Chairperson of the Supervisory Board – KIT

Royal Tropical Institute (KIT)
16-11-2023    2023-00128   

KIT Royal Tropical Institute is an independent centre of expertise, education and hospitality dedicated to sustainable development and health. Guided by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, our knowledge work focuses on global health, gender, economic development and intercultural communication. The education offer comprises a graduate programme in global health, advanced courses for health professionals, a gender training programme and training and coaching services in intercultural communication. 
KIT’s campus and monumental building houses state-of-the-art office and conference facilities as well as the certified ecofriendly Amsterdam Tropen Hotel and Restaurant. KIT is also the home of SDG House: a resident community of sustainability experts, social entrepreneurs and NGOs with a membership of 70+ organisations. 
Her Majesty Queen Maxima is patroness of the Institute. 

Dedicated to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, the experts’ work focuses on producing measurable results. More than 88 expert staff work across thematic impact areas areas including public health systems, epidemiology, sexual and reproductive health and rights, agricultural innovation, food value-chains, gender relations, and inclusive finance. The knowledge generated is disseminated through assessment and advisory services, research, teaching, training, and agenda-setting events.

KIT also houses an education centre with masters’ programmes and advanced courses for health professionals —all aimed at strengthening health systems around the world. The courses are offered in cooperation with the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

The organisation’s building and premises support sustainable development through the Amsterdam Tropen Hotel and Café-restaurant. KIT also offers state-of-the-art conference and events facilities for up to 900 guests in its monumental building. KIT contributes the proceeds from these activities to projects that create a more inclusive and sustainable world — part of its unique ethos of profit-for-sustainability.

SDG House
Since 2017, KIT’s premises have included SDG House, a resident community of more than 70 entrepreneurs, NGOs and other organisations that work towards achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG House is the hotspot in Amsterdam for sustainability events and entrepreneurship, convening people who share the common purpose of achieving the SDGs through a diverse range of work and activity covering urban development, impact investments, inclusive finance, fair trade, organic product development and more.

Core values
KIT is guided by a set of values that define our relationship with clients, partners, employees and the community in which we operate. They are Sustainability, Inclusiveness, Transparency and Independence.

All decisions and operations are guided by sustainability, meaning development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs and therefore takes a long term perspective.

At KIT the social, economic and political inclusion of all people are empowered and promoted. The approach to sustainable development is also founded on the principle of inclusion. The experience shows that in any change process, all actors need to be consulted and included from the outset in order for progress to be sustained.

The organization is committed to transparency and actively seeks to exchange all essential information required for successful collaboration, decision-making, and accountability.

KIT is independent and acts according to their own values and judgement, not coloured by religion, politics, ethnicity or the influence of any group or class.

KIT values diversity of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, and national origin and is taking steps to become a more inclusive workplace, taking into account diverse needs and personal circumstances.

KIT’s 2021-2024 strategy has been defined on the basis of an updated vision and mission referring to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) and projected impact outcomes. A strategy update will be developed by the recently appointed CEO Mr. Henri van Eeghen, together with his management team. 

KIT is in a unique position to maximize impact goals based on the SDG’s, globally through its applied knowledge work and locally via its campus in Amsterdam. The applied knowledge work implies advisory services, education, training, and thought leadership on health, gender, diversity and sustainable economic development. The KIT campus serves as an initiator and host of SDG activities and focusses all its efforts on enhancing knowledge, convening and agenda setting for a sustainable world bridging local issues within the global context. The campus is the place to convene, stay, eat and be inspired and contribute to the mission of the organization, making KIT a truly “Glocal” organization. 

With respect to KIT’s knowledge work, one of the priorities is to build a global partnership organization, one comprised of independent but likeminded and strongly connected organizations on all continents, replacing the North-South model of sub-contracting local consultants and partners. Another strategic priority is to leverage KIT’s knowledge to inform policy debates and gain a reputation as a thought leader and think tank on key areas of their expertise. KIT is also investing in upgrading and greening its campus facilities, of which a major renovation of the hotel is the largest investment. As per May 2023 KIT has permanently turned off the gas and removed the boilers from the building, making KIT, Amsterdam’s largest national monument, fossil-free. 

KIT has the statutory form of an association (vereniging) with private and corporate members. The governing bodies of the association are: the Council of Members, the Supervisory Board and the (single-headed) Executive Board (represented by the CEO). 
The Executive Board is accountable to the Supervisory Board. 

In addition, there are staff units that often work for both equally important business activities. A number of activities are housed in separate BVs. The workforce consists of 141 employees (approximately 126 FTE) and additionally 27 employees (21 FTE) in the hospitality sector.

About the vacancy
The vacancy for Chairperson of the Supervisory Board of KIT offers a unique opportunity to work with a highly impact driven knowledge and hospitality organization. In combination with KIT’s wide range of activities, the large number of relevant stakeholders, KIT’s current transition phase as well as its development and impact potential, this offers an inspiring and challenging role. The Chairperson will regularly interact with the CEO, closely collaborate with the other Supervisory Board Members and periodically engage with the Council of Members.  

Mid 2024 the current Chairperson of the Supervisory Board, Mr. Paul Strengers, will leave the organisation due to the expiration of his second term. Also two other Members of the Supervisory Board, Mrs. Serpil Tascioglu and Mr. Philipp Jan Flach, will leave by the end of 2023 and mid-2024. We are therefore launching a process to select a new Chairperson who, after appointment, will be included in the selection process of the other two new Members. It is preferable that the new Chairperson will start in Q2 2024 so we can organize a sound onboarding process together with the current Chairperson. 

Other Members of the Supervisory Board are:
Prof. Joyeeta Gupta – Member
Mr. Jacques Kwak – Member, Chair Audit Committee
Mrs. Linda Broekhuizen – Member, Vice-Chair

Profile criteria
The new Chairperson of the supervisory board endorses the objectives and the values of KIT and feels a strong affinity with the social relevance of KIT’s mission. 

Furthermore the following characteristics apply for the new Chairperson: 

  • seasoned board and non-executive board member with sound international business, governance and change leadership experience;
  • fluent in Dutch and English;
  • ability and willingness to be a sparring partner to the Executive Board with regards to governance, change leadership, finance, real estate, internal stakeholder management and other more operational matters, considering role clarity;
  • Is a strong and experienced communicator who can bring people and parties together. Has the ability to challenge in a constructive manner;
  • good understanding and oversight of the dynamics between key external stakeholders, such as the government, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, local governments, customers, funding partners etc;
  • comes with a relevant network and willingness to actively open doors and / or advise others in the organization to do so;
  • a broad understanding of the various business services of KIT, the relevant external context and the ability to think across the areas of expertise;
  • knowledge of the SDGs and preferably experience with applied knowledge; awareness of developments in these fields, social entrepreneurship, economic development, sustainability, technology, and inclusiveness is preferred;
  • a connection with the city of Amsterdam (in terms of knowledge of relevant local stakeholders and politics) would be preferred;
  • sufficient time availability.

KIT strives to achieve a balanced composition of the Supervisory Board in terms of expertise, competencies, age, gender and background. In selecting among candidates criteria such as relevant education, expertise, competencies, age, gender and background will be taken into account.

A member of the Supervisory Board is appointed for a period of five years and eligible for reappointment for another five years. The Supervisory Board convenes at least four times a year or more, as necessary.

This is an unpaid position, (travel) expenses will be reimbursed.  

Additional information
KIT Royal Tropical Institute aspires to be an equitable and inclusive community. Inclusivity of talent and diversity of people and perspectives are considered as valuable resources that contribute to the mission. KIT provides equal opportunities to all employees and applicants regardless of gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, age, neurodiversity, functional impairment, citizenship, or any other aspect, which makes them unique. 

About the procedure
KIT is guided in this search and selection procedure by Nicole Boevé and Karen Kragt of Partners at Work. They will conduct initial in-depth interviews with potentially suitable candidates. Subsequently, the most suitable candidates are invited for the selection interview(s). Selected candidates will then be invited for various introductory meetings with other stakeholders, such as representatives of the Works Council and the Members' Council. Reference verification can be part of the selection.

Please show your interest in this position and upload your CV at SOLLICITEER.

For further information, please contact Nicole Boevé or Karen Kragt: + 31 35 – 548 0760.

Latest response date: December 13th, 2023.

The Planning:
The first interviews are scheduled for Tuesday, January 30, 2024 between 12.00 p.m. and 05.30 p.m. and Thursday February 1, 2024 between 01.00 p.m. and 05.00 p.m.