Bachelor of Commerce, University of South Africa, Pretoria

Bachelor of Science, Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg 


Portuguese, English

In my role as Chief of Mission Support, I hold the standard delegations of authority for Finance, Human Resources, Property Management and Procurement, supplemented in some cases with special measures to account for the mission’s specific requirements. I manage the deployments for the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) in Ghana, Mali, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. The mission is unique in many respects, most notably our direct reporting line to the Secretary-General’s Executive Office. UNMEER’s, structure and staffing is a hybrid of the traditional “mission” and functional expertise of United Nations Agencies, Funds and Programmes.  The extensive geographical coverage of the mission demands considerable travel, supplemented by heavy reliance on the video teleconference infrastructure, which facilitates work with our partners and maximizes the Mission’s responsiveness, flexibility, and efficiency. 

Previously, I joined the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea Bissau (UNIOGBIS) in my first fully-fledged Chief of Mission Support assignment.  One of the great things about working for the Organization is some of the extraordinary people you can meet, as I found myself working under two successive Special Representatives of the Secretary-General who also happened to be former Heads of State. This role brought an interesting challenge with it; having spent many years in large operations which were appropriately resourced, I had to deliver a similar portfolio of services but with a reduced team which not only required multi-tasking on a number of roles but also mitigating exposure during staff absences.

I spent over six years in Lebanon serving in various capacities including Acting Chief Administrative Services, a function which covered Human Resources, Procurement, Finance, General Services and Staff Counselling functions. My team was responsible for serving a predominantly military client base of nearly 12,000 deployed troops, including the acquisition and disbursement transactions related to major areas of troop sustainment. My primary objective was to respond with solutions to complex support problems, which required balancing compliance and results. Another key area of responsibility included Budgetary and Cost Control, particularly regarding the projection and implementation of annual changes required in the mission staffing table and operational cost estimates.

In 2012, I participated in the establishment of the Office of the Joint Special Representative for Syria (OJSRS) based in Cairo.  I had overall responsibility for the Cairo and Damascus offices, which was structured to support a comparatively small mission, with some delegations of authority given directly to or shared with other missions.

While in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for over five years, I contributed to change-based initiatives, which included a major structural reorganization. This administrative support reform better served the needs of our clients. The new organization devolved operational and tactical planning and decision-making to the field under the overall coordination of substantive Heads of Office, enabling more responsive and streamlined services. This process involved a paradigm shift that saw support requests managed at the lowest possible of three layers in the administrative hierarchy, which freed senior managers to focus on strategic mission support. Managing such significant change in a year of elections represented a key milestone in the transitional calendar and an unprecedented demand for support. Obtaining the approval of the legislative bodies for the mission’s initiatives represented a key achievement for the mission and also for me personally.

Initially, I had the impression that working in peacekeeping was not really an environment to start a family, so my wife and I decided to leave the United Nations when my first child was born in 1999. However, we later proved that dual careers can work; a few months later, my wife and I rejoined the United Nations, responding to two successive emergencies which hit Mozambique in 2000 and 2001.  Somehow, we have always found a way to balance both of our careers with the Organization and the competing demands of family life. During this period, I worked in various humanitarian-related roles including in the National Institute for Disaster Management, as well as the World Food Programme (WFP) where I assisted in the planning and coordination of the response effort to flooding in central Mozambique’s Zambezi valley.  The same year I took an assignment with the peacekeeping mission in the DRC. 

During my time in Angola, I spent two years with the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM), and another two years with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)/United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).  With UNAVEM, I managed commercial contracts totaling $50m per annum including those covering the provision of rations to approximately 7,000 contingent personnel. This role was my first proper exposure to peace operations. My main responsibilities included administrative negotiation functions with contractor representatives and client liaison, overseeing quality control and quality assurance functions, as well as the assimilation and management of progress and budget related information. Later, I also worked as a Technical Adviser for UNDP/UNOPS in a capacity building project with the National Institute for De-mining, where I was jointly responsible for supporting and transitioning the administration of the Organization’s de-mining school and six de-mining brigades to the national authorities. 

Overall, I have been fortunate to have had numerous and varied roles with the United Nations. I believe the effort required to balance results against a compliance framework, without achieving one aspect at the expense of the other, holds the key to a successful career as a Chief or Director of Mission Support.

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