Executive Secretary
Vacancy Type:
Practice or Client:
Royal Irish Academy

Reporting to the Council via the President, the Executive Secretary is responsible for providing leadership, in collaboration with the President, Officers and Council, to achieve the Academy’s goals as set out in its mission statement. Supporting the development, and coordinating the execution, of the Academy’s long-term strategy with a view to fostering high quality scholarship and informing public debate. Overseeing the management of each department and project, while implementing the Academy’s long and short-term plans and ensuring that there are appropriate internal controls for compliance with the corporate governance code.

The main job functions of the role of the Executive Secretary include but are not limited to:

  • Support the development of the Academy’s strategy and oversee the implementation of the Academy’s long and short-term plans in accordance with the strategic plan. Ensure that the programmes and services offered by the Academy contribute to the Academy’s mission and reflect the priorities of the Council.


  • Provide administrative oversight of the Academy’s research activities, projects and historic library and collections, ensuring appropriate reporting of their work, and facilitating reviews of their activities as required by Council.
  • Support the Academy’s contribution to public debate and public policy formation and facilitate the work of Academy committees.
  • Lead, organise and empower Academy staff to achieve goals with maximum efficiency. Implement a management process for all staff which includes monitoring performance and full engagement with the employee support and development process.
  • Develop and drive a culture of respect, integrity, evaluation and shared learning, ensuring there are adequate controls to address any disrespect, inequality or poor behaviours.
  • Support the Academy’s Council and Executive Committee. Act as a liaison between management and the Executive Committee, communicating effectively with employees, Government authorities, other stakeholders and the public. Represent the Academy at all relevant events, liaising with key partners to raise the profile of the Academy.
  • As Accounting Officer, ensure that expenditures of the Academy are within the authorised annual budget through robust systems of financial reporting. Set and monitor budgets by department.
  • Identify, develop and pursue initiatives to increase the Academy’s income as approved by Council. Prepare funding proposals on behalf of the Academy.
  • Assess the principal risks to the Academy. Ensure all risks are being monitored and managed through effective internal controls and management information systems. Ensure that the Academy has appropriate systems to enable it to conduct its activities lawfully and ethically while maintaining high standards of corporate governance and social responsibility. Ensure the Academy’s standards and policies, including its audit and risk and safety and health policies, are maintained and adhered to. Ensure the integrity of all public disclosures by the Academy.
Qualification Level:
Senior Management
Required Experience:

Essential Criteria

The successful candidate must be able to demonstrate:

  • Evidence of a primary degree;
  • Evidence of a post graduate qualification in a relevant discipline;
  • Evidence of 5 years’ experience in a senior management role;
  • Evidence of a proven track record in organisational leadership with an emphasis on leading change and organisational growth;
  • Evidence of ability to be a strategic thinker with demonstrable experience translating ideas into tangible positive results;
  • Evidence of proven ability to implement strategies to move the Academy forward in line with its Strategic Plan, to work with the President and Council in setting action plans and evaluating the results;
  • Evidence of awareness of the Irish third level education system and of its funding, management and governance;
  • Evidence of proven experience of financial analysis, corporate planning and budgeting;
  • Evidence of a proven track record of an open and collaborative style of leadership with demonstrable experience of problem solving, delegation of responsibility and conflict management skills;
  • Evidence of ability of effective interpersonal, presentation and oral and written communication skills.

Desirable Criteria

The successful candidate should also be able to demonstrate:

  • Evidence of a postgraduate degree (master’s degree and/or doctorate);
  • Proven experience of negotiating and securing funding;
  • Evidence of experience and skills in mediation and problem solving;
  • Evidence of experience of working in the Higher Education sector;
  • Evidence of experience of working in an organization of members.
Application Email: