Growing the Fairphone team and hiring a Managing Director

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*Updated 1 May: We are no longer accepting applications for the Managing Director vacancy.

If there’s one thing that’s true about running a young social enterprise, it’s that you never have time to sit still. We’re constantly adapting, solving new-to-us problems, making big decisions and learning as we go. But through all these hectic daily activities, we try to always keep our mission in mind: expanding the market for fairer electronics and increasing our impact in the electronics sector.

In my strategy update from December I offered some insight into how we’re working towards that goal. In the first part of this year, to improve our business operations and ambitions for growth, we’ve been directing our attention to two key areas: raising more capital and strengthening our organization. To get there, we are expanding the team and looking for a new Managing Director to join me in the executive board, as well as other exciting positions.

New investments for greater stability

Since my last update, we’ve continued to explore a variety of options for improving our cash flow. Why do we need more capital? In order to achieve our ambitious goals, we can’t support our company with the sales of phones alone. Especially in light of some of the production challenges we’ve been facing, we have to increase our working capital to improve our leverage with suppliers and be able to provide the necessary down payments to ensure a more consistent supply of phones (and spare parts). We also want to invest in growing the organization, as well as dedicate more resources to developing new products.

The Fairphone 2 exhibited during the London Design Week.
Securing additional funding took longer than expected, but the great news is we’re getting there. In the past months, some of our existing shareholders have committed to providing more financial support, and we’re also in talks with some new impact investors. In the near future, these investments will go a long way in helping us overcome some of the issues that have caused the waiting time for available stock. However, this will not have an immediate impact on customers who are currently waiting for their phones.

Expanding and strengthening our team

Besides cash flow, our other major strategic focus is expanding our team to strengthen the organization. And we’re doing it on a variety of levels. The first is through recruitment. If you look at our Jobs page, you’ll see we have quite a few openings right now… and we’ll be posting more soon.

These open positions will help us expand our in-house capabilities. For example, as we focus more on B2B channels like operators and corporate procurement, we need more account management and after-sales support. We also need experts who can improve our supply chain management, help us tackle our growing IT requirements, develop new value chain activities and strengthen our customer support team by improving processes and hiring more technical support specialists.

Fairphone team members sitting down to eat lunch together.
Additionally, we’re in the process of strengthening our governance structure with a two-tier board, consisting of a supervisory board and an executive board. These two boards will provide the necessary guidance and expertise to support the growth of our social enterprise. The executive board includes me and another (new) Managing Director (see the next section for more information). The supervisory board will include a selection of advisors with years of relevant experience and valuable networks in engineering, technology, supply chains, sustainability, finance and more.

Recruiting a new Managing Director

And now for the biggest change in our management structure: Fairphone is looking for a Managing Director! This person will be a member of the executive board (with me) and will be responsible for overseeing Fairphone’s commercial operations, as well as leading the management team.

We’re looking for a seasoned professional who is an independent thinker and has experience in leading transitioning enterprises. Personally, I’m very excited to find someone who can help me lead Fairphone into the future by scaling up our startup into a mature, commercially sustainable social enterprise.

For more information, have a look at the full Managing Director job description (Updated 1 May: We are no longer accepting applications). And please help us spread the word! I hope this blog post is a good introduction to the next steps in our strategy, and we’ll be sharing more insights into our process as we move forward.

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