Chief Operating Officer (COO)

Application deadline: 
Open until filled
Starting date: 
As soon as possible

The Office of the President and Rector at Central European University invites applications for the Chief Operating Officer (COO) position.


About CEU

Central European University (CEU) is a private international research-intensive university located in Vienna and specializing in social sciences, humanities, law, public policy, management as well as data sciences and cognitive science. It is accredited in the United States, Austria, and Hungary. With a budget of Euro 100 million, the university offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs for 1,500 students from over 100 countries.  Faculty members and visiting scholars come from around the world. CEU's academic strategy is delivered and supported by its 800 academic and administrative employees.


Duties and responsibilities:

The COO will provide managerial leadership to ensure that the University has the necessary operational and business plans, controls, accountability systems and processes, infrastructure, and reporting procedures in place. As the chief administrative officer of the University, the overall purpose of the post is to orchestrate the operational services in support of the University’s academic mission.

With a budget of EUR 100 million, 1,500 students and 800 employees, the University is poised to embark on the next phase of its development. This is an unparalleled opportunity to play a leading role in assisting the President and her leadership team to bring these plans to fruition.


 Accountable to and working closely with the President, but also other members of the senior leadership team, the COO will also forge strong and effective working relationships with the wider academic leadership of the University to support the implementation of its academic strategy.


The COO will have the following main duties:

  • Lead an administration of professional and support services of the University in support of its academic mission, including the following core functional responsibilities:
    • Operational and administrative planning
    • Human Resources
    • Campus Facilities and Services
    • IT
  • Support and advise the President, complementing the respective areas of the other members of the academic leadership.
  • Spearhead the design and the implementation of strategic financial management in line with CEU’s strategic goals.

Aligned with that, the COO will perform these specific tasks:

  • Develop and implement business and operational planning systems and processes to support the delivery of the University’s academic mission.
  • Implement operational systems and processes for setting performance targets to underpin these plans.
  • Work closely with the Senior Leadership Team and the Chief Financial Officer to strengthen the connection between academic operations and finance to enable the University’s academic performance to be financially sustainable.
  • Implement reporting systems that will enable the University’s leadership to monitor its academic and financial performance plans, make strategic choices and enable effective accountability and empowerment of both academic and service departments.
  • Orchestrate the effective engagement of professional and support teams to deliver quality services to students and staff.
  • Ensure the efficient and effective management of resources in the provision of the range of services for which the post-holder is responsible.
  • Lead, develop and motivate heads of service functions, and actively identify and nurture and retain talent internally.


Leading a team of senior professionals who are specialists in their fields, the COO will instill an ethos of collaboration and focus on providing joined-up support for achieving the University’s strategic academic objectives. The COO will be a member of the financial strategy coordination committee of the University, also comprising the President as chair, the Provost and the CFO. The financial committee sets budgetary priorities for the University. He or she will be a member of the University senior leadership team chaired by the President.


The ideal candidates should:

  • Hold a first degree, ideally also a postgraduate qualification.
  • At least 10-15 years of working experience in an academic and/or research institution in a similar management position.
  • Track-record of successful operations leadership in a complex organization, preferably in an international context.
  • Have academic background, preferably having gained several years’ experience in a relevant institution.
  • Demonstrate evidence of excellent leadership skills, with the requisite ambition and vision to drive the University’s services to provide excellent support for its academic mission.
  • Be able to manage and juggle multiple areas of activity and conflicting demands simultaneously.
  • Have high standards and demand them of others. The appointee will combine an ability to be tough when necessary with a diplomatic style, showing patience with the specific constraints in which the University operates.
  • Demonstrate a consensual, collegiate and inclusive approach to management.
  • Have highly effective and persuasive communication skills, with an ability to build strong relationships with staff at all levels of the University.
  • Have excellent presentation and social skills, winning support for own views through evidence, analysis and persuasion, and to challenge constructively the views of others.


The annual gross salary starts at 120,000 EUR. The actual final salary might be higher depending on the seniority and level of expertise of the selected candidate.

How to apply

Applicants need to submit:   

  • A cover letter  
  • A full resume  

Please send your complete application package to: including the job code in the subject line: 2021/072.

About CEU

Central European University (CEU) is a research-intensive university specializing in the social sciences, humanities, law, public policy and management. It is accredited in the United States, Austria and Hungary. CEU's mission is to promote academic excellence, state-of-the-art research, research-based teaching and learning and civic engagement, in order to contribute to the development of open societies. CEU offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs and enrolls more than 1,400 students from over 100 countries. The teaching staff consists of resident faculty from over 50 countries and prominent visiting scholars from around the world. The language of instruction is English.

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CEU is an equal opportunity employer.

The privacy of your personal information is very important to us. We collect, use, and store your personal information in accordance with the requirements of the applicable data privacy rules, including specifically the General Data Protection Regulation. To learn more about how we manage your personal data during the recruitment process, please see our Privacy Notice at: (Hungary: Közép-európai Egyetem, Central European University) or (Austria: Central European University, CEU Central European University Private University).