Chief Operating Officer - Principal Director
Grade on recruitment G15/1
Three posts / Likely to arise
EPO Munich (DE) / The Hague (NL)
The European Patent Office (EPO) – the executive body of the European Patent Organisation – is the second-largest intergovernmental organisation in Europe, with 7 000 staff from over 30 countries. As the patent office for Europe, it supports innovation, competitiveness and economic growth across Europe through a commitment to high-quality and efficient services delivered under the European Patent Convention. The EPO has a self–financed annual budget of more than EUR 2bn, mainly funded by user fees, and manages a reserve fund of almost EUR 7bn for pensions and other social security liabilities.
A hugely successful organisation for over 30 years, the EPO has recently implemented a number of key reforms to strengthen its position in the patent world and improve its sustainability for the future.
For more information about the technical fields in which we currently have vacancies, please click the apply link below.
Each COO will be responsible for between 1 300 and 1 800 staff and for managing and overseeing the operational activities of the relevant principal directorate.
The COOs will be part of EPO senior management and will play a key role in the implementation of EPO strategy. They will take operational responsibility for the entire end-to-end patent grant process in their principal directorate, including substantive and formalities activities, and will ensure the quantity, quality and timeliness of the different products delivered.
Each of the COOs will report direct to the President. In turn, they will have as direct reports a principal director, who will act as a deputy, and around 25 directors in charge of directorates composed of 60 or more patent examiners and several support staff located in Munich, The Hague and Berlin (depending on the technical area).
The three main principal directorates are integrated into the Directorate General covering the entire patent grant process, including quality management and user relations, directed and co-ordinated by a Vice-President.
- Implementing the EPO's quality and efficiency strategy in the relevant principal directorate in DG Operations
- Setting comprehensive goals to drive performance and growth in an effective and efficient manner, exemplifying the values and principles of the EPO through conduct, integrity and due care
- Delivering the expected output in terms of quantity and quality for his/her area, with full accountability for the performance, quality and results of the principal directorate
- Creating and maintaining efficient organisational structures and optimal resource management within the principal directorate
- Maximising performance by managing staff, efficiency and other HR aspects within the principal directorate; taking decisions/providing guidance to managers on complex managerial situations, including calibration and harmonisation of career and reporting
- Harmonising working practices and workflows within the principal directorate; addressing issues with impact beyond own principal directorate
- Promoting professionalism, creating a motivating environment, and ensuring a safe, secure and healthy work place
- Advising EPO senior management on matters relating to the patent grant process
- Communicating with EPO senior management (President/Management Advisory Committee) and staff
- Participating in internal and external negotiations; representing the EPO in meetings with external stakeholders, promoting EPO policy and interests where necessary
- Performing any other tasks as assigned by the President
The broad range of activities requires a thorough understanding of IP and patents and the EPO's institutional context, political priorities and strategic direction. The position also requires substantial management experience and special leadership qualities to guide and motivate the managers and staff being supervised.
The EPO is therefore seeking experienced senior managers, highly committed to the missions and goals of the EPO, to help achieve the EPO's strategic and operational objectives. The ideal candidates will have:
- proven experience of leading large-scale production units with a track record of delivering successful results
- proven ability and extensive experience to address the challenges faced by large organisations in the design and implementation of operational strategies aligned with business needs
- managed a large organisational unit in a responsible position in the national or international public or private sector
- excellent analytical skills, the capacity to identify key points, develop and generate strategic goals and translate them into practical proposals for action
- substantial experience in planning and managing large budgets and human resources (large teams)
- proven background and practical experience in leading, driving and implementing organisational change, including project management and quality control of deliverables
The ideal candidates will also have
- the capacity to network, establish and sustain partnerships with a large variety of stakeholders (senior management, other departments, patent system users, external consultants, auditors, international organisations, statutory bodies and committees, etc.) and subject-matter experts to deliver collaborative and successful outcomes on complex issues
- an action- and solution-oriented approach, excellent project-management skills, be familiar with working in an international and multicultural environment and have a real sense of the collective interest
- a working knowledge of continuous improvement tools and principles
- relevant professional qualifications/certificates will be considered as an asset
- a demonstrated ability to deal with strategic issues
- sound knowledge, preferably acquired in an international environment, of the internal workings of large corporations and/or public-sector organisations
- an understanding of public service missions and constraints
- intercultural understanding and sensitivity and excellent communication skills
- a willingness to travel
It would be an advantage to have exercised effective leadership in strategy, policymaking and operations in a patent-related field.
- Diploma of completed university studies at master's level in any relevant field(s) or – in exceptional cases – equivalent professional experience.
- Excellent knowledge of one official language of the EPO and ability to understand the other two.
- Citizenship of one of the member states of the European Patent Organisation.
Salary and benefits
The EPO offers competitive salaries, an excellent social package, and varied work in a modern international environment. The net (basic) monthly salary* for this vacancy starts at EUR 13 227.65 (Munich) or EUR 13 546.66 (The Hague). A yearly functional allowance of up to two months' (basic) salary may be awarded. In addition, depending on their personal circumstances, EPO staff may be entitled to relocation benefits and various allowances (e.g. household, dependants, childcare, education, expatriation, installation).
* after deduction of the EPO internal tax and before deduction of staff contributions to the social-security and pension schemes.
Duration of the contract
The contract will be for the duration of five years with possibility of extension.
Process and timeline
The successful candidate will be selected on the basis of qualifications, supplemented as appropriate by interviews, tests and/or a personality questionnaire.
The one-day assessment centre is scheduled to take place in week 22, with the interviews following in week 23 or 24. The interviews will take place in Munich.
Please apply online, using the online application form via the 'Apply' button, reference number INT/EXT/4041.
Closing date: 20 May 2017