Chief Executive Officer,
The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA)

Posted: 30 July 2020   |   Full-Time   |  London, United Kingdom


The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) is the professional body for zoos and aquariums throughout Britain and Ireland. The BIAZA membership, currently over 120 members, represents the diversity of zoos and aquariums in Britain and Ireland and this diversity is a strength of BIAZA’s brand. BIAZA leads and supports its members and helps to promote the work of good zoos and aquariums. BIAZA believes that the natural world is intrinsically precious and that zoos and aquariums, through the association, should be a powerful force in the care and conservation of the natural world. BIAZA is committed to being a progressive association.

The BIAZA Office is operates with seven staff (including the CEO). The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) has six direct reports. BIAZA has charitable status and is governed by a Council composed of the Chairs of the Standing Committees and representatives of the Members. The Council also has representatives of the Associate Membership and the British Veterinary Zoological Society. BIAZA is funded by the membership and normally has an annual income of around £430,000 (see below for link to Annual Report 2018).

Much of the work of BIAZA is carried out on a voluntary basis by the members, through the standing committees and associated working groups, in line with BIAZA’s strategy. The BIAZA Office is responsible for the day-to-day running of the Association, coordinating and facilitating the work of the standing committees, and moving forward on priority work streams.

BIAZA has steadily progressed over the last decade and more, building on previous strengths. There are a range of challenges and opportunities coming up over the next few years which BIAZA must be prepared to meet in order to support the membership. The global COVID-19 pandemic has been the biggest single challenge to the zoo and aquarium sector in many decades. Within a matter of days, BIAZA transformed itself to focus heavily on lobbying government for specific support for the sector, as well as on communications and technical support for the membership. The next year and beyond will require a focus on helping our members to recover from this crisis. In addition, BIAZA has started to develop a new strategy that was supposed to begin in 2021, drawing on the CBD post 2020 framework and the UN Sustainable Development Goals to establish a stronger bond with the wider conservation community. The strategy discussions were postponed due to the pandemic and will resume with the new CEO

The role

The new CEO is a charismatic and inspirational leader with a strong empathy for BIAZA’s mission and prepared to work in close partnership with the BIAZA membership to deliver it. The ideal candidate has senior leadership experience. S/he is entrepreneurial and strategic and able to articulate a clear vision and strategy for the Association and lead the team to deliver it. S/he is an engaging communicator with the right mix of gravitas and passion to represent BIAZA effectively and build constructive relationships with a wide range of stakeholders.

Job Description

The role of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) provides leadership to the BIAZA staff and the membership.

This position is responsible for the day-to-day management of the BIAZA Office and BIAZA Office staff, and reports directly to the Chair of BIAZA Council.

The successful candidate will be able to communicate effectively both internally to the membership, and externally. This role requires experience in presenting complex and involved subjects to a wide range of audiences including the membership, press, political bodies and professional associations.

The CEO will coordinate the political work of the Association, working to maintain strong relationships within the political forums of the UK (including its Devolved Governments and Crown Dependencies) and Ireland. They will be comfortable working at an EU level to ensure strong representation for Ireland, and excellent working relationships with the rest of Europe. The CEO will seek to influence decision makers, raise subjects of importance to the membership at civil service and political levels (including asking questions in Parliament and facilitating Adjournment Debates) and promote the work of the BIAZA membership. They will be expected to comment on and answer consultation enquiries on issues pertinent to the zoo and aquarium communities with local government, national government and EU level, drawing on the expertise of the Standing Committees as needed. In addition, the CEO of BIAZA will be actively involved with Westminster’s All Party Parliamentary Group for Zoos and Aquariums.

The CEO will represent the Association in a number of fora including relevant government departments and agencies in the UK and Ireland, parliaments and the IUCN (at National and International level) as well as other zoo associations including EAZA and WAZA. The CEO will also be expected to take on relevant roles within these other associations.

The CEO will develop a range of partnerships, and demonstrate effective project management within these partnerships, to further the work of the Association in achieving our mission and strategy.

The CEO will be responsible for organising and hosting a range of events for the membership and beyond. These will include technical conferences, AGMs, and political interest events as well as other networking events within the membership.

The CEO has responsibility for ensuring that the financial operations of the Association are compliant with relevant legislation and transparent to the membership. The CEO also has responsibility to meet the requirements of the Charity Commission in terms of relevant legislation.

BIAZA operates through a small office team and there may be additional duties outside the main responsibilities of this role

For further information, including the appointment brief and how to apply, please visit:

The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) is the global alliance of regional associations, national federations, zoos and aquariums, dedicated to the care and conservation of animals and their habitats around the world.