MSF-USA Executive Director

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international independent medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural and man-made disasters, and exclusion from health care in more than 60 countries.

MSF medical teams often witness violence, atrocities, and neglect in the course of their work, much of which occurs in places that rarely receive international attention. At times, MSF may speak out publicly in an effort to bring a forgotten crisis into view, alert the public to abuses occurring beyond the headlines, criticize the inadequacies of the aid system, challenge the diversion of humanitarian aid for political interests, or call out policies that restrict access to medical care or essential medicines.


Under the oversight of the Board of Directors, the Executive Director (“ED”) is responsible for leading MSF-USA in accomplishing its social mission of significantly participating in, and contributing to, the effective provision of medical humanitarian assistance to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural or man-made disasters, or exclusion from health care.

Essential Functions and Responsibilities:

Leadership and management of the US office: The ED is responsible for ensuring the effective, efficient, and ethical management of MSF-USA. This includes financial and human resources, as well as developing and upholding the credibility and reputation of MSF’s medical humanitarian work and the name/logo in the United States. The ED leads and manages an organization with a current staff of 100, and an annual budget of over $200 million.  As the head of the New York office, the ED is responsible for fostering and maintaining a dynamic, collegial and respectful work environment. The ED supervises the Directors of five departments, Communications; Development; Field Human Resources; Domestic Human Resources, Finance & Administration; as well as a Program Support team composed of medical, operational and Advocacy staff. Leaders of these groups make up the Management Team (MT) (with the exception of advocacy) of which the ED is the chair.

Operational Partnership: the ED leads MSF-USA’s participation in the ‘operational partnership’ with MSF-France, Japan and Australia which includes shared responsibility and oversight for the development, implementation and critical review of joint operational projects; the provision of medical and other support to operations; the mobilization and management of appropriate human and financial resources. The ED also serves as co-supervisor of the Directors of Communication and Operations within the operational center.

Fund Raising: the ED oversees and has significant/direct involvement in fund-raising with a wide spectrum of donors (major donors, foundation and corporate donors, and other individual donors) and with an emphasis on unrestricted giving and increasing funding to support MSF’s operational independence and flexibility.

Public Representation, Communication and Advocacy:  the ED oversees and plays an active role in the definition and implementation of public communication and advocacy actions in the United States, to support operations and raise public awareness and understanding of medical humanitarian issues. The ED regularly serves as a spokesperson for MSF to the US media, and represents MSF to the US government, policy makers, academic institutions and other NGOs in the United States. The ED represents MSF’s work to donors, through mailings and other means of communications, as well as in-person. The ED is also actively engaged with other international humanitarian agencies in the US and participates and helps shaping humanitarian polices and strategies at international community level.

International Engagement: The ED further leads MSF-USA’s participation, in different areas, in the on-going development of a strongly interdependent and accountable MSF international movement.  The importance of the international movement dictates that the ED spends considerable time and effort on this aspect.

The ED is a member of the Executive Directors platform (ExCom) on which s/he interacts with other EDs from other MSF sections. On this body, s/he participates in the definition of policies and strategies to uphold and advance MSF-USA’s social mission; makes joint decisions on strategic issues; takes on delegated responsibilities on behalf of MSF-USA; and ensures the implementation of International Board directives. S/he can also serve on ad hoc assignments to other MSF international working groups or platforms. The ED also promotes the participation of MSF-USA on relevant international platforms.

The ED is accountable and reports regularly to the Board of Directors and works closely with the President and other Officers of the Board and Board Committees. The ED presents multi-year strategic orientations and their periodic review to the Board for approval. S/he also works with the chairs of the Board of Advisors and appropriate staff to identify prospective members.



  • Humanitarian expertise, passion, education: A minimum of eight years directly relevant work experience in a humanitarian organization, plus Master's Degree in health administration, public health, international affairs, business administration, public administration or related area, or equivalent combination of education and experience. Genuine interest in, and commitment to, the humanitarian principles of MSF.
  • Leadership: Proven strategic and crisis management experience with a track record in leadership and demonstrated management/team development skills and ability to make time sensitive decision in unstable and volatile humanitarian contexts. Demonstrated capacity to develop programs, establish priorities and allocate resources among those priorities, delegate authority to achieve multiple operating and strategic goals and achieve results. Ability to critically analyze humanitarian issues with a broad vision and critical sense of the future of humanitarian organizations.
  • Board relations: serve as the link between the MSF-USA Board of Directors and the Management Team and MSF-USA staff. The ED is responsible for reflecting and communicating the recommendations of the MT and the views of the office to the Board.
  • Financial, budget, and analytical skills: Experience with fiscal and budget management in an organization of comparable size and complexity. Proven successful experience involving planning, analyzing, and negotiating along with financial skills and the business acumen necessary to support, expand and improve the performance of the organization.
  • Communication skills: Excellent written and oral communication skills in highly varied situations.  Ability to write and make speeches and articles that establish the messages and correct tone for the organization, internally and externally. Ability to effectively analyze, synthesize, and present complex or controversial information in a clear and convincing manner. Presence, experience, and maturity to meet with key contacts within and outside the humanitarian community: NGO leaders, high level government officials, key media figures, researchers, activists, individual donors, senior corporate executives, and directors of major foundations.
  • Management style: Ability to foster a creative, professional, collegial, “open door” management culture, to empower managers and staff members to fulfill their potential and to encourage staff to challenge assumptions, and to prioritize teamwork where appropriate. Strong interpersonal skills including the ability to respond effectively to sensitive inquiries/complaints.
  • Travel and work environment: Ability to travel extensively within the United States, to Europe, and serve in the field for several weeks at a time. Ability to sustain high energy over the long term and to work independently in a rapidly changing, high-pressure environment under tight deadlines.
  • Multicultural experience: Experience with and demonstrated ability to manage a multicultural staff and embrace a diverse work environment.


  • Experience with board relations and development with an emphasis on recruitment, training, organization and motivation.
  • Proficiency in French and other foreign languages is a plus.
  • Prior experience of working with a US 501(c) 3 non-profit organization is a plus.

To apply:

Please submit cover letter, resume and three professional references by October 15, 2014 to David Epstein, MSF-USA Director of Domestic Human Resources to (Please indicate “Executive Director” in subject line). No agencies please.