: We act with integrity and are accountable for our actions.

Optimism: We are optimistic about the future of life on Earth and are confident that, with our partners, we will achieve unprecedented conservation results.

Courage: We tirelessly pursue our vision, taking bold action and persevering through challenges.

Teamwork: We work together, recognizing that openness, collaboration and cooperation are fundamental to achieving a healthy and prosperous world for all.