Job TitleManaging Director - SAEON
Experience10 to 15 years
SalaryR1600000 to R2000000
Job Published21 December 2021
Job Reference No.1953510232
My client is currently looking for an African Female Managing Director based or willing to relacate in Pretoria.
The South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON), an evolving Research Facility of the Foundation is focussed on impactful long-term ecological research (LTER) by generating reliable data and information for
decision-making in response to experienced and predicted environmental changes.
An entity of the Department of Science & Innovation (DSI), invites applications from suitably qualified and motivated
individuals for the position of Managing Director of SAEON. We are seeking a visionary, well-networked systems thinker with
excellent leadership & managerial skills. A research-based doctorate with Environmental Science, Ecosystems and/or Earth
Science/Systems relevance must be complemented by 10 years as an Environmental/Earth/Ecosystems scientist/science manager in
South Africa and a demonstrable record of scholarly accomplishment. Applicants must have at least 5 years experience in senior
general science leadership and management of a large entity inclusive of organisational strategy development, financial and
procurement oversight in a public sector context and experience in managing other managers. A qualification in management
sciences and a broad disciplinary involvement across environmental systems will strengthen a candidature.
Organizational Leadership and Positioning
* Lead the development and execution of a fit-for-purpose science agenda for SAEON , coupled to establishment and sustainable
resourcing of Nodes and Research Infrastructures as open access research platforms with strong national collaborations and
* Position SAEON to continue to provide high quality scientific services that enable decision support for government at a local,
provincial and national level as well as by the broader environmental sector
* Ensure that SAEON develops and maintains an ecosystem of information management platforms that will promote scientific
synthesis and decision support for effective environmental stewardship and sustainable development at all levels of society.
* Position SAEON for effective evidence-based science advocacy, science diplomacy and impactful science-policy interlocution
* Promote an Engaged Research approach by SAEON through the co-creation of research agendas and co-generation of
knowledge with the community, where appropriate
* Guide and perform continuous organizational strategy and business model development, implementation and evaluation in the
context of national policies (e.g. the STI White Paper, NDP 2030) and international standards (e.g. SDGs, open access to data)
* Guide, develop and coach the SAEON management team as well as inspire employees to achieve the organization·s strategic
* Be the authentic custodian and champion of organizational culture and values
* Develop and enhance SAEON·s capacity to assume national and international leadership roles within the scope of the organization
* Drive a performance culture within SAEON by continuously monitoring and assessing organizational progress against qualitative and
quantitative targets and troubleshooting internal and external systemic bottlenecks.
* Ensure that SAEON is effectively positioned to drive an impactful Science Engagement programme.
General Operations Management and Administration
* Balance core operations and organizational priorities with the statutory and contractual obligations of delivering to key government
and other stakeholders
* Provide effective stewardship of SAEON·s financial resources in accordance with PFMA requirements and Financial Policies and
* Oversee the Human Resources and Talent Management of employees, , including recruitment, training & development, employee
relations, diversity & inclusion, performance management, and succession planning.
* Ensure that the procurement activities and processes of SAEON are compliant with PPPFA requirements and the procurement
and supply chain policies / procedures
* Take accountability for upholding Safety/Health/Environment and Risk Management processes and standards to ensure efficient and
* Oversee the management of fixed and moveable assets including buildings, land, off-road vehicles, vessels, aircraft and research
equipment in accordance with policies and procedures
* Lead and take accountability for the fulfilment of SAEON·s quarterly, annual and longer term planning and reporting obligations in
accordance with the prescribed cycles and processes.
* Perform all duties and functions in accordance with the position·s Delegation of Authority and the Delegation of Authority
* The individual will function as a member of the executive management team of the National Research Facilities comprised of other
managing directors, as well as operating as part of the extended executive leadership team.
* Serve on Corporate and stakeholder structures as appropriate
* Contribute constructively into corporate and national plans, documents and policies
* Promote efficient and effective data stewardship, knowledge management, reporting and accountability within the organization
* Promote inter-business unit collaborations and partnership to advance innovation, drive organizational transformation, enhance
impact and forge sustainability
* Participate in and/or lead Corporate strategic initiatives, tasks or projects as may be required
* Oversee the implementation of, and compliance with, various Corporate policies as well as statutes and regulations applicable.
Stakeholder relations, communications and organizational reputation building
* Grow the organizational network through collaborative partnerships and strategic initiatives with global and local organizations and
* Develop SAEON·s capacity to deliver a broad range of environmental ecosystem monitoring and research services to address the
environmental management information needs of public and private clients
* Oversee an effective and strategic communications programme including strategic use of social media to enhance the reputation of
* Act as official organizational spokesperson and the key organizational reputation architect and manager
* The appointment will be for a fixed term contract period of five years, with a possibility of extension for a further term subject to
satisfactory performance and continued organizational relevance of the position. Preference will be given to candidates that advance
the employment equity and transformation imperatives.
* We offers a competitive total salary package that includes medical insurance and retirement fund contributions plus additional
benefits such as annual and sick leave.
* A more detailed job description will be made available to interested candidates.
* Further information about SAEON may be found at www.saeon.ac.za.
A research-based doctorate with Environmental Science, Ecosystems and/or Earth Science/Systems relevance
Ten(10) years as an Environmental/Earth/Ecosystems scientist/science manager in South Africa and a demonstrable record of scholarly
accomplishment. Applicants must have at least 5 years experience in senior general science leadership and management of a large entity
inclusive of organisational strategy development, financial and procurement oversight in a public sector context and experience in
managing other managers. A qualification in management sciences and a broad disciplinary involvement across environmental systems
will strengthen a candidature.
Highly skilled in decision-making, strategic thinking, interpersonal, stress and time management, operational management of distributed
environmental research infrastructures, planning/organisation, transformation programmes, coaching and talent management, financial
management, communications and reputation management, risk management, performance management, conflict management, public
speaking, and diversity management.
* Environmental risks such as climate change, biodiversity loss, human environmental damage, and natural resource crises top the list
of global risks identified by the World Economic Forum (2021). Responding to these challenges, the South African Environmental
Observation Network (SAEON), an evolving business unit is focussed on impactful longterm ecological research (LTER) by generating reliable data and information for decision-making in response to experienced and
predicted environmental changes.
* SAEON conducts its work via a central National Office in Pretoria, 6 dedicated research nodes, 1 dedicated data systems node and 3
national environmental research infrastructures namely, the Shallow Marine and Coastal Research Infrastructure (SMCRI), Enhanced
Freshwater and Terrestrial Observation Network (EFTEON) and the South African Polar Research Infrastructure (SAPRI).
* Our observation and research programmes cover both relatively discrete ecosystems and crosscutting themes. Complementary
multi- and transdisciplinary observational approaches are followed and designed to consider systemic responses to drivers of change
including extreme events, to distinguish between natural variability and the often slow but potentially disastrous anthropogenic
directional changes, and to understand how these are intertwined with the socio-economy at multiple scales. Modelling and
mapping based on own and other data provide tools for prediction and decision-making. Through our Open Data System, we
subscribe to the FAIR principles.
* Our income streams from diverse public entities demonstrate a high level of national legitimacy and we are a sought-after partner in
global science programmes. We contribute to the transformation of the National System of Innovation through our Environmental
Science Education Programme at schools, our Graduate Student Network, our postgraduate researchers and by practising
appropriate transformative science and science engagement.
* Organisationally, SAEON aims to achieve mission-effectiveness through scientific, data, policy and transformative contributions,
stakeholder inclusivity, service delivery, human capacity development, workforce diversity, high performance culture, economies of
scale, business process efficiency, compliance with policies and strategies, and public value as the overall return on investment.
SAEON has a staff of 95 that is set to grow by another 40 members over a 3-year period