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Director of Internal Audit


The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, known by its Spanish acronym, CIMMYT®, is a not-for-profit research and training organization with partners in over 100 countries (www.cimmyt.org). As staple foods, maize and wheat provide vital nutrients and health benefits, making up close to two-thirds of the world’s food energy intake, and contributing 55 to 70 percent of the total calories in the diets of people living in developing countries. CIMMYT scientists tackle food insecurity through improved nutrient-rich, high-yielding varieties and sustainable agricultural practices, ensuring that those who most depend on agriculture have enough to make a living and feed their families. The U.N. projects that the global population will increase to more than 9 billion people by 2050, which means that the successes and failures of wheat and maize farmers will continue to have a crucial impact on food security.

CIMMYT seeks a dynamic, self-motivated and service oriented professional for the position of Director of Internal Audit. This position plays a critical role in delivering CIMMYT’s strategic objectives by championing best practice in governance, objectively assessing the adequacy of governance and management of existing risks, commenting on responses to emerging risks and proposed developments and giving an objective and evidence-based opinion on all aspects of governance, risk management and internal control.

He or she will also have regular and open engagement across CIMMYT, particularly with the Management Committee and the Audit, Finance and Risk Committee (AFRC). The director leads an internal audit service that is resourced to be fit-for-purpose (including ensuring that IIA Standards are applied). Thus, it is critical that the selected candidate be professionally qualified and suitably experienced.

This key executive will report functionally to the Chair of the Audit, Finance and Risk Committee (AFRC) of the CIMMYT Board of Trustees, and administratively (for day-to-day operations) to the Director General. The position is based at CIMMYT’s headquarters, near Mexico City.

Job Responsibilities:

This position has been created because there are opportunities to further improve the scope and impact of the CIMMYT Global Maize Program (GMP). The Program Director requires a highly motivated individual who can strongly support the resource mobilization efforts of the Program, as well as to help technically manage the existing projects implemented in Africa, Asia and Latin America. He/she will technically monitor the projects and ensure that CIMMYT’s performance meets the high standards promised to investors. Job responsibilities break down into four categories: Resource Mobilization, Project Management, Performance Monitoring, and Communications and Partnership.

Specific Duties

The Director of Internal Audit will develop a risk-based annual, medium-term and long-term internal audit plan for the organization, as a basis for providing:

  • Assurance to the AFRC and to Management on governance, risk, controls and compliance, and,
  • Actionable advice that the Director General and other senior leaders of CIMMYT can use to improve the organization’s effectiveness (including efficiency and economy).

In addition, the Director of Internal Audit is required to:

  • Implement the annual audit plan, as approved, including any special tasks or projects requested by management or by the AFRC.
  • Maintain a professional audit staff with sufficient knowledge, skills, experience, and professional certifications to meet the requirements of CIMMYT and CGIAR, issuing periodic reports to the AFRC and management summarizing results of audit activities.
  • Review significant partnership arrangements and major services provided by third parties and the controls in place to promote and protect CIMMYT’s interests.
  • Perform or assist in the investigation of suspected fraudulent activities and notify management and the AFRC of the results.
  • Offer consultancy advice where the Director of Internal Audit considers that it is appropriate, drawing up clear terms of reference for such assignments.
  • Provide support in coordinating and managing external audits and reviews carried out by third parties (i.e. External Statutory / Donor Audits of coporate and country offices).
  • Participate in and provide support for the System level initiatives (e.g. Community of Best Practices).
  • Establish approaches to maintain or improve management awareness of professional standards and best practices applicable to management and internal audit operations.
  • Serve on committees, task forces or other ad hoc groups as requested.

Personal Skills 

  • Give clear, professional and objective advice, reporting on what is found, without fear or favour.
  • Exercise sound judgement in identifying weaknesses in CIMMYT’s control environment and a balanced view on how significant these are – being seen to be objective and independent but also pragmatic where appropriate.
  • Adopt a flexible style, being able to collaborate and advise but also able to challenge as appropriate.
  • Work effectively with the Management Committee and AFRC with political awareness and sensitivity.
  • Be concerned for action – influencing the DG, Management Committee, AFRC and others to ensure that the Director of Internal Audit’s recommendations are implemented.
  • Be a role model, dynamic, determined, positive, robust and with resilient leadership, able to inspire confidence and respect and exemplify high standards of conduct.
  • Demonstrate superior skills in written and verbal communication in English (especially a proven ability to prepare and present clear, logical and succinct written reports, presentations and correspondence); proficiency in Spanish would be an advantage.
  • Build and demonstrate commitment to continuous improvement.
  • Demonstrate integrity to staff and others in CIMMYT.
  • Establish an open culture, built on effective coaching and communication.
  • Actively promote the highest standards of ethics and standards based on the principles of integrity, objectivity, competence and confidentiality, consistent with CIMMYT’s values.
  • Adhere to professional internal auditing and other professional standards (such as IIA, ACFE, IASB etc.).
  • Ensure, when necessary, that outside expertise is called upon for specialist advice not available within the internal audit service.
  • Create, communicate and implement a vision for the internal audit service, especially through effective networking.
  • Promote discussion on current governance and professional issues and their implications.
  • Understand the internal audit and regulatory environment applicable to international organizations.

Qualifications and Experience

  • Professional qualification in accounting (CPA, ACA etc.)
  • Additional professional qualifications relevant to undertaking internal audit work – such as CIA, CISA, CISM, CRISC, CFE – would be desirable but are not a strict requirement.
  • 8-10 years of experience in planning, conducting and managing internal or external audits, investigations, and consultancies related to corporate governance, risk management, organizational development, internal controls and compliance systems – with at least 2 years’ experience in leading an internal audit unit.
  • Additional line experience in finance, administration, technology, project management, quality systems, regulatory compliance or corporate governance would be a significant plus.
  • Experience with advanced professional techniques such as data analysis software, statistical tools, problem solving methods and facilitation of risk/control self-assessments.

If you are interested in this role or can provide suggested contacts for CTI on this search, please contact us in confidence. Our search is not confidential and this document may be redistributed.

For further information on the selection process, please contact Dave Jensen, Managing Director at davejensen@careertrax.com (928) 282-5366 Office (928) 274-2266 Cell (Preferred), Skype: daveproactive or Ryan Raver, Executive Recruiter at ryanraver@careertrax.com (507) 272-2846 Cell, Skype: ryan.raver 

This position will remain open until filled. 

CIMMYT is an equal opportunity employer. It fosters a multicultural work environment that values gender equality, teamwork, and respect for diversity. Women are encouraged to apply.