Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer

Mercy Corps Global
May 18, 2020
Portland, Oregon
Post Type
Experience (minimum)
10+ Years
Education (minimum)
Not specified
Travel Required?
Base Salary
Not specified


About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible.  In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we collaborate to put bold solutions into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within. Now, and for the future.

Department Summary

Mercy Corps is creating a new, stand-alone Ethics and Compliance Department that will support and monitor ethical, contractual and legal compliance across Mercy Corp’s various affiliates and global operations.  The department will interact with and support all functional areas of Mercy Corps, including executive and senior management, programs, social ventures, policy & advocacy, resource development, safeguarding, finance, and human resources, as well as the various functional areas that report into these departments.  The department will also oversee the Intake and Investigations department, which is tasked with the intake and investigation of all reports of ethics violations including fraud, corruption, and Code of Conduct and Global Human Resources complaints.

The CECO Role

The Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer (“CECO”) will be responsible for management and oversight of the enterprise-wide Ethics and Compliance Department and program for Mercy Corps Global, Mercy Corps Europe and Mercy Corps Netherlands, their subsidiaries and affiliate organizations (collectively “Mercy Corps”).  The purpose of this role is to promote an ethical culture throughout the organization and work to prevent, detect, respond to, and/or mitigate potential violations of ethical guidelines, sexual exploitation and abuse policies, contract and grant requirements and/or law. As a member of the Executive Team, the CECO will manage and oversee the department responsible for assessing compliance efforts to meet legal and contractual obligations, and developing appropriate compliance strategies, training and initiatives necessary to minimize noncompliance and/or unethical conduct within Mercy Corps and/or those working on behalf of Mercy Corps. The CECO will be responsible for regularly reporting about the program, as well as risk findings, to the Executive Team, the Joint Audit and Risk Committee, and the Board of Directors.

Who We Are Looking For

Mercy Corps is looking for a globally strategic, solution-oriented executive who will work across and collaborate at all levels of the organization to contribute to Mercy Corps’ mission.  The CECO will help the organization address complex problems - which involve identifying, resolving and preventing misconduct and/or unethical activities. The international relief and development sector is faced with increasing regulatory requirements and scrutiny from donors, regulators and host country governments. This requires constant vigilance and ever evolving and adapting policies, processes and practices to ensure cost-effective compliance while at the same time maintaining space for program performance and innovation.

The CECO will assess a host of dynamic ethical, contractual and legal requirements and invite and manage divergent views, while managing multiple tasks and activities in a calm, resilient, collaborative and professional manner, and be able to manage investigative matters with discretion and the utmost care of the individuals and organizations involved. They will have excellent written and oral communication skills, be able to understand and distill data analysis, and have a proven ability to gain credibility, support and engagement from a wide range of internal and external stakeholders. The CECO will be a critical and strategic thinker while being able, and willing, to immerse themselves with details. They will be able to work both independently and when necessary collaboratively within a cross-functional, cross-divisional, and multi-national environment assisting in the resolution of issues in a manner that conforms to the highest ethical practices while fostering and enhancing positive working relationships. The CECO will have the utmost sensitivity and knowledge of cultural, political and religious environments in the regions where we work and have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability.

Essential Job Responsibilities

  • Maintain the highest level of professional and ethical standards, acting in compliance with both the letter and spirit of applicable laws and regulations.
  • Provide sufficiently detailed reports, guidance and recommendations to the Board of Directors, Executive Team, and senior team members on ethics and compliance matters related to all aspects of Mercy Corps’ operations.
  • Lead a newly formed Ethics and Compliance Department and Mercy Corps program.  Ensure implementation of an ethics and compliance program designed to effectively prevent, detect, respond to and mitigate illegal, unethical, or improper conduct and promote a culture of integrity and compliance.
  • Oversee the Intake and Investigations department, reviewing and approving final determinations on reports of misconduct.
  • Maintain strong working relationships with major funders of Mercy Corps, such as, but not limited to the U.S. Agency for International Development (“USAID”), the U.K. Department for International Development (“UK DFID”), and other major funders and oversight bodies.
  • Provide support, advice and recommendations for complex problem-solving situations related to ethics and compliance, and to build consensus, identify strategic priorities and directions, and ensure successful outcomes.
  • Work collaboratively with relevant departments to ensure efficient and effective compliance measures and prompt and successful resolution of audits and investigations of alleged noncompliance and/or ethical issues.
  • Work with relevant departments to develop compliance communication and training programs as well as other efforts to promote an enterprise culture of integrity and compliance, both for new and existing employees.
  • Select, retain and manage external legal, accounting and other subject matter expert services for investigations into alleged noncompliant and/or unethical incidents.  Act as a liaison with outside counsel and advisors.
  • Foster a culture of trust and confidence (both internally and externally) in Mercy Corps’ ethics reporting, investigation, and follow up systems.
  • Maintain up-to-date knowledge with funder and legal requirements for purposes of ensuring compliance.
  • Play an integral role with respect to any reports of improper sexual conduct involving among others but not exclusively, team members, contractors, subawardee, Board members and/or participants.
  • Undertake special initiatives and perform other duties and responsibilities as appropriate and requested by the Board of Directors and/or the Joint Audit and Risk Committee.

Organizational Learning

  • As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve - we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves.

Accountability to Participants

  • Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards accountability, specifically to our participants and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Supervisory Responsibility

The Board of Directors and Joint Audit and Risk Committee will request within ninety (90) days of the CECO’s start, a department staffing proposal.  This may include, but is not necessarily limited to:

  • Department staff members to lead communications, training, continual functional area oversight, programmatic reviews, etc.;
  • The potential transfer of existing resources from functional areas into the Department; as well as
  • The Intake and Investigations department and the Investigations Case Managers and Investigators currently therein.


Reports Directly To: Chief Executive Officer and the Joint Audit and Risk Committee of the Global Board of Directors, with periodic reports to the full Board of Directors.

Works Directly With: The CECO will be accountable to internal clients throughout Mercy Corps Global, Mercy Corps UK and Mercy Corps Netherlands, all affiliates, and in all offices and personnel in the field. The CECO will also work in collaboration with Mercy Corps’ General Counsel.

Knowledge and Experience

  • Preferred but not required Juris Doctorate and an active, valid license to practice law with the ability to practice law in Oregon as an in-house attorney.
  • 10+ years of experience in international development, ideally with direct experience with both programmatic and compliance functions.
  • Strong cultural sensitivity and experience in a global, geographically dispersed organization.
  • Experience and knowledge of US Government grants and contracts and/or UK Government grants and contracts, sanctions and counterterrorism and anti-money laundering laws is essential.  Specific experience with USAID and/or UK DFID grants is a plus.
  • Understanding of private international law and U.S. laws related to international business, such as sanctions, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the U.K. Bribery Act.
  • Good general knowledge of current events, particularly international affairs.
  • Experience with ethics, compliance, sexual exploitation and abuse, and corporate transactions in an international and high-risk context.
  • Previous foreign travel and willingness to travel.
  • Experience with international investigations in a regulated environment.
  • Knowledge of one or more foreign languages is a plus.
  • Certifications such as Certified Risk and Compliance Manager Professional (CRCMP) are a plus

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position is based in Portland, OR, Washington DC or London, UK.

Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/short term assignment to a field posting. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Mercy Corps is an equal opportunity employer that does not tolerate discrimination on any basis. We actively seek out diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be collectively stronger and have sustained global impact.

We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work.

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