Under Secretary for Administration

Smithsonian Institution
District of Columbia, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Apr 19, 2021
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

Smithsonian Institution
Under Secretary for Administration

The Smithsonian Institution seeks a dynamic, innovative and collaborative leader as the next Under Secretary for Administration.

The Smithsonian Institution was established by an act of Congress in 1846 as an independent federal trust instrumentality, a unique public-private partnership that has proven its value as a cultural and scientific resource for more than 170 years. The Smithsonian Institution stands at the center of the rich scientific, artistic, and cultural heritage of the United States. The Institution’s 174-year-old mandate – the increase and diffusion of knowledge – requires broad vision, expansive reach, clear priorities, and dynamic leadership.

The Under Secretary for Administration shapes and directs a significant portion of the Smithsonian’s activities, with authority and responsibility for the planning, oversight, management, and stability of all major financial and administrative activities of the Institution. The Smithsonian seeks an Under Secretary for Administration who can team with the respective Under Secretaries for Museum and Culture, Science and Research, and Education. These positions all report to the Deputy Secretary who integrates decision-making and resource allocation for the Secretary. Additionally, the position interfaces with other senior leadership in communications, fundraising, legal, equal employment and supplier diversity as well as the Board of Regents.

The Smithsonian’s Under Secretary for Administration will need to manage complexity, engage with a broad variety of internal and external constituencies, forge strategic relationships, embrace change and new ways of doing business, and provide transformative leadership. The successful candidate will be an active proponent of One Smithsonian approaches, a creative problem solver, and a skilled manager who will lead the Institution’s major administrative functions in providing exquisite service. The next Under Secretary for Administration will have the chance to reshape the Institution’s infrastructure of services to create a high-performing network of activities supporting the Smithsonian’s mission. Critically, the Institution is embarking on the construction and programing of two new national museums in the area of American Women’s history and Latino history. The Under Secretary for Administration oversees a team of more than 2500 employees.

The ideal candidate will have ten more years of executive level administrative and financial management experience with demonstrated success in a role of complexity in government, academe, or the private sector (museum experience is a plus). In addition, the Under Secretary for Administration will have experience with developing and implementing business, financial, and administrative strategies and solutions for complex organizations, as well as experience leading large-scale capital construction initiatives. A bachelor’s degree is required. 

Nominations and expressions of interest will be received until a list of candidates is put forward for final consideration. Review of applications will begin immediately. Applications and nominations should be submitted directly to Korn Ferry. Applicants should submit a curriculum vitae and letter of interest, addressing the responsibilities above, electronically to SmithsonianUSAdmin@kornferry.com

Rosa-Lyn Morris, Principal, and Victoria Antolini, Senior Associate
Korn Ferry

The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.

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