Chief Information Officer 
(New York or Washington D.C., other locations will be considered)
Application Deadline: Open Until Filled

Established in 1978, Human Rights Watch (HRW) is one of the world’s leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights. By focusing international attention where human rights are violated – through rigorous, objective investigations and strategic, targeted advocacy – the organization builds intense pressure for action and raises the cost of human rights abuses. For over 40 years, Human Rights Watch has worked tenaciously to lay the legal and moral groundwork for deep-rooted change and has fought to bring greater justice and security to people around the world.

Each year, Human Rights Watch publishes more than 100 reports and briefings on human rights conditions in some 90 countries, generating extensive coverage – roughly 1,000 hits per day and more than 11 million followers – in local and international media. With the leverage this brings, Human Rights Watch meets with governments, the United Nations, regional groups like the African Union and the European Union, financial institutions, and corporations to press for changes in policy and practice that promote human rights and justice around the world.
Human Rights Watch is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization (NGO) made up of approximately 500 staff members located in over 90 countries around the world. It is led by Executive Director Kenneth Roth with the support of an engaged Board of Directors co-chaired by Amy Rao and Neil Rimer. The organization has a global operating budget of approximately $90 million and its staff consists of human rights professionals including country experts, lawyers, journalists, and academics of diverse backgrounds and nationalities.

Technology enables all functions at Human Rights Watch, including fact-finding tools, publishing, knowledge management, human resources, fundraising and operations. Its work demands secure, scalable and robust infrastructure to support a highly distributed global organization.
HRW is looking for an Operations-focused Chief Information Officer (CIO) to provide strategic and tactical Information Technology leadership across this portfolio of activities. As a key member of the operations and management team, the CIO will be a partner and advisor to the senior leadership, the board of directors, and the wider organization.

The CIO will play a critical leadership role in defining and communicating HRW’s technology strategy, including a cloud-based systems architecture. The CIO will be responsible for building, operating, and securing all significant technology within HRW and will plan and execute the implementation and migration to a new strategic infrastructure. The CIO will manage the Information Security team to implement and maintain an information security risk management program and support security incident response in coordination with the Director of Physical Security. The CIO will also prepare for and enable a future digital transformation of how HRW executes its core mission of investigating human rights violations, exposing them, and demanding change.

The technology portfolio includes the tools needed for digital advocacy and targeted communications, knowledge management systems, digital (text, video, and audio) publishing stacks, ML/AI tools to automate investigations where possible, and critically the evolution and integration of marketing, finance, human resources, monitoring and evaluation, and other enterprise IT systems.


  • Provide the overall vision and leadership for HRW’s technology strategy, working with HRW leadership to build an organization-wide consensus around that vision, and ensure its full integration into HRW’s programmatic and operational strategies.
  • Ensure that HRW technology infrastructure is built and operated as “secure by design”.
  • Outline, plan, and execute organization-wide technology planning and change management including the establishment of technology priorities, design of a cohesive overall technical architecture, and development of a staff outreach and roll out plan.
  • Direct and approve design of all technology, policies, standards, procedures, guidelines, goals, metrics, timelines, and training and ensure that they are accessible, well planned, thoroughly tested, and effective.
  • Oversee and monitor HRW’s overall technology budget and ensure strategic allocation of funds across the organization.
  • Lead, develop, and/or increase the capacity of core technology functions, such as:
    • Enterprise-wide architecture plans
    • HRW’s online and digital presence
    • Research tools that enhance, automate or complement traditional HRW methodologies
    • Key metrics and their communication to stakeholders, including to support organization-wide monitoring and evaluation efforts
    • Vendor relationships and management for hardware, software, and communications
    • Off-the-shelf and customized technologies and their applicability to HRW’s requirements.
  • Appropriately assess and manage risks related to HRW technology solutions, security, data archiving, publishing, and information sharing, demonstrating consideration for the safety of HRW’s staff, sources, constituents, and partners.
  • Lead, motivate and mentor direct reports, including communicating clear expectations, setting performance objectives, providing regular and timely constructive feedback, ensuring balanced workload, providing guidance on professional growth, and monitoring staff well-being as it pertains to stress and resilience issues and self-care.
  • Promote an inclusive and positive work environment including in recruiting new technology staff, soliciting diverse points of views, supporting diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, and proactively addressing any bias or discrimination.
  • Oversee effective coordination, coherence, and communication on all technology related issues among staff in technology functions and all other parts of HRW.
  • Engage in and strengthen technology-related high-level fundraising; and
  • Perform other responsibilities as required.


  • Establish the CIO’s integrity and collaborative and partnering competencies, and successfully integrate with the newly formed Operations Team; be a team player.
  • Actuate the credibility and authority of the relatively new role of the CIO in the organization; clean up the policies, procedures, and practices of Information Technology and evangelize the role of the CIO and the renewed IT function.
  • Assess current functions, processes and technology to identify gaps; recommend and manage change to mitigate any disparity and bring HRW up to current IT standards as may be practical; do more with less.
  • Review and renew HRW’s IT stack and develop and advocate on behalf of a revised plan and roadmap including modernization of architecture, technology and methodology including hardware, software, and business process improvement.
  • Assess and review the HRW Information Security program to identify gaps and opportunities for near- and long-term improvements.
  • Work cooperatively with the Operations team to effectively communicate the IT vision and build a reputation as a contributing leadership team member.

The successful candidate will be a thoughtful, collaborative, and strategic leader with at least 15 years of relevant experience in technology or related work, including experience in an international organization or business, with at least five years in a senior management position.
Ideally the candidate will have strong implementation experience with cloud-based technologies, particularly Microsoft, NetSuite, and Salesforce. Candidates should have experience in cyber-security risk management and incident management and demonstrate a practical approach to securing critical systems. Recent experience in how broadcast and digital content is originated, delivered, and managed would also be very useful.

Required Qualifications / Skills

  • Knowledge of and experience creating a unified technology vision across an organization or business, bringing different constituents into a single strategy, and linking complex technologies to operational and programmatic priorities.
  • Strong understanding of cyber security tools, technologies and methodologies.
  • Proven ability to execute priorities and manage phased implementations.
  • Proven track record of leadership, management and organizational skills, including the ability to lead a diverse and inclusive team of staff in multiple global locations.
  • Strong vision of trends around technology and their ability to support the current and future state of an international human rights organization, and the ability to communicate effectively about those trends and how to respond to them.
  • A proven depth of technical knowledge across functional disciplines which demonstrates an ability to effectively lead technology design, engineering, product and systems management, and project management.
  • A track record of identifiable and measurable successes in prioritizing, managing, and advising on complex projects, implementing operational change, and ensuring high-quality deliverables.
  • A track record of, and passion for, being a collaborative team player who can empathetically engage with staff at all levels and across jurisdictions; influencing and persuasion skills.
  • Passionate about Operations and process effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Demonstrated awareness and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and orientations.
Desirable Qualifications / Skills
  • Commitment to promoting human rights and an understanding of responsible and ethical technology implementations.
  • Track record of supervising senior professional staff.
  • Excellent presentation, communication, public speaking, and listening skills.
  • Ability to coach colleagues to understand stakeholders’ perspectives and to handle high-level stakeholder challenges.
  • Experience working in a global context across multiple cultures; NGO experience is a plus.

A bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Engineering or a relevant field is required. A master’s degree is desirable.

The HRW Chief Information Officer will receive a competitive salary plus an attractive program of benefits and pension.

Human Rights Watch is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of race, creed, color, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, national origin, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

Interested and qualified candidates and candidate referrals are welcomed and should be brought to the attention of any of the following members of the Korn Ferry Technology Officers Practice: 

Mark Polansky
Senior Partner
Technology Officers Practice
Direct: (212) 984-9415
Mobile: (917) 991-5573
Emma Bingle
Technology Officers Practice
Direct: (212) 896-9942
Mobile: (253) 802-6097
Andrea Cruz
Project Coordinator
Technology Officers Practice
Direct: (212) 973-5818
Mobile: (914) 673-7768 

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