Hiring the Chief Safety Officer at the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety

21 January 2020 by Sean Desouza
blog author

​"Acre understood the uniqueness of the situation and difficulties of dealing with the tripartite group involved. They enabled us to find the perfect team to launch with from around the globe and were truly helpful as we set the foundation up. We couldn't have done it without them." - Andy York, Accord Steering Committee Member

The Accord is a ground-breaking agreement between over 200 global retail brands and the world’s two largest trade unions, with the aim of improving the safety conditions of approximately 3 million garment workers in Bangladesh. With a limited time frame to launch, Acre was retained to hire the first two employees – the Executive Director and Chief Safety Inspector, both rare profiles, yet vital to the success of the initiative.

Niche Candidates:

The brief required extremely niche experience and the need for candidates to relocate to Bangladesh. Acre engaged an internal project team of five and a global research drive was executed. This resulted in a market map of 410 individuals across both roles. The shortlists were comprised of individuals based in the UK, Bangladesh, North America, and the Middle East.

Innovative Selection:

Acre developed a bespoke interview process for a six person interview panel based across three continents. Prior to the interviews, Acre hosted conference calls to delegate responsibilities to the panel and to brief them on the interview format. Acre facilitated eleven first interviews on their video conference platform attending each one to ensure smooth running. Final interviews were conducted with a panel of six interviewers and five candidates. Acre coordinated and chaired every interview over two days.

Ongoing Support:

As the Accord was in start-up phase, Acre supported in a number of ways:

  • Created the employment contract template for the new hires and drafted offer letters.

  • Coordinated insurances for the new hires and engaged tax advisors to ensure expat packages were structured correctly.

  • Identified and engaged an expat specialist to manage specific logistical items such as work permitting and relocation.


Both initial positions were filled, and in addition, based on the calibre of candidates presented, the Accord hired a third candidate (a second Executive Director) in order to accelerate the program. All three are considered to be international leaders in their field and were sourced from Canada, the US, and UK. The entire assignment was completed within three and a half months from the initial conversation. Having placed the Leadership Team, the Accord now employs almost 200 staff.