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Chief Operating Officer - London

Reference   (Please mention Stopdodo/Environment Jobs in your application)
Sectors Sustainability, Climate, CSR, EMS
Location England (London & Greater) - UK
Type Fixed Term and Permanent Roles
Status Full Time
Level Board & Executives
Deadline 05/09/2014
Company Name ClientEarth
Contact Name
Website Further Details / Applications
ClientEarth logo
Directory Entry : Environmental Jobs with ClientEarth. We work to protect the environment through advocacy, litigation and research. We use the best scientific and policy analysis when choosing strategic directions. Our legal action, whether in advocacy or in cases before courts and administrative bodies, is built on solid law and science.
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IMPORTANT:  This Advertiser has requested that applicants MUST be National Residents / Valid Work Permit-holders.  Other applicants need not apply.


Chief Operating Officer - London


The Chief Operating Officer (COO) will report to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). While the CEO focuses on high level strategy, fundraising and profile raising, the COO will be responsible for the day to day running of ClientEarth. The COO will support and complement the CEO such that the CEO is free to concentrate on his remit, leaving the management and operational issues facing ClientEarth on a daily basis to the COO. The COO will have operational responsibility for all aspects of the organisation and will be required to implement the requisite processes to ensure that the organisation is functioning smoothly and effectively. At this juncture, the direct reports of the COO will be the Director of Programmes, the Director of Finance, the Director of Development, Human Resources and Communications.  The organisational structure may be subject to revision after the COO has the opportunity to assess this structure and then work with the Senior Management Team (SMT) and the Trustees to finalise the roles and responsibilities and reporting lines for ClientEarth which will yield the best output for the organisation.

The COO will assist the CEO with delivering the vision, mission and values of ClientEarth and ensuring they are consistently applied across the organisation. The COO will facilitate the CEO's interactions with the Trustees and the COO will act for the CEO (externally and internally) as requested and/or required. The CEO will be outward facing and the COO will be inward facing as a general rule, but the COO will need to have the flexibility to be the face of ClientEarth when appropriate and will need to be able to ascertain when this is required in the absence of specific instructions. The COO must be a leader who is comfortable with answering to the CEO and working within the parameters defined by the CEO, with the understanding that such parameters may be refined and adjusted over time as the organisation continues to grow and adapts to new strategic directions, increased funding and other significant developments.

The COO's responsibilities will go beyond a traditional operations focused COO role in that the COO will be the right hand of the CEO and will ensure that the directives of the CEO and the Trustees are followed. In cooperation with the SMT, the COO will enable  the CEO to perform his essential functions and facilitate any decisions taken by the CEO. The essential functions reserved for the CEO with input from the Trustees are: high level strategic decision making; the strategic and operational aspects of any proposed expansion of existing programmes and the creation of new programmes (i.e., geographic or substantive changes which would need to be considered by the Director of Programmes, the SMT, the COO and the CEO and then approved by the Trustees); fundraising initiatives; new business development; and profile raising communications efforts, as well as any other area of the organisation which requires leadership by and input from the CEO. The COO will need to be adaptable and open as he/she endeavours to create a role which balances the strengths of the CEO. The CEO will grant final decision making power to the COO in certain areas to be discussed and agreed by the CEO and the COO, with any needed guidance from the Trustees.


The COO will have the skills, sensitivity and personal confidence to tap into the attributes that each member of the team brings to ClientEarth. The COO must be a problem solver and decision maker. While it is crucial that the COO bring efficient and effective systems to the organisation to increase the productivity and to ensure the stability and general well being of the staff, it is also essential that the COO enables ClientEarth to retain its energy, creativity, flexibility, boldness and spark which drives the organisation forward.


ClientEarth is a public interest environmental law group founded in 2007. ClientEarth brings together law, science and policy to create practical solutions to key environmental challenges. Working in partnership with civil society and policy makers, ClientEarth is committed to securing the rights of citizens and civil society to participation, information and justice in environmental matters. In Europe and beyond, ClientEarth’s 60 strong staff includes legal experts qualified in more than nine jurisdictions based in offices in London, Brussels and Warsaw. Our programmes cover biodiversity and ecosystems, climate and energy, and health and environment.

Key responsibilities

Strategy, Vision and Leadership

  • Develop and oversee the necessary management systems, processes and approaches to achieve the long and short term strategic goals of the organisation;
  • Contribute generally to the development of organisational strategy, priorities and

direction setting, individually and through participation in the SMT and/or the Extended Management Team (EMT);

  • Provide effective and inspiring leadership by being actively involved at each level of the organisation and by developing a broad knowledge of all programmes, departments and functions;
  • Work in partnership with the CEO, Trustees and SMT to create the 5 year strategic plan and yearly plans and refine such plans over time as needed;
  • Build good relationships with Trustees and seek their input and support for strategic plans and other Trustee level decisions;
  • Ensure that Trustees are able to meet their legal and statutory governance duties and responsibilities, including their effective oversight of the financial health of the charity and their engagement in managing risk;
  • Cultivate the values of Client Earth within the organisation with the support of Human Resources to: ensure staff members have training and development opportunities, clear performance goals and timely appraisals handled in a consistent manner; ensure ClientEarth promotes a culture of ambition and achievement while maintaining manageable workloads and healthy work life balance, with the right working environment, facilities, equipment and information to support this; provide for all staff a strong leadership presence and support an open door policy to resolve any staff concerns that cannot be handled by line managers directly.

Programmes, Departments and Staff

In collaboration with the Director of Finance, the Director of Development, the Director of Programmes and Human Resources:

  • Line management and supervision of direct reports;
  • Support department heads in the development of their team strategies to ensure effective operational alignment of strategies and planning of programmatic and functional activities;
  • Provide a strong and supportive day to day leadership presence on organisational issues, challenges and priorities for all staff;
  • Promote a culture of high performance and continuous improvement that values learning and a commitment to quality.

Operations and Administration

  • Keep the CEO informed as to what is happening within the organisation, ask for the CEO's input and/or consent as required or needed and create or adapt internal procedures accordingly;
  • Establish and coordinate appropriate communications and decision making mechanisms for regular reporting, information sharing, including communications between and across functions and departments and with the CEO, as appropriate;
  •  Propose and implement any needed re-structuring of the organisation and lines of reporting with appropriate input from Trustees and SMT;
  • Coordinate annual operations plan and budget;
  • Develop and lead performance and management process that measures, monitors and evaluates progress against set goals;
  • Ensure that delivery across all areas of the organisation is supported by effective finance, service and operations teams;
  • Facilitate and strengthen the substantive, organisational and technical connection between the London/Warsaw/Brussels offices;
  • Establish and manage a risk management process for the organisation (i.e. financial, operational, reputational and security risks) with input from the SMT.


  • An advanced degree (law or business is desirable)
  • Fluency in English (essential)
  • Other European languages (desirable)


  • Strategic leadership: planning and coordination (essential)
  • Understanding of financial management and organisational development (essential)
  • Understanding and experience of programme and/or project management (essential)
  • 5 years in senior management roles (desirable)
  • 5 years in leading and managing teams across a number of disciplines (desirable)
  • Experience and/or understanding of workings of Board/Trustees groups (desirable)
  • Experience in and/or understanding of a development or fundraising capacity (desirable)

Skills and Competencies

  • Highly intelligent
  • Outstanding verbal and written communication skills
  • Leader who empowers other leaders
  • Self starter, self disciplined
  • Flexible, imaginative and creative
  • Problem solver and solutions driven
  • Focused in the face of pressure
  • Ability to exercise tact and diplomacy
  • Ability to build and maintain relationships with a wide array of people: junior and senior, for profit and non profit and from diverse backgrounds
  • Team builder
  • Multi tasker and ability to respond to multiple priorities


The salary range starts at £75,000 and will be determined depending on experience

To apply

Please send us your CV and a cover letter explaining your interest in joining ClientEarth and the contribution you believe you could make to the organisation.

Please include ‘COO Position’ in the email subject line, and identify the documents you are sending by including ‘[your name] COO cover letter’ and ‘[your name] CV’ in the file name.

Please address your application to James Thornton, CEO, ClientEarth, The Hothouse, 274 Richmond Road, London E8 3QW or send it by email to jobs@clientearth.org.

Recruitment is open now and you should send your application as soon as possible. Applications close on Friday 5th September at 12 (noon) GMT.   

We will be holding interviews during the week of the 15th and 22nd of September.

Please note that ClientEarth will only consider candidates who have the legal right to work in the EU.

If you have any questions about the roles advertised or recruitment process, please contact Patricia del Rio (pdelrio@clientearth.org).

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