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General Director

MSF works in some of the most challenging areas of the world, helping those in the greatest need. The German Section of MSF, ÄRZTE OHNE GRENZEN e.V., is one of the 24 membership organisations of MSF. It is now recruiting the next General Director, who will play a pivotal role in leading and setting the direction for the German section, but also contributing to the overall strategic development of the MSF movement.

About MSF and MSF-Germany 

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is a private and independent international medical aid organisation. It was founded in 1971 by a group of French doctors and journalists. MSF provides medical aid in more than 70 countries worldwide: whether it is war-wounded people in Yemen, displaced populations in South Sudan or patients with tuberculosis in Central Asia. The projects are targeted especially at people in need who do not have access to sufficient medical treatment or who are barred from aid.

The German Section of MSF, ÄRZTE OHNE GRENZEN e.V., contributes to MSF through human resources, communication and advocacy work, support to field operations and fundraising. In 2018, it raised just over 158.1 million Euros in income and is currently employing more than 200 staff in Germany and contributing with around 300 employees departing to the field every year. MSF Germany has the ambition to continue to grow fundraising income and raise its in-country profile while playing a key role in MSF’s humanitarian responses worldwide. 

About the Role

Within MSF-Germany, the General Director is:

  • responsible for strategically steering and developing MSF-G as an organisation, whilst ensuring high contribution of the organisation to the medical humanitarian work of MSF. 
  • the official representative and spokesperson of MSF-G together with the President of the Board.
  • directly reporting and accountable to the Board (and via them, to the association).
  • responsible for leading the German Management Team (MT) consisting of four Heads of Department (Finance & IT, Communications, Fundraising and HR) and the Operations Manager.
  • responsible for the internal management of the GD department, such as the Heads of the Berlin Advocacy and Medical Units, as well as the Head of the MSF Moscow branch office.
  • a member of the Management Team of the Operational Center Amsterdam (OCA) and, as such, accountable to the OCA Council for field operations in OCA and representing MSF-G on the international platform of all General Directors.

Purpose of the Role

Three major trends will affect the work of MSF-Germany in the next 6-8 years. The General Director will provide overall leadership in these areas of impact (Wirkbereiche):

1. MSF in Germany, contexts and actors:

The changing political and public context in Germany, Europe and the world necessitates MSF-Germany to act in an environment increasingly shaped by counter-humanitarian narratives. Climate change will have an increasingly stronger impact on MSF’s humanitarian efforts. Germany has increased its importance as a foreign and global health policy actor and a humanitarian donor.

2. MSF movement and Operational Centre Amsterdam (MSF OCA):

Within the MSF Operations Centre Amsterdam (MSF-OCA), MSF-Germany, MSF-Holland and MSF-UK share ownership and responsibility for operations of field missions. This includes that operational units of OCA and specific functions serving OCA are based in the German office. The complexity of MSF as a movement is high and continuously increasing. It will be crucial to shape MSF in light of its growth, organisational agendas and changes in the operating environment. MSF-G would like to see a more equal distribution of power within the MSF movement, its structures and platforms and toward less duplication. This ongoing organisational development takes place whilst maintaining the organisation’s humanitarian values. 

3. Develop MSF-Germany as an organisation to be fit for the future:

The changing German supporter and labour market strongly affects how MSF-G needs to function as one organisation. The way MSF-G interacts and collaborates internally and externally requires the constant adaptation and development of structures, processes and working culture, as well as upholding of the values and principles. 

Main Responsibilities


  • Leading the organisation to ensure its strong performance is based on the MSF principles and strategic directions.
  • Taking the lead in formulating the necessary vision and strategy together with the Management Team for approval by the Board, and ensure a productive working relationship with the Board.
  • Leading, enabling & coaching members of the MT and Heads of Departments.
  • Leading the continuous development of an inclusive organisational and leadership culture, which respects and values the diversity of all MSF-G employees and members. 
  • Adapting the organisational structure to changing needs and fostering mutual understanding and ownership of goals amongst all staff and departments. 
  • Promoting staff awareness and understanding of the MSF social mission and foster debate about major issues affecting the movement.
  • Contributing to efficiency, synergy and effectiveness discourse for sustainable management of financial, human, and other resources. Overall responsibility for the financial management and budget control. 

Operational Centre Amsterdam (OCA) & International Contributions

  • Representing MSF-G within the international movement, working towards a more equal power distribution within MSF movement and efficient structures. 
  • Participating in the strategic leadership and management of the OCA as part of the OCA MT.
  • Ensuring that MSF Germany makes relevant and timely contributions to the work of the OCA based on agreed strategies and resource allocations. 
  • Contributing to the positioning of the MSF movement with respect to the climate crisis, and assessing and reducing MSF’s environmental footprint. 
  • Developing links to other MSF sections as appropriate in order to contribute to improving the quality of operations and the overall performance of the MSF movement. 
  • Primarily through the Berlin Medical Unit, maintain strong executive links with the Operational Centre Geneva marked by a spirit of cooperation. 
  • Realising the potential of the MSF Moscow branch office.

External Representation and Communication

  • Acting as an MSF-G media spokesperson and maintaining a high level of brand awareness and the good image of MSF in Germany. 
  • Ensuring that MSF is known and recognised as the foremost international medical humanitarian organisation among key stakeholders in Germany such as government, parliament, other humanitarian actors, other NGOs and the media.
  • Leading humanitarian discussions in the public and political environment.
  • Advocating for and communicating on MSF priority topics agreed internationally and in Germany
  • Representing MSF-G in relevant meetings and/or events on the political and diplomatic level.

Skills and Experience

  • International & field experience: Ten years’ experience in international humanitarian aid or development context, including experience working in the field. 
  • Internal leadership: Track record in leading, enabling & coaching staff members at senior level – as well as empowering, delegating and bringing people across departments together as a team.
  • (Change) Management: Solid understanding of the mechanisms and processes relevant to organisations, such as human resources and finance leadership. Ability to lead organisational development to be fit for the future. 
  • Strategy: Demonstrated ability to translate a holistic vision into a meaningful and implementable strategy. Ability to guide/oversee strategic decision-making for core priorities of the organisation with international reach. 
  • External leadership, networking & negotiation: Track record in fostering, influencing and negotiating (diplomacy) with a wide range of actors, including governance bodies and international partners. 
  • Representing, communicating & negotiation: Demonstrated public speaking and representation skills with media, governmental institutions & the public. Essential: fluent in German and English. 
  • Ability and willingness to quickly learn about the medical dimension of MSF work.