Director, Marketing and Communications

  • Location


  • Sector:


  • Job Type:


  • Salary:

    Competitive for Not-For-Profit Organisation

  • Contact:

    Willem de Ruijter

  • Contact Email:


  • Job Ref:

    WDR 914428

  • Consultant:

    Willem de Ruijter

Business Background

Climate-KIC is the EU’s largest public-private partnership addressing climate change through innovation. Our community consists of over 350 leading partners from business, academia, the public sector and NGOs. Our purpose is to help create a prosperous, inclusive, climate resilient society founded on a circular, zero-carbon economy.

We focus on levers of systemic change, looking for where innovation is most needed to accelerate deep decarbonisation (elimination of fossil fuels and negative carbon) and effective adaptation. We act as a platform in order to work across boundaries and across sectors, fostering innovation as a catalyst for transformation. We provide funding, we facilitate the creation of innovation consortia, we work together with our partners to take a portfolio approach to innovation options, we challenge and seek to enrich business model design, we offer tailored support for experimentation, implementation and scaling, and we incubate very early stage ideation and pre-seed innovation.

In order to make ourselves accessible to key actors and ‘challenge owners’, we work along four priority themes: urban transitions, sustainable land use, sustainable production systems, and decision metrics and climate finance. In all four areas, we place an emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation design, on education as a driver of behavioural change through new skills and capabilities and on policy innovation. We run programmes for students, start-ups and innovators across Europe via centres in major cities and regions, convening a community of excellence in people and organisations.

We balance strategic innovation, aimed at renewing core business models, with a significant portfolio of bottom-up innovation – e.g. through our start-up accelerators – in order to learn, evaluate and continuously adjust our efforts to impact climate change. Ultimately, we aim to become a leader in systems innovation designed to catalyse systemic change. Our objective is to contribute to a paradigm shift from a linear, industrial metabolism to a circular, regenerative model, leveraging the power of our unique community of innovators and inspiring change beyond it.

Climate-KIC is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union’s

Purpose of Role

The Director, Communications and Marketing is accountable for both external and internal communications, marketing strategy and marketing operations at Climate-KIC.

This is a transformational role. The Director will be responsible for leading the organisation through a re-conceptualising of its communications activities to align with the new organisational strategy and lead a distributed team of communication professionals through the transition process.

A focus on narrative and storytelling is essential, engaging key stakeholders, decision makers and citizens in a sense of relevance, meaningfulness and practical possibility

As a member of the Executive Board, the Director Marketing and Communications will play a critical strategic leadership role in charting the future course of Climate-KIC. At the same time, she/he will also be expected to take a hands-on approach, deploying empathy, systems thinking, excellent presentation and story-telling skills and technology savvy in service of instilling confidence, solving problems, ensuring buy-in, and promoting collaboration and employee well-being.

We are looking for someone who has the confidence, skills and curiosity to rethink “communications” and experiment with new approaches.

Key Responsibilities

In particular, the Director will:

Develop a distinctive voice

  • Develop a distinctive voice and communication style for the organisation which starts from a place of humility (rather than “top down” expertise), curiosity (particularly towards edge, non-linear approaches and communities) and openness (going beyond disciplinary boundaries to explore the systemic connections of the climate agenda with other fields).
  • Lead the continuous exploration of new formats for Climate-KIC to engage in a two-way dialogue with its constituents to foster innovative climate solutions, with a particular emphasis on digital. Climate-KIC’s ambition is to become an organization “of the internet”, not on the internet.
  • Exploring, working alongside other function directors, ways in which communication can strategically support the rethinking of other corporate functions, from human resources to digital transformation, from portfolio management to community building.
  • Building a compelling brand position for Climate-KIC that is appealing to current partners and to potential new partners, accessible and engaging for citizens and local communities and attractive to national and global funders of climate innovation. The position will play an essential role in promoting Climate-KIC’s business strategy and achievements.

Set direction

  • Define a new marketing and communications strategy that supports the organisation transition towards catalysing systemic change through innovation.
  • Position Climate-KIC as a thought leader in the climate discourse, building on the strength of the portfolio approach the organisation is embracing.
  • Develop a communications and marketing function that is known for its experimental and edgy approach and provide leadership to the distributed team.

Develop meaningful, innovative content

  • Lead the organisation in exploring new formats and channels to draw external constituents into meaningful conversations about climate innovation and impact, centred around a common sense of curiosity towards unknown spaces and solutions.
  • Lead on the development of high-quality thought leadership, opinion pieces and publications.
  • Mobilise organisation-wide attention to good story-telling, identifying the examples that speak volumes, capturing and collating sense-making and insights and ensuring the production of visual and verbal materials that are accessible, coherent and stylish.

Enable a digital communications and marketing mind set

  • Lead on strong and innovative digital marketing strategies, to drive traffic to company pages and generate interest in Climate-KIC’s mission and community.
  • Orchestrate engaging written, graphic, and video content while ensuring the team stays up-to-date on latest communications and marketing technologies and social media.
  • Help drive the organisation through a transition to a “digital first” world.

Develop and mobilise the network

  • Develop and maintains the network of key media, taking end responsibility for the production of press releases, press conferences, PR campaigns and article placement.
  • Ensure that Climate-KIC is present as a credible player in online conversations that matter, reaches out to edge communities that are exploring below the radar-screen solutions, and is effectively using online channels to draw into the collective intelligence of a broad set of players.
  • Create and shape events and campaigns that convene and expand the Climate-KIC community, support strategic alliances, build greater understanding of climate innovation and catalyse action.
  • Select, commission and manage a network of specialised partners to ensure that Climate-KIC can tap into cutting edge expertise.

Set the standard

  • Lead by example with internal and external stakeholders and act as a spokesperson for Climate-KIC.
  • Work as principal advisor on communications and marketing matters to the CEO, directors and Governing Board and Assembly.
  • Ensure that Climate-KIC is benchmarking with other entities for this function and adapting and evolving as a result.
  • Play a leadership role in the EIT communications taskforce with the other KICs.

Build and develop an effective team

  • Manage communications specialists in country offices, helping drive a sense of collective ownership of the new direction for the communication function and empowering them to take an experimental approach to communications.

Key Working Relationships

  • CEO Climate-KIC
  • CSO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • Community Manager.
  • Governing Board, Supervisory Board, Advisory Council and Assembly members.
  • Geography & Theme Directors.
  • Head of Investment and Investor Relations.
  • Communications officers of the European Institute of Technology and Innovation and other funders.
  • Communications officers of Core and Affiliate Partners.
  • Marketing and Communication Leads in each geography.
  • External creative suppliers, journalists and representatives of the media.

Required Background & Qualifications


  • Relevant academic degree or qualification.


  • Senior communicator with experience in strategic marketing communications, relationship management and internal communication.
  • Proven track record of providing clear, balanced advice and professional leadership at board and senior management level on a wide range of strategic, operational, sensitive and complex communication issues.
  • Proven track record of successfully developing high-performing teams, leading, managing and motivating others, especially during periods of change, and driving continuous improvement within the communications function.
  • Experience of successful management of internal communications and support of employee engagement.
  • Experience of using effective communication and engagement techniques in respect of media relations, reputation management, corporate communications, branding and marketing.
  • Experience creating innovative communication strategies using digital channels and new media.
  • Experience and proven success of management skills in complex governance structures.

Key Skills

  • Fluency in the English language combined with outstanding written and verbal communication skills; knowledge of other European languages highly desirable.
  • Ability to work with an international team and community in a multidisciplinary and multi-cultural context – cross-cultural competence essential.
  • Proven success in working with board members and other senior management to deliver strategic objectives.
  • Highly effective engagement with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Familiarity and proficiency in systems thinking and in working with complexity.
  • Familiarity and proficiency in coaching others; able to build capacity by investing in the development of others.
  • Empathetic and innovative thinker, familiar with human-centred design thinking, and able to translate a deep curiosity and understanding of needs into dynamic and entrepreneurial action.

Qualities, Personal Style and Approach

  • Aware and sympathetic to the mission and purpose of addressing climate change.
  • Confidence to encourage creativity in others.
  • Excellent influencing and negotiating skills, and the ability to develop effective long-term relationships with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Articulate and dynamic with highly developed interpersonal skills.

Your application should consist of a full curriculum vitae and a covering letter describing briefly how your profile, skills and experience meet the criteria outlined in the person specification, and outlining your interest in and vision for the role.


VMAGROUP is a leading international interim and permanent recruitment and executive search specialist for communications, digital and marketing. Specialist practices cover internal and change communications, external communications, investor relations, public affairs, marketing, digital and agency services.

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