Managing Director

We’re looking for a managing director to join the Cooperative AI Foundation, a nascent non-profit with huge potential to improve the safety of future AI. We’ve already got the basics in place: our mission, values, a theory of change, initial funding, a board of stellar trustees, and lots of ideas for activities. Now we need a knowledgeable and energetic leader to bring it all to life.

Deadline: 30 July 2023 23:59 UTC

The Cooperative AI Foundation (CAIF, pronounced “safe”) is a new charitable entity whose mission is to support research that will improve the cooperative intelligence of advanced AI for the benefit of all. This mission is driven by our belief that many of the most important problems facing humanity – climate change, nuclear war, and pandemic preparedness, to name but a few – are problems of cooperation, and that AI will be increasingly important when it comes to solving (or exacerbating) such problems.

Backed by a large philanthropic commitment, our ambition is to build the nascent field of Cooperative AI, improving the ability of AI systems to engender cooperation between humans, machines, and institutions. A more detailed introduction to this field can be found in our recent Nature piece and paper on open problems in Cooperative AI.

The “benefit of all” sits at the heart of everything we do. We are relentless in our ambition to have the greatest possible positive impact, both supporting and trusting our staff (and our external partners) to perform at their best. We strive to learn from our failures, through a culture of curiosity, openness, and compassion, alongside evidence-based reasoning and rigorous evaluation. With a diversity of perspectives and values forming the core of any cooperation problem, we must also practise what we preach: maintaining plurality, equity, and inclusiveness in all that we do.

The Role
The Organisation

This an exciting, varied, and unique opportunity for someone who understands and cares deeply about the need for AI systems to work collaboratively with human beings and/or other AI systems to achieve common goals. You’ll lead the team, alongside the research director (Lewis Hammond, currently acting executive director), to make strategic and prudent decisions, focusing on positive impact as well as proper process. You’ll represent CAIF across partnerships with academia, industry, funders, and the public sector. You’ll be relentless in finding opportunities for CAIF to help build this new field, including increasing access to those otherwise underrepresented in AI. The responsibilities of the managing director will include:

  • Build on CAIF’s existing vision, values, goals, and activities: setting the org structure and hiring roadmap, working with the research director and other technical staff to determine CAIF’s priorities and to track organisational performance;
  • Create and monitor budgets, play a key role in talent acquisition and grantmaking, line manage staff, and oversee all of CAIF’s main activities in order to deliver on its mission and strategy, while staying true to its values and culture;
  • Ensure good governance through fostering productive relationships with the trustees, advisors and other key stakeholders, including the management of board processes and oversight of organisational practices and partnerships;
  • Lead fundraising efforts, to ensure CAIF has a diverse base of funders, and is able to grow and deploy funds at pace whilst maintaining cash reserves, serving as a public face of the foundation alongside the research director.

As a small but growing organisation, it will also sometimes be necessary for the managing director to assist directly with the execution of various programs and activities, alongside hiring for new staff to lead on this execution.

We’re primarily a remote organisation, with regular opportunities to meet colleagues in person (currently based in London, Oxford, Cornwall, and Stockholm).

We’re looking for this role to be full-time. However, we offer lots of flexibility to fit your hours around your life, whether that’s because you’re most productive at a particular time of day or because you need to do the school run. If you think this role would be perfect for you, but you need it to be part-time, please get in touch to discuss this with us.


Salaries at CAIF account for demonstrated competencies and location-based cost of living. For this role we expect salaries offered to be between £80,000 and £100,000 (or the equivalent in your home currency). A successful candidate with less prior experience should also expect their salary to increase in the role, contingent on performance.

Our benefits package includes home office equipment; travel expenses to co-locate with colleagues; 33 days of paid holiday (including bank holidays); a 5% pension contribution; a generous learning and development budget; and health and wellbeing support.


The application deadline is 30 July 2023 11:59 UTC. Please apply using this form. You will be asked to submit a CV and respond to a few short questions. Your data will be processed in accordance with our privacy policy.

‍‍Candidates who succeed in passing the application review process will be invited to a short interview. We hope to complete these by mid August. If you are likely to be unavailable during the first two weeks of August, please let us know and we will try to be flexible. In particular, it will be possible to complete some phone interviews before the closing date in July for early applicants. The next stages will consist of a short remote work test, followed by a presentation and final interview. We hope to communicate final decisions by the end of September.‍

We are committed to fostering a culture of inclusion, and we encourage individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences to apply, particularly from underrepresented groups. If you have specific needs or circumstances that require accommodation, please contact us.

An ideal candidate would have:

  • Excellent leadership and judgement ranging from long-term strategy to the day-to-day running of an organisation;
  • A strong ability to manage people (ideally including other managers), with good interpersonal and communication skills;
  • ‍Excellent organisational and project management skills, including budgeting and governance processes;
  • The ability to coordinate with a wide range of external stakeholders, especially academia, but also industry, non-profits, and the public sector;
  • Ambition, motivation, and excitement with respect to CAIF's mission, and an interest in developing further expertise in AI.

‍Please note that prior knowledge of cooperative AI is not required, though we do expect applicants to have an interest in, and a basic understanding of, current AI progress, as well as the ability to develop this further. Other relevant knowledge or experience, such as of grantmaking or fundraising, is desirable but not strictly necessary. Finally, we’ll also be looking for alignment with our organisational values.

Application Process