Recruiting exceptional leaders for mission-driven organizations.

Chief Administrative Officer Northbrook, IL

Underwriters Laboratories Inc., a trusted and globally recognized leader in safety science research and standards development, seeks a dynamic, forward thinking executive to serve as its Inaugural Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). Building on its legacy and 126-year history of success, Underwriters Laboratories has embraced a new strategic plan committed to science, innovation, and discovery in areas of global societal importance. The organization is launching a major expansion of the research enterprise, including significant growth in its research staff aimed at enabling new breakthroughs in energy storage, chemical safety, data science, and fire safety, among other areas. As a key member of the Underwriters Laboratories executive leadership team, the CAO will provide essential leadership and guidance as Underwriters Laboratories capitalizes on existing strengths in order to create a world-class research organization intended to address a wide variety of safety challenges and emerging threats. As Underwriters Laboratories implements a pioneering research strategy, leverages new and existing relationships in academia and industry, and attracts world class research talent, the CAO will build the necessary organizational structure and support systems to position Underwriters Laboratories as a world leader in safety science research, standards development, education, and outreach.

Underwriters Laboratories Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance public safety through the discovery and application of scientific knowledge. Underwriters Laboratories conducts rigorous independent research and analyzes safety data, convenes experts worldwide to address safety risks, shares knowledge through safety education and public outreach initiatives, and develops standards to guide the safe, sustainable commercialization of evolving technologies. The organization employs collaborative and scientific approaches with partners and stakeholders to drive innovation and progress toward improving safety, security and sustainability, ultimately enhancing societal well-being. It is the parent organization of the for-profit business that oversees the testing, inspection, certification, auditing and validation of products around the world.

Underwriters Laboratories is embarking on ambitious growth in the breadth, depth, and impact of the safety mission and is striving to establish the world’s preeminent safety science research institution. To this end, Underwriters Laboratories will build upon its talented team of scientists and engineers and assemble a world-class faculty of resident and visiting scholars, safety advocates, standards experts, and business leaders who will amplify the organization’s mission, impact, and stature. In developing this roadmap for future growth and success, Underwriters Laboratories has engaged the expertise of Bridgespan, a leading global non-profit consulting firm known for its expertise in developing social change models and measurements of impact.

In building Underwriters Laboratories’ world-class research presence, the CAO will be responsible for shaping a sustainable organizational infrastructure, effectively managing human capital and fiscal assets, building a diverse and highly effective team, fostering collaboration with key stakeholders, and leveraging the collective strength of the UL brand. Underwriters Laboratories is uniquely positioned to demonstrate global safety science and standards development leadership through existing assets, which include an unrivaled reputation and a highly fertile environment for research, innovation and sustained growth. Reporting to the President and CEO, the CAO will work in close collaboration with Underwriters Laboratories board members, the executive leadership team, researchers, and administrators, as well as key external constituents and industry partners to maximize interdisciplinary and cross-organizational activity and impact. In concert with the newly established Chief Research Officer (CRO), the CAO is also responsible for strategic plan development, organizational effectiveness, and resource management.

The ideal candidate will be an exceptional leader who brings demonstrated success in both high level strategic planning and day-to-day operational execution in a complex research enterprise housed within academic, industry, or governmental settings. The CAO must be an entrepreneurial leader who has the necessary ability and drive to effectively manage and allocate resources in the creation of a world-class research organization. Success in this role will require effective organizational and fiscal management skills, strong written and oral articulation, and a passion for Underwriters Laboratories’ mission. The CAO must be an enterprising leader who is flexible in approach and comfortable with the ambiguity that comes with being a part of a rapidly growing and evolving enterprise. 

Applications, Inquiries, and Nominations

Screening of complete applications will begin immediately and continue until the completion of the search process. Inquiries, nominations, referrals, and resumes with cover letters should be sent via the Isaacson, Miller website for the search: Electronic submission of materials is strongly encouraged.

Pam Pezzoli is leading this search with Jane McMahon.

Underwriters Laboratories Inc. is committed to hiring and retaining a qualified diverse workforce. Underwriters Laboratories Inc. is proud to be an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer, making decisions without regard to race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, national origin, age, veteran status, disability, or any other protected class. 

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