Group COO

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

23 December 2020


The Role:

At RENEW, we see opportunities in Africa where others too often only notice the problems. We invest rather than provide handouts, by finding promising businesses, connecting them to investors around the world and growing them into world-class companies. We do this because we believe that many growing businesses together create the engine that lifts entire nations out of poverty. Our vision is to become the best middle market investment firm in Africa and investing in 20 countries across the continent, and we’re looking for people that get excited about our values and vision to join our team.

Since 2012, we have been pioneering an innovative blended-finance model that partners with the development community and focuses on investing in high-potential small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Africa. This blended model allows us to invest in smaller deals that are often overlooked by larger investors but are too big for microfinance. We then help these companies build disciplined, gender-smart management systems and teams and grow them into market leaders. As a result of our investment work in Ethiopia, we have become one of the most active SME investment firms in East Africa, and the Impact Angel Network or IAN (our network of angel investors) has grown to become the largest North American-based angel network dedicated to investing in SMEs in Africa.

We are inviting passionate and qualified candidates to apply to join our portfolio value creation team as Group COO based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and with work assignments around the region. The Group COO will work with the other members of the value creation team to implement a standard suite of systems across RENEW’s portfolio companies in order to execute the company’s growth plan. In some cases, the Group COO will stand in as a company COO, and train company employees on best practices and skills needed to be an effective COO.

In candidates, we look for those who align with our values: loyalty, integrity, trustworthiness, commitment and a trailblazing attitude. We welcome challenges and face them head-on each and every day! What we do is not easy, but it is rewarding and forces us to grow. As such, we hire individuals who are committed to their work, take pride in what they do and are relentless in advancing projects forward in a systematic manner. Additionally, the people that flourish at RENEW are mission-driven; they see the big picture and the long-term result of their work and sincerely wish to make a lasting economic impact on the continent of Africa. If this sounds like you, we encourage you to apply.

In addition to having experience successfully operating companies in Africa or other similar frontier markets, the candidate will need to be culturally adaptive and emotionally intelligent, be a patient and excellent communicator and trainer, be hard working and a fast learner, and capable of handling a diverse range of tasks and problems that often arise in frontier markets. She or he will receive comprehensive onboarding and regular support from RENEW’s leadership team and be involved in a high-impact role across multiple companies and geographies.


The successful candidate will help design and lead the establishment of operationally excellent companies in RENEW’s portfolio. This position will report to RENEW’s investment management team and in some cases to the companies’ Boards of Directors. More specifically, this role will be responsible for the following:

Evaluating new investment opportunities and designing and implementing growth plans

  • Working with the RENEW investment team to evaluate companies prior to an investment – conducting various elements of operational due diligence on firms


  • Working with the RENEW investment team to develop operational investment plans for pipeline and portfolio companies
  • Designing long-term and detailed tactical growth and/or turn around plans to improve performance and hit financial plan targets for pipeline and portfolio companies
  • Ensuring projects are delivered to on time, within budget and at the highest quality standards

Setting up, leading and transitioning improved operational capacity of portfolio companies

  • Ensuring portfolio companies have the production team, machines, systems and facilities needed to implement the company’s turn-around/growth plans
  • Writing, implementing and refining standard operating procedures
  • Hiring and training operational staff
  • Overseeing and in some cases leading operational staff
  • Developing operational reporting systems for the company
  • Trouble-shooting issues and improving operational output of companies
  • Working with consultants and auditors to ensure the company passes required certifications (i.e. ISO)
  • Implementing and institutionalizing best-in-class operational concepts like LEAN, and KAIZEN
  • Ensuring the company meets RENEW’s standards for operational quality, receives appropriate certifications, and exceeds customers’ expectations
  • Foster business acumen and RENEW behaviours that enhance accountability and ownership of outcomes at all levels of companies’ management


Overseeing performance management, reporting and effective teamwork

  • Coordinating with RENEW’s various teams to ensure smooth communication and project work flow
  • Working closely with the companies’ leadership teams (CFO, Factory Manager, Quality Control Manager and Marketing Manager) to carefully track performance against targets and dashboards and expenditures and cash flow against budgets and projections.
  • Providing sufficient, accurate and timely data, analysis and reports to RENEW’s Asset Management division, and helping to prepare investor reports
  • Providing updates to the Board, to the CFO regarding proposed budgets and cash flow projections, and to other management about operational targets vs. actuals
  • Evaluating the performance of staff and design and implement incentive programs


Regulatory compliance

  • Ensuring that all activities and operations are performed in compliance with local, regional, and federal regulations and laws governing business operations
  • Ensuring the company and staff are operating at the highest levels of ethical and moral standards in line with RENEW’s governing policies



  • Bachelor's degree in the field of business administration, manufacturing, engineering, or equivalent
  • 10+ years of experience as a COO, manufacturing manager or production manager, preferably in a frontier market
  • 6+ years of management experience
  • Excellent leadership and interpersonal skills and a demonstrated ability in providing clear expectations and responsibilities
  • Knowledge of and experience helping companies get food safety procedures and standards such as ISSO, HAACP (as stated above) and other operational practices (LEAN, KAIZEN, etc.)
  • Excellent English communication skills - verbal and written; must speak and write English fluently
  • Excellent computer skills and proficiency in Excel, Word, Power Point, and internet communication
  • Excellent time management and organizational skills
  • Work experience in Africa would be favored

Location and Travel Opportunities:

The position is based out of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with frequent local and regional travel and occasional international travel.

About RENEW:

We invite you to learn more about RENEW by visiting our website and viewing the following videos.

RENEW’s Portfolio: Our Portfolio

An Introduction to the IAN: How the Impact Angel Network Makes Investments in Africa

Application Process:

RENEW invites qualified applicants to 1) submit their CV, along with 2) a cover letter describing their qualifications related to the requirements for this position, their salary history and expectations and the reasons for applying, to Applicants should include their undergraduate, graduate GPAs in their CVs, and their favorite movie.

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