Recruiting for a Global Leadership Team at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

“The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest humanitarian network. Their secretariat supports local Red Cross and Red Crescent action in more than 192 countries. The IFRC acts before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people”. 

The challenge – identifying nine exceptional candidates  

In 2020, SRI Executive was contracted by the IFRC to appoint nine high-calibre leaders, including three Under Secretary Generals and five Regional Directors, in response to internal changes.  

The nine positions we were asked to fill were: 

  1. Under Secretary General - Global Relations, Humanitarian Diplomacy and Digitalization 
  2. Under Secretary General - Management Policy, Strategy and Corporate Services 
  3. Under Secretary General - National Society Development and Operations Coordination 
  4. Director Office of the Secretary General 
  5. Regional Director - Europe 
  6. Regional Director - Asia Pacific 
  7. Regional Director - Americas 
  8. Regional Director - Middle East & North Africa 
  9. Regional Director – Africa 

Our strategy – managing a short timeframe and multiple time-zones 

This project required us to simultaneously fill multiple leadership roles within a six-week period. To ensure a successful result, we established a highly collaborative team of three Senior Consultants, four Research Consultants and five Researchers. They were supported by a Senior Project Manager to co-ordinate the searches. This, together with our implementation of standardised systems and carefully managed documentation, enabled us to conduct a rigorous, transparent and competitive search process. 

Another challenge to this assignment was its wide geographic spread. In response, we utilised our regionally structured sub-teams based in multiple locations across five continents, as well as our network of expert advisors. We worked seamlessly across the globe, gathering intelligence and identifying regional trends. This enabled us to successfully identify candidates for each position. 

Our results – exceeding expectations with an additional 10th candidate appointed 

We filled these essential roles within a very short time period, appointing a diverse and impressive team which IFRC felt were incredibly well placed to guide the organisation into the future. Such was the quality of candidates we provided that IFRC decided to appoint an additional 10th candidate into a newly created role. 


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