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ZRG Partners, a fully retained Executive Search Firm, has been engaged by Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) to recruit for an Executive Director, CIEE Asia to replace the incumbent who is retiring early 2018. As a key member of the Senior Management Team, the newly hired Executive Director will lead CIEE’s Japan and Taiwan locations, as well as CIEE’s Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise (WFOE), licensed in Shanghai, China. The executive will play a central role in shaping the long-term strategic direction of the business by managing and scaling CIEE’s existing portfolio of student testing products and international exchange programs. This executive should have a background in consumer and business facing sales organizations, ideally in the education, exchange, or travel industry, and has lead their organization to identify and penetrate new markets, identify and engage with new partners and grow new product lines and revenue. The Executive Director will be challenged with continuously improving operations, financial management, marketing and sales processes. S/He is expected to have broad impact on the future success of this well-positioned company, guiding and directing the organization as it expands its offerings in Asia.

This position is responsible for all exchange business activities under the legal entity of CIEE Japan, a non-profit organization, and Council Travel Co. Ltd - a licensed travel agency owned by CIEE Inc. USA, both located in Tokyo. The incumbent will also oversee CIEE-Taiwan as well as CIEE’s Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise (WFOE), licensed in Shanghai, China. 

Chief among the Executive Director’s responsibilities will be serving as the senior officer for CIEE in Japan—a business headquartered in Tokyo with a branch office in Kyoto.  CIEE-Japan, a 50+ year-old office, maintains a staff of 60+ employees and over US $20M in business, including the sale of English language testing products and international exchange programs. The Executive Director will be chiefly responsible for all aspects of CIEE-Japan business operations and will manage a Taipei-based Director responsible for CIEE-Taiwan and CIEE’s WFOE in China.  Major duties will include budget oversight; staff management; new business development; legal compliance; sales and marketing; IT maintenance; and strategy development. The Executive will be charged growing the existing business; designing and launching new product lines and services; and engaging the expanding the company’s portfolio of B-to-C operations and marketing.  S/he will lead the organization to identify and penetrate new markets, grow revenue and continuously improve the sales and marketing processes. To facilitate this growth and development, the Executive Director will collaborate and consult with colleagues, external partners, stakeholders and key governmental agencies, domestically and abroad.

As a member of the senior team, she or he will report to the Executive Vice President for Exchanges, based in Washington, DC, USA.

Strategic Initiatives:

  • Champion the CIEE brand and their mission, contributing positively to the company’s reputation and impact;
  • Exhibit good stewardship over their resources;
  • Be an active participant in transforming the way that people view the future and the role they can play in shaping it;
  • Bring their best each day as a member of the company, contributing insights and ideas that move the team forward;
  • Develop and maintain effective collaborative working relationships with internal stakeholders;
  • Protect CIEE’s value by maintaining confidentiality of information;
  • Hold self and others accountable for creating an inclusive culture;
  • Drive results through others, focusing on accountability to performance metrics, value drivers, and the strategic plan;
  • Build a reputation as an employer of choice, one top professionals want to join;
  • Prepare new members of the team to succeed through active engagement in onboarding and training activities;
  • Develop and maintain a comprehensive understanding of the company’s target customers, core products and services, the students’ journeys and strategic priorities;
  • Work with the head of sales to (1) craft an end-to-end sales and modern marketing strategy which grows revenue, aligning these sales and marketing objectives with the company’s business strategy. And (2) develop key performance metrics and dashboards that help the Sales and marketing teams focus on performance and value drivers;
  • Ensure that the CIEE brand is well-represented at sites and all regional programs are well-represented in CIEE marketing materials.

Operational Management:

  • Maintain overall responsibility for staff in compliance with local employment laws and CIEE employment policies and procedures;
  • Provide day-to-day management senior leaders, including setting expectations, managing performance, recordkeeping, and ensuring staff have the resources and tools to succeed;
  • Work closely with the teams to negotiate agreements/maintain relationships with customers and academic institutions within Japan and Taiwan;
  • Manage IT infrastructure needs, including ensuring country equipment meets CIEE standards;
  • Ensure on-time and accurate staff completion of deliverables throughout the year, including program quality reports, marketing input, and a range of administrative tasks;
  • Manage effective and expedient response to all health, safety, and security incidents;
  • Work closely with CIEE management team and staff on monitoring and mitigation of local risks, including possible political disruptions and natural disasters;
  • Financial management and legal compliance:
  • Develop annual program budgets in consultation with CIEE management team and monitor country financial performance;
  • In conjunction with Finance Department, oversee financial controls protocols and train staff on financial systems;
  • Coordinate and lead on-going management of CIEE legal entities within Japan, Taiwan, and China and determine best legal structure for existing and new operations;
  • Ensure that all required financial reporting is accomplished by established deadlines;
  • Maintain all documentation related to program facilities and equipment, including current leases for all facilities;
  • Perform other duties as assigned.


  • Bachelor’s degree required, Masters in Business Administration or equivalent a plus;
  • At least ten years’ work experience with significant hands-on managerial experience in business operations, with at least 5 years of experience in a senior leadership role within a multinational business;
  • Ideally, the executive will have experience in a consumer facing sales business such as travel or education products or services in the Japanese and/or international markets. It is crucial that this executive have knowledge of Japanese culture, education system and business environments;
  • S/he must understand the dynamics of the Japanese marketplace and the use of latest technology and trends in marketing, i.e., social media, net promoter index, to attract new consumers;
  • A proven track record of conceiving and developing strategies and plans to promote new businesses;
  • Proven ability to lead a team through the complexities and challenges of a broad range of operational, programmatic issues;
  • Experience developing, implementing, and managing projects and business processes on a large scale;
  • Experience managing multiple teams (i.e. a manager of managers);
  • Experience developing and managing a budget of US $1+M;
  • Fluency in English and Japanese (written and oral);
  • Ability to travel domestically and overseas.

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