Chief Information Officer

Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch

Software Engineering
Multiple locations
Posted on Friday, June 7, 2024

Multiple Office Locations Considered
Application Deadline: 4 July, 2024

The Chief Information Officer (CIO) will provide strategic and tactical Information Technology and Security leadership across all functions at Human Rights Watch (“HRW”), including fact-finding tools, publishing, knowledge management, human resources, fundraising and operations to provide a secure, scalable and robust infrastructure to support HRW’s highly distributed global organization. As a key member of the operations and leadership team, the CIO will be a partner and advisor to the senior leadership, the board of directors, and the wider organization.

The CIO will play a critical leadership role in defining and communicating HRW’s technology strategy, including a cloud-based systems architecture and will be responsible for building, operating, and securing all significant technology within HRW. The CIO will also manage the Information Security team to implement and maintain an information security risk management program and support in incident response in coordination with the Director of Physical Security. The CIO will prepare for and enable a future digital transformation of how HRW executes its core mission of investigating human rights violations, exposing them, and demanding change.

The technology portfolio includes the tools needed for digital advocacy and targeted communications, knowledge management systems, digital (text, video, and audio) publishing stacks, ML/AI tools to automate investigations where possible, and critically the evolution and integration of marketing, finance, human resources, monitoring and evaluation, and other enterprise IT systems.

HRW investigates and reports on abuses happening in all corners of the world. The organization is roughly 550 people of 70-plus nationalities and includes country experts, lawyers, journalists, and others who work to protect the most at risk, from vulnerable minorities and civilians in wartime, to refugees and children in need. It directs its advocacy towards governments, armed groups, and businesses, pushing them to change or enforce their laws, policies, and practices. To ensure its independence, it refuses government funding and carefully reviews all donations to ensure that they are consistent with its policies, mission, and values. HRW partners with organizations large and small across the globe to protect embattled activists and to help hold abusers to account and bring justice to victims.

HRW's researchers conduct work in over 90 countries, uncovering facts that create an undeniable record of human rights abuses. The organization writes detailed reports, news releases and tells the stories of what it finds, sharing them via social media with millions of online followers each day. News media often report on its investigations, furthering its reach. While it relies on in-person interviews, its research method has evolved to use technology – whether it is through using satellite imagery to track the destruction of villages and city blocks or mining big data for patterns in arrest rates or the deportation of immigrants – to deliver unimpeachable facts to those in positions of power to deliver human rights change, including governments, the United Nations, rebel groups, and corporations. HRW has also addressed abuses against those likely to face discrimination, including women, LGBT people, and people with disabilities as well as investigated and brought to light the baseless arrests of activists and political opposition figures. When it comes to ending abuses, some victories are big, and others are merely steps on a much longer journey to change. But each represents progress on the many issues HRW works on around the world. HRW’s work is centered in its commitment to justice, dignity, compassion, and equality.


The Chief Information Officer oversees the Information Technology & Security Divisions which are comprised of approximately 40 staff members who are responsible for all aspects of HRW’s Information Technology and Information Security needs.


Director of Physical Security

Deputy Executive Director & Chief of Programs

Chief Financial Officer

Chief People Officer

Program Director

General Counsel

Senior Advisor on Global Strategy

Chief of Staff and Advisor to the Executive Director

Global Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion


  • Provide the overall vision and leadership for HRW’s technology strategy, working with HRW leadership to build consensus around that vision, and ensure its full integration into HRW’s operations;
  • Outline, plan, and execute organization-wide technology planning and change management including the establishment of technology priorities, and design of a cohesive overall technical architecture;
  • Direct and approve design of technology, policies, standards, procedures, guidelines, goals, metrics, timelines, and training and ensure that they are accessible, well planned, thoroughly tested, and effective;
  • Oversee and monitor the budgets for IT and Information Security and ensure strategic allocation of funds;
  • Oversee and monitor technology change across HRW, developing project management capacity which ensures aligned and effective technology and business change across teams;
  • Lead, develop, support and/or increase the capacity of core technology functions, such as:
  • Enterprise-wide architecture plans;
  • HRW’s online and digital presence;
  • Research tools that enhance, automate, or complement traditional HRW methodologies;
  • Key metrics and their communication to stakeholders, including to support organization-wide monitoring and evaluation efforts;
  • Vendor relationships and management for hardware, software, and communications; and
  • Off-the-shelf and customized technologies and their applicability to HRW’s requirements.
  • Appropriately assess and manage risks related to HRW technology solutions, security, data archiving, publishing, and information sharing, demonstrating consideration for the safety of HRW’s staff, sources, constituents, and partners;
  • Oversee HRW’s Information Security program and team, ensuring key assets, staff, and stakeholders are safeguarded from harm or disruption from actors who may seek to disrupt, target, or surveil HRW’s work - including both commercial and emerging threats;
  • Oversee effective coordination, coherence, and communication on technology related issues among staff in technology functions and all other parts of HRW;
  • Collaborate with sectoral and industry bodies to facilitate collaboration on shared technology, safety, and digital problems;
  • Engage in and strengthen technology-related high-level fundraising;
  • Lead, motivate and mentor direct reports, including communicating clear expectations, setting performance objectives, providing regular and timely constructive feedback, ensuring balanced workload, providing guidance on professional growth, and monitoring staff well- being as it pertains to stress and resilience issues and self-care;
  • Create and promote an inclusive and positive work environment including in recruiting new technology staff, soliciting diverse points of views, supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, and proactively addressing any bias or discrimination; and
  • Perform other responsibilities as required.


The CIO will be an expert, collaborative, innovative and visionary leader with outstanding technical, planning, and financial skills as well as the capacity and passion to play a leadership role in a global team. It is critical that the CIO possess exceptional managements skills, an ability to motivate and inspire a global and experienced team, and a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Both high intellectual and emotional intelligence are critical in order to communicate and influence effectively within a global, highly distributed organization.

The successful candidate will have at least 12-15 years of relevant experience in technology or related work, including experience in an international organization or business, with at least five (5) years in a senior management position. A bachelor’s degree, or equivalent experience, in Computer Science, Engineering or a relevant field is required. A master’s degree is desirable.

Ideally the candidate will have strong implementation experience with cloud-based technologies, particularly Microsoft, NetSuite, and Salesforce. Candidates should have experience in cyber-security risk management and incident management and demonstrate a practical approach to securing critical systems. Recent experience in how broadcast and digital content is originated, delivered, and managed would also be very useful.

Required Qualifications/Skills

Specifically, the CIO should have the following skills and qualifications:

  • Knowledge of and experience creating a unified technology vision across an organization or business, bringing different constituents into a single strategy, and linking complex technologies to operational and programmatic priorities.
  • Strong understanding of cyber security tools, technologies and methodologies.
  • Proven ability to execute priorities and manage phased implementations.
  • Proven track record of leadership, management and organizational skills, including the ability to lead a diverse and inclusive team of staff in multiple global locations.
  • Strong vision of trends around technology and their ability to support the current and future state of an international human rights organization, and the ability to communicate effectively about those trends and how to respond to them.
  • A proven depth of technical knowledge across functional disciplines which demonstrates an ability to effectively lead technology design, engineering, product and systems management, and project management.
  • A track record of identifiable and measurable successes in prioritizing, managing, and advising on complex projects, implementing operational change, and ensuring high-quality deliverables.
  • A track record of, and passion for, being a collaborative team player who can empathetically engage with staff at all levels and across jurisdictions; influencing and persuasion skills.
  • A strong operational background prioritizing process effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Demonstrated awareness and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and orientations.
  • Commitment to promoting human rights and an understanding of responsible and ethical technology implementations.
  • Track record of supervising senior professional staff.
  • Excellent presentation, communication, public speaking, and listening skills.
  • Ability to coach colleagues to understand stakeholders’ perspectives and to handle high-level stakeholder challenges.

Salary and Benefits: HRW seeks exceptional applicants and offers comprehensive compensation and benefits. HRW can offer a relocation assistance package and immigration support for this role if required, and people of all nationalities are encouraged to apply. If this position is based in the United States, the salary range would be USD 245,000-266,000. Salary ranges outside of the United States vary based on location.

Location: HRW is flexible about the location of this position, but the candidate must be based in one of HRW’s major global office locations and have a flexible schedule to accommodate working with colleagues in multiple time zones. This role will require both international and domestic travel.

How to Apply: Please apply immediately or by July 4, 2024 by visiting our online job portal at and attaching a cover letter and a CV or resume, preferably as PDF files. No calls or email inquiries, please. Only complete applications will be reviewed, and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

If you are experiencing technical difficulties with your application submission or if you require accommodations during the application process, please email Due to the large response, application submissions via email will not be accepted and inquiries regarding the status of applications will go unanswered.

Human Rights Watch is strong because it is diverse. We actively seek a diverse applicant pool and encourage candidates of all backgrounds to apply. Human Rights Watch does not discriminate on the basis of disability, age, gender identity and expression, national origin, race and ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or criminal record. We welcome all kinds of diversity. Our employees include people who are parents and nonparents, the self-taught and university educated, and from a wide span of socio-economic backgrounds and perspectives on the world. Human Rights Watch is an equal opportunity employ

Human Rights Watch is an international human rights monitoring and advocacy organization known for its in-depth investigations, its incisive and timely reporting, its innovative and high- profile advocacy campaigns, and its success in changing the human rights-related policies and practices of influential governments and international institutions.