ESO Vacancy Notice: Head of Information Technology



Head of ESO Information Technology

Within the Directorate of Engineering, the IT Unit is responsible for providing IT services to the whole organization. This includes mission critical IT services that underpin the operation of observing facilities at the ESO Observatories (and the subsequent storage of the observation data) and the provision of more ‘general’ IT Services that underpin the operation of the ESO office based business functions (e.g. telephony and email). Following a recent restructuring, three previously independent IT functions have been merged to form a single consolidated ESO wide IT Unit. ESO is recruiting a Head of IT to lead this new IT Unit. This new IT Unit has approximately 60 (full time and outsourced third party) technical and managerial staff, located at the Garching, Vitacura and Paranal sites.


Main Duties and Responsibilities: Reporting to the Director of Engineering, the Head of IT will be fully responsible for shaping and leading the new ESO IT Unit. The successful candidate will in particular:

  • Provide the leadership and vision to manage and develop the new ESO IT Unit, and to ensure that the new ESO IT Unit operates as one combined and fully integrated unit (and not as independent teams), with a common and united vision, goals and operational practices - across all sites;
  • Provide line management for direct reports and ensure that required standards of professional performance and behaviour are known and adhered to by direct reports and by all other ESO IT personnel (both ESO staff members and third party staff);
  • Ensure that there is a clearly defined, documented and relevant technical strategy within ESO IT, and that this strategy is followed across all operational sites and teams;
  • Develop and ensure adherence to technical standards;
  • Develop, maintain and ensure adherence to IT policies across the organization;
  • Ensure that IT builds and maintains a strong relationship with the ESO organizational units in Garching, Santiago and the Observatories and that the quality and scope of the IT Services being delivered meets the evolving requirements of the ESO business;
  • Develop a culture, with supporting processes and procedures to continously improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the ESO IT Unit as a key service provider to ESO;
  • Manage the relationship with the primary ESO outsourced service provider(s), and define the key service requirements for contract re-negotiations.


Reports to: Director of Engineering



  • Minimum 5 years of experience in each of the following areas:
  • Senior management experience within an IT Operational environment (at level of Director, Head of Operations);
  • In managing multi-site (multi-country) operational environments;
  • In managing the provision of mission-critical IT Services / systems (e.g. real time production systems);
  • In assessing and planning IT operational capabilities, performance improvement, and/or transformational change;
  • In developing and managing IT strategy and business alignment, IT governance, IT management, solution-development practices, service-management practices, enterprise architecture, sourcing, infrastructure and emerging technologies.
  • Experience in managing outsource service providers and 3rd party technical resources;
  • As a minimum qualified ITIL v2 Managers Level;
  • Experience of operational IT management in an academic/research environment (e.g. multi-platform environments, highly technically proficient user community).


Key Competencies:

  • Strong interpersonal, communication and negotiation skills, and ability to foster effective team working;
  • Ability to inspire, lead, set the vision and strategy for an IT operational unit;
  • Confidence in challenging established ways of working and evolve new practices appropriate to the organisation´s future challenges;
  • Ability to listen to customers and adapt own principles and ideas to the needs of the organisation;
  • Positive and flexible attitude to look into solutions for the presented problems taking in account the boundary conditions;
  • Tenacity and commitment to deliver and be accountable for results;
  • Ability to interact with senior management team and adapt style as needed for technical and non-technical audiences;
  • Ability to present information or draft material in a clear and logical manner.


Qualifications: University Degree in Computer Science or equivalent


Language Skills: Full command of English (written as well as spoken) as well as basic knowledge of German. Knowledge of Spanish would be an asset.


Duty Station: Garching near Munich. Due to the importance of the Santiago office and the three observational sites, it is required that the Head of IT will spend approximately 30-40% of her/his time in Chile.


Career Path: VI/ VII


Application: If you are interested in working in areas of frontline technology and in a stimulating international environment, please visit ( for further details. 

Applicants are invited to apply online via our recruitment portal Applications must be completed in English and should include a motivation letter and your CV.

The closing date for applications is 12 October 2013.

Although recruitment preference will be given to nationals of ESO Member States (members are: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom) no nationality is in principle excluded.

The post is equally open to suitably qualified female and male applicants.


More information: