ICRC appoints new management team to lead shake-up of organisation

ICRC headquarters, Geneva (Credit: ICRC)

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Thursday announced a new management team to lead its six revamped departments as part of a shake-up the organisation’s structure laid out last year. 

The new directors will begin their four-year term at the beginning of July, under the leadership of Robert Mardini, the ICRC’s director-general. They are:

  • Nils Melzer, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on torture and chair of human rights at the Geneva Academy. Melzer, who has also previously worked for the ICRC, will take up the role of director of international law, policy & humanitarian diplomacy. 
  • Martin Schüepp, currently the ICRC's regional director for Europe and central Asia. He has been named as director of the ICRC’s operations department.

  • Sarah Epprecht-Noetzli, who has worked for the ICRC for over 20 years including as head of delegation in Armenia, will leave her post as deputy director of operations and lead the organisation’s new department of protection and essential services. 

  • Olivier Ray, global affairs adviser to France’s President Emmanuel Macron, will head up mobilisation, movement and partnerships at the ICRC. He previously worked at several French government ministries and the French Development Agency.

  •  Valérie Abrell-Duon, a digital technologies expert who has held several senior positions at big corporations including HP and Procter & Gamble, will lead the ICRC’s  support and digital transformation department. 

  • Claire Hoang Sperandio, deputy director of human resources at the ICRC, will become director of the people and culture department. She previously held roles at JP Morgan , the World Economic Forum and Gavi.

The ICRC launched its recruitment spree in September last year as part of efforts to adapt the organisation to the changing humanitarian landscape and to new challenges that have emerged as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Its work has been further complicated by the recent cyber attack on its computer servers, compromising one its programmes, which helps reunite families separated due to conflict, and putting the data of over 500,000 people at risk. 

Mardini said the new team will be “dedicated to ensuring that the ICRC is able to respond to the most pressing humanitarian challenges of our time  – in all their diversity and complexity – and to have a real impact on the lives of people affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence.”