Switzerland: Chief Risk Officer

Organization: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: Switzerland
Closing date: 30 Nov 2017


UNHCR launched its first Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) framework in 2014 based on ISO 31000:2009 international standard, adopting a light-touch approach. The framework was scheduled for a revision in 2017. The organization has managed to put in place a relatively simple risk management process integrated within its existing planning and management processes, conduct and annually update organization-wide risk assessment, capture the results of the assessment in the Corporate Risk Register, create a Strategic Risk Register, design/implement a simple online risk repository and reporting tools. All risk management focal points have been trained on risk management and a basic eLearning on ERM is available to all staff (also shared with IOM and UNICEF). The progress made by the organization in institutionalizing risk management, albeit in a light form, has been acknowledged both internally and externally. At the same time there is a growing realization that the organization needs to shift gear on risk management, responding to the evolution of its operating environment, which is becoming increasingly complex and prone to more risks, both internal and external. The much needed change in the approach has been reflected by the High Commissioner himself at the 2017 ExCom through the launch of the “Targeted Investments in Risk Management” initiative.

The Chief Risk Officer (CRO) is accountable to the Deputy High Commissioner and leads the ERM unit. Under the leadership of the CRO the unit is responsible to (a) implement “Targeted Investments in Risk Management” initiative; (b) re-align the ERM framework of the organization with the objectives of the initiative, informed by the up-coming revision of the ISO 31000 and the management advisory conducted by the internal audit on risk management (c) maintain on-going risk management work streams active while changes take place and take hold.

The incumbent regularly reports and provides advice to the Deputy High Commissioner on all matters relating to ERM. CRO regularly updates the Senior Executive Team and the Senior Management Committee on ERM matters. She/he supports managers and risk management focal points at all levels of the organization to discharge their responsibilities with respect to UNHCR’s ERM framework. On request and as appropriate, the incumbent provides updates on the implementation and functioning of ERM to the Independent Audit and Oversight Committee (IAOC), the Executive Committee (ExCom) and the Board of Auditors. CRO also closely works with internal audit, evaluation service and the office of the Inspector General on issues of mutual focus. The incumbent represents UNHCR in the UN ERM network, speaks with an authoritative voice on ERM matters, and works closely with other key UN agencies to develop ERM best practice and identify opportunities to improve UNHCR’s ERM framework. The incumbent supervises Associate ERM Officer at P-2 level. The core team will expand to include a deployable capacity for supporting field operations. CRO will also oversee and support risk-management capacities placed within select field operations on continuing basis.


  • Graduate degree (equivalent of Master’s) in business administration/management, economics or a related field.

  • Minimum 12 years of progressively responsible experience in risk management or related fields (preferably with certification and in an international environment).

  • Strong leadership skills with significant managerial experience, excellent interpersonal and communication skills.

  • Ability to perform analysis of risk data.

  • Ability to communicate clearly and effectively, both orally and in writing, including the preparation of clear and concise reports.

  • Ability to facilitate workshops with senior participants.

  • Ability to work effectively in English.


  • Experience in designing and conducting training programmes.

  • Knowledge of UNHCR’s objectives, challenges and governance structure.

  • Working experience with humanitarian field operations.

  • Working knowledge of other UN official languages.

  • Knowledge of and working experience with ERM IT applications.

How to apply:


Interested applicants should submit their application online here: http://bit.ly/2yKAHZZ.

To view all international vacancies please go to http://www.unhcr.org/careers.html.

Closing date for receipt of applications: 30 November 2017 (midnight Geneva time)

The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.