Director, Agricultural Development

Director, Agricultural Development

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Seattle, WA or London

Reporting to the President of the Foundation’s Global Growth & Opportunity Division, the Director Agricultural Development is responsible for refining and further developing the global agricultural development strategy in the following 9 key areas:

  • Enabling country systems in Africa by supporting partners in the public and private sectors across several African countries that are committed to transforming smallholder agriculture into a sustainable, inclusive foundation of economic opportunity.
  • Enabling country systems in Asia by supporting efforts in key areas of Asia to develop diversified farming and food systems that improve access to affordable, nutritious food and strengthen market opportunities for smallholder producers.
  • Seed systems and varietal improvement by supporting public-sector crop breeding programs in Africa and Asia, which have developed considerable insights into the needs and preferences of local farmers, processors, and consumers
  • Crop discovery and translational sciences by investing in crop research, with the goal of providing new advances that farmers can use to sustainably increase their productivity.
  • Nutritional foods systems by supporting local and national efforts to develop food systems anchored by smallholder producers that can sustainably deliver safe, affordable, and nutritious food year-round to low-income people
  • Global policy and advocacy by working to ensure that public- and private-sector agricultural development efforts in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are supported by targeted resources from donors and are aligned with the goals of global institutions such as the World Bank.
  • Livestock investments to support smallholder livestock keepers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia in their efforts to sustainably raise healthy, productive animals.
  • Digital farming services and platforms that offer new options to help smallholder farmers leapfrog many of the barriers to sustainably raising productivity and increasing their incomes.
  • Women’s empowerment, as the agricultural investments play an important role in the foundation’s broader effort to empower women and girls with economic opportunities.

The Director Agricultural Development will perform the following key responsibilities:

  • Clarify the appropriate catalytic role for the Foundation in Agricultural Development and identify relevant public/private funding mechanisms, as well as new national/regional business partnerships, and coordinate the securing of large-scale, multi-partner and multi-stakeholder projects and programs in agriculture.
  • Represent the Foundation and its overall agricultural strategy as senior spokesperson at key conferences, workshops and media events and build relationships with senior figures within donors, foundations, private sector, and governments to build awareness and strengthen the brand and public profile of the Foundation and its programs.
  • Develop and obtain approval for Agricultural Development’s long-term and medium-term strategy that capitalizes upon the organization’s current expertise and paves the way for new donor- and/or private sector-funded projects and programs.
  • Oversee investments (grants, contracts and/or program-related investments) to execute activities to support strategic goals. This includes soliciting and reviewing proposals and providing recommendations for funding.
  • Build a strong team by selecting and developing key management and upgrading country representatives.
  • Lead, manage, motivate, and develop staff in Agricultural Development and ensure they have clear objectives and accountabilities against which individual and team performance is assessed on a regular basis. Introduce appropriate reward programs, including compensation, benefits, and incentives.
  • Play a key role in driving the Foundation’s thrust on agricultural systems and climate resilience.
  • Develop metrics to assess the impact the upstream work is having on the ground.
  • Explore synergies with other foundation initiatives in areas like health, nutrition, and financial services for the poor to achieve complementary outcomes in target geographies through program collaboration and integration.

Candidate Profile

BMGF seeks a highly regarded, articulate, and visionary leader, with a track record of exceptional results working in agricultural production’s crop sector, ideally with experience in the livestock sector. The successful candidate will have a strong executive presence, results orientation, and will be a business-builder motivated by the opportunity to accelerate Agriculture Development’s growth. A strategic thinker, persuasive communicator, and effective manager, this individual will be the global face of Agriculture at the Foundation. The ideal candidate will have the following experience, skills, knowledge, and personal characteristics:

Experience/Education

  • An advanced degree or equivalent work experience relevant to agriculture such as agronomy, agribusiness, agricultural economics, or a closely related field.
  • Thought Leader who is curious, is well read and has a strong business and economic acumen.
  • Knowledge of issues and trends in agriculture. A clear vision and understanding of the role that science and policy can play in improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.
  • 15+ years’ experience in roles of increasing executive responsibility, including at Board level, in the food and agriculture sectors. Has lead development and implementation of large-scale, multi-stakeholder programs and projects, preferably with both public and private organizations.
  • Track record of international success in public or private organizations, ideally including private sector experience within a commercial function, as well as with fundraising activities.
  • Broad global network, including familiarity with relevant private and public national, regional, and global institutions.
  • Deep understanding of crop-livestock farming systems outside of the US, particularly in Africa and other emerging markets.
  • Experience of climate adaptation and change.

Skills/Personal Characteristics

  • Strategic thinker with solid perspective on markets and economics, who embraces the importance of a clear vision and focused mission with measurable outcomes.
  • Experienced Leader/Coach who can attract, retain, and motivate high-caliber talent, connect with staff at all levels, and foster an inclusive culture of results-orientation, collaboration, and mutual respect.
  • Experience in roles requiring collaboration in complex internal and external organizations, as well as a demonstrated ability to work with efficiency and diplomacy.
  • Analytical, data-driven mind-set, with a problem-solving mentality.
  • Culturally sensitive and comfortable interacting at very senior levels with a diverse range of international public and private stakeholders.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills. Experienced in making formal, persuasive presentations to diverse internal and external stakeholders from across the globe.
  • Ability to tolerate ambiguity and uncertainty in a fluid organization.
  • Sound judgment, unquestionable integrity, and mental toughness. High emotional intelligence, political discernment, and sensitivity.
  • Willing to travel up to 30%, Covid situation permitting.

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EuroJobsites is a registered company number: 4694396 VAT number: GB 880 9055 04

Registered address: EuroJobsites Ltd, Unit 8, Kingsmill Business Park, Kingston Upon Thames, London, KT1 3GZ, United Kingdom

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