Chief Operations Officer (Africa Focused)

Multi-National SME Finance & Development




REPORTS TO: Chief Executive Officer


TOTAL STAFF RESPONSIBILITY: 80 People based in 7 African countries. The aim is to grow this to 20 African countries.


FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: US$250 million (funds under management), US$40 million (annual disbursements). Funds under management to increase US$1 billion over next 5-7 years.



Assume responsibility for:

  • Expanding a successful business in Africa
  • Planning, developing and implementing operations strategy for operational management and development so as to meet the Strategic Management
  • Plan within agreed budgets and timescales Establishing and maintaining appropriate systems for measuring necessary aspects of operational management and development
  • Monitoring, measuring and reporting on operational issues, opportunities and development plans and achievements within agreed formats and timescales
  • Managing and developing direct reporting staff
  • Managing and controlling departmental expenditure within agreed budgets
  • Liaising with other managers so as to understand all necessary aspects and needs of operational development, and to ensure they are fully informed of operational objectives, purposes and achievements
  • Contributing to the evaluation and development of operational strategy and performance in co-operation with the executive team
  • Ensuring activities meet with and integrate with organisational requirements for quality management, health and safety, legal stipulations, environmental policies and general duty of care
  • Where appropriate, representing the Company to the external market, as well as internally through the application of community relations and marketing activities
  • Developing new business strategies to enhance market share and improve overall performance
  • Expanding the company's outreach activities and referral networks to ensure effective partnerships are formed


The Company is a global leader and expert in growth finance, with a proven track record of growing successful small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across Africa and the Middle East. It has US$250 million funds under management and employs over 100 staff with growth ambitions of reaching US$1 billion funds under management operating in 20 countries. The company's investor base includes leading international finance institutions.




  • At least 10 years experience in the financial services or commercial sectors, five of which should have been in a hands-on operations management role
  • Experience of growing and building a business, ideally in Africa or in territories with continually changing regulatory environments
  • Should ideally have managed multiple business units
  • Exposure to the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) environment would be advantageous
  • A relevant postgraduate / professional qualification is essential (e.g. Master of Business Administration or Chartered Accountant (South Africa))
  • P&L management, cost control, driving for business results: “entrepreneurship at the local level”
  • Strategic skills to align the local business to Group strategies as well as contributing to the development of these strategies
  • Good ability to implement and execute strategies
  • Good ability to implement and execute strategies
  • Strong commercial acumen and sound knowledge of credit risk and financial management, budgeting and strategic planning
  • The ability to develop and implement formal disciplines, processes and controls across different country operations




Group Strategy

  • Put forward proposals on key strategic issues facing the company; for example market entry, product expansion
  • Communicate and build commitment to implement  strategic direction among internal constituents (management)
  • Translate and deploy the vision, strategy and performance targets for the Africa operations into business plans and performance targets

Operations Management

  • Manage the operations of the company in ways consistent with strategic goals through building and implementing systemic processes 
  • Monitor the progress of the operations against performance targets and organize counter-measures when required
  • Manage the  infrastructure required to support operating units
  • Manage resources, including people and capital across operating units

Corporate Image

  • Develop successful alliances and partnerships
  • Protect and build brand integrity
  • Translate corporate vision and strategy into organizational policies, directives and procedures
  • Ensure implementation and monitor effectiveness of policies, directives and procedures

Budget Accountability:

  • Control the budget for the Africa operations in accordance with the business plan, report on deviations and obtain approval
  • Achieve the annual investment and business development target as cascaded by the board
  • Maintain a healthy balance sheet in the  countries for both the company and the funds under management

Process Management:

  • Assume responsibility for the business plan for the Africa operations
  • Agree on targets and take responsibility for the overall performance objectives for the Africa Operations
  • Agree on targets and take accountability for the overall performance objectives
  • Ensure that core business processes are in place and working effectively Integrate company-wide business processes (core, support, management processes)
  • Ensure effective management processes such as decision making and conflict resolution are in place at all levels
  • Ensure that quality tools and methods are used in managing the local offices

People Management

  • Manage the attraction and retention of a high performance team
  • Manage performance, including staff recognition timeously and effectively
  • Work closely with the General Managers and provide them with leadership and support to develop and grow their businesses
  • Create an empowering environment, encouraging individual ownership and initiative
  • Build and develop a high performance team through embedding performance and coaching
  • Determine and manage training needs analysis and succession plans for all staff
  • Manage resources in the operating units

General Management

  • Ensure that the Countries’ operations are headed by high calibre individuals possessing the correct level of skills, education and experience and ensure optimisation of the organisation's structure, manpower and performance
  • Manage the external environment and enhance the reputation of the company
  • Ensure fund agreements are adhered to Set a vision for the company's in-country business, gaining alignment, maintaining morale and team spirit and focusing on priorities
  • Align local businesses to the Group's strategy, contribute to the development of these strategies, implement and execute the strategies
  • Model the values of the company

Contribution to the Company's Overall Success

  • Actively participate in management meetings Exchange knowledge, implement process and product improvements and other corporate initiatives
  • Establish and maintain effective stakeholder relations Where appropriate, represent the
  • Company to the external market, as well as internally through the application of community relations and marketing activities
  • The position is ideal for an individual who has a forte for building, implementing and managing operations