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Executive Director

ASPI is an independent, non-partisan think tank that produces expert and timely advice for Australian and global leaders. ASPI generates new ideas for policy makers, allowing them to make better-informed decisions. ASPI is one of the most authoritative and widely quoted contributors to public discussion of strategic policy issues in the Indo-Pacific region and a recognised and authoritative Australian voice in international discussion on strategic, national security, cyber, technology and foreign interference issues.

Since its inception 20 years ago, the institute has developed into one of the leading independent research institutes in Australia. ASPI is unique in the scope of its research, capacity, expertise and ability to independently engage across official and public domains. The institute is recognised nationally and internationally for its significant contributions to important policy debates. As Australia undertakes a new tripartite defence alliance, ASPI’s advice has never been more important to decision makers. ASPI will open its first international office in Washington DC later this year.

ASPI was again ranked as one of the world’s best think tanks in the University of Pennsylvania’s 2020 Global Go To Think Tank Index, which is the gold standard for annual assessments of think tanks’ performance around the world. ASPI featured in many of the notable rankings this year. Ranked at 11th in the Top Defence and National Security category, ASPI is the highest ranked defence and national security think tank in Australia.

ASPI’s Council is looking for a new leader to build on the successes of its first two decades. The next Executive Director will continue to deepen and broaden its research programs and funding sources. They will build strong relations with key stakeholders in government, including foreign governments particularly in the Indo-Pacific region, academia, the Australian military, industry, the media and the wider community.

The role of Executive Director is high profile and complex, leading an independent organisation, under public sector probity, with a broad base of public and private sector and international funders. We are looking for expressions of interest from Senior Executives who have built successful careers across government, defence, international relations and academia or other related fields. You will be highly respected in your field and have shaped the public debate in your area of expertise.

The Executive Director-designate will need to have a strong background in both senior managerial and strategic planning. The main personal attributes judged critical for success, and used to identify a preferred candidate, include:

  • High level conceptual and strategic thinking ability;
  • Sound judgement and integrity;
  • Very strong personal qualities that facilitate contact and engagement with key stakeholders in government, including foreign governments particularly in the Indo-Pacific region, academia, the Australian military, industry, the media and the wider community;
  • Demonstrated ability to strategically leverage relationships and fundraise for the institute;
  • Demonstrated ability to make high level decisions as well as effectively manage resources, team build, lead and motivate;
  • A strong and commanding personal presence, combined with the ability to build relationships and facilitate alliances;
  • Demonstrated ability to set, monitor and revise strategic directions;
  • Demonstrated management skills in a high profile and complex organisation;
  • Demonstrated political awareness with sophisticated diplomatic skills that will enable dealings with senior representatives from domestic and international organisations;
  • A sound capacity for strategically positioning and marketing the institute; and
  • Demonstrated high quality written and verbal communication skills, showing the ability to convey complex ideas to non-specialist audiences.

The institute is determinedly non-partisan, highly collegiate, adaptive and forward-thinking in its style. Applicants will be expected to evidence how you have built a positive and collaborative culture throughout your career.

The successful candidate will have demonstrated excellent academic capacity through the completion of relevant tertiary qualifications.

The role is based in Canberra, with a five-year term and remuneration set by the Remuneration Tribunal. Australian Citizenship is essential.

For a confidential conversation, please contact Philippa Whitehouse (0438 678 833), Daniel Nicholls (0450 948 868) or Claire Crawford (02 9233 1200) from Watermark Search.

Please send an application quoting Ref No 69407 to Watermark Search International. Email: [email protected] We will reply to the email address used for your application.

Closing date: 17 October 2021