Secretary General and CEO, The Association of Commonwealth Universities


The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) is a global network with a shared commitment to building a better world through international collaboration in higher education. Founded in 1913, we connect and convene institutions, people, and partners to provide educational opportunities, strengthen the capacity of universities, and advance higher education’s contribution to sustainable development. Our aim is to create a strong and connected higher education community that works across borders and boundaries to build a fairer, more sustainable world.

The ACU has over 450 member universities in 50 countries across the Commonwealth, making us one of the largest and most diverse international university networks. 66% of our members are in low- and middle-income countries, and 5% are in small island states. We believe that connecting universities across borders is key to building healthier, greener, fairer societies – and that none of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be achieved without higher education.

At a dynamic time for the future of the Commonwealth – with less than a decade to go before the 2030 target date for achieving the 17 globally-agreed SDGs – the ACU is looking to appoint an inspiring and experienced leader as Secretary General and CEO to lead the ACU into our next phase of development.

Accountable to the Council, the Secretary General and CEO will be responsible for progressing the ACU’s strategic vision, working across the Commonwealth with the ACU’s membership, as well as senior government officials, NGOs and other partners. The new Secretary General and CEO has an exciting opportunity ahead of them, ensuring the ACU plays a key role in the modern Commonwealth, responding to global challenges while upholding the legacy and values that the ACU has historically espoused. They will work to promote membership value, both to existing and new members, and lead the organisation, ensuring financial sustainability and strengthening and developing revenue streams. They will provide strong internal leadership to a complex organisation, working closely with the ACU’s Executive Team, and serve as powerful external ambassador.

The successful candidate will bring senior leadership experience gained within a complex environment, as well as an in depth understanding of international higher education and the Commonwealth. They will recognise the importance of higher education’s contribution economically and socially across the globe. The ideal candidate will have strong ambassadorial capabilities, and familiarity with strengthening international networks across diverse geopolitical contexts. They will have the gravitas and credibility to influence both within and beyond the organisation. An excellent track record of inspiring and empowering teams as well as navigating organisational complexity will be critical.

This is an exceptional opportunity to drive forward an influential organisation delivering real impact in higher education across the Commonwealth.


To apply, please send a cover letter and CV to by close of business on Friday 1st December 2023.

Candidate Pack