Chief Executive Officer - BIAZA

Posted: 25 March 2019   |   Full-Time   |  London

Job Details


The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) is the professional body for zoos and aquariums throughout Britain and Ireland, representing over 120 members. BIAZA leads and supports its members and helps to promote the work of our good zoos and aquariums. BIAZA believes that the natural world is intrinsically precious and aims to be a powerful force in the care and conservation of the natural world.

The BIAZA Office is small with four full-time permanent positions, three part-time permanent positions (two of which are a job share), one full time contract position and one part-time contract position. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) receives 6 direct reports. BIAZA has charitable status and is governed by a Council formed from the BIAZA Officers, 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 has an annual income of around £430,000. (see below for link to Annual Report 2017).

The BIAZA membership currently stands at over 120 members representing the diversity of zoos and aquariums within Britain and Ireland. The diversity of the membership is considered a strength of the BIAZA brand.

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, including the changing political landscape in the UK and the EU. 2020 also sees significant events within the conservation community, such as the finalisation of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) post 2020 framework, and the IUCN World Conservation Congress in France. In addition, BIAZA will be looking to develop a new strategy to begin in 2021, drawing on the CBD post 2020 framework and the UN Sustainable Development Goals to establish a strong bond with the conservation community. BIAZA is committed to being a progressive association.

Our new CEO will have a strong empathy for BIAZA’s mission and work in a strong partnership with the BIAZA membership to deliver it. He/she will have senior leadership experience gained in the zoo or similar related sector. He/she will be able to articulate a clear vision and strategy for the Association and lead our team to deliver this. We are looking for a visible leader with credibility and passion who is able to represent BIAZA with a wide variety of stakeholders.

Job Purpose

To further BIAZA’s mission and vision, providing leadership to the BIAZA staff and membership

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. He/she will be comfortable working at an EU level to ensure strong representation for Ireland, and excellent working relationships with the rest of Europe.  Our 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.  He/she 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 Defra/APHA, Parliament 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, 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. Responsibilities

  • Lead the BIAZA Office and its staff in the achievement of the mission of the Association
  • Advise and support BIAZA Council in fulfilment of their responsibilities
  • Communicate effectively both internally and externally to the BIAZA membership.
  • Build a strong working relationship with the Chair of BIAZA Council, advising, updating and responding as appropriate
  • Develop and implement the rolling five-year strategic plan as agreed by Council, in consultation with  Council and the relevant Committees as appropriate
  • Respond, with the support of BIAZA’s Communications and Membership Manager, to media enquiries with interviews in a range of media types, and proactively elicit media attention to the work of BIAZA and its membership
  • Drive the political work of the Association to achieve positive relationships with political decision makers and legislative implementers (e.g. Defra and APHA) to better support delivery of the Association’s objectives
  • Ensure the maintenance of effective relationships with other zoo associations, particularly EAZA and WAZA, and represent the BIAZA membership at these associations
  • Ensure legislative compliance is maintained particularly in terms of finance and charity governance
  • Ensure a sustainable financial position for BIAZA and develop and deliver a long-term financial strategy which supports delivery of the mission
  • Ensure the membership are effectively represented at relevant meetings and groups such as the Zoos Expert Committee
  • Ensure the management and needs of the BIAZA Office staff are met
  • Ensure the Association continues to progress through staff capacity and organisational development to meet the needs of the membership in a changing political and conservation landscape
Working Arrangements The position of Chief Executive Officer is a full time permanent position.  There may be some weekend and out of hours work as required, for example, at conferences and events. There is a holiday allowance of 25 days a year pro rata. The salary offered is competitive with regard to the scope and responsibilities of the position, and will be dependent on the background and experience of the candidate. Personal Specifications BIAZA is a small team working to progress the mission and objectives of the Association.  The successful applicant must be inspirational and passionate about BIAZA’s mission, be a good communicator with a dynamic nature and strong teamworking skills.  The successful applicant must also be prepared to undertake substantial travel to the membership and meetings, including visits around member sites. Required skills
  • Significant senior leadership experience, preferably at Director level, in a diverse and complex organisation
  • Successful track record in building and maintaining high performance teams
  • Exceptional communication skills and the ability to present complex and involved subjects to a wide range of audiences; excellent public speaking skills
  • An ability to project manage a process integral to further the development of standards within the BIAZA membership
  • Excellent ability to work collaboratively and to deal with sensitive and confidential information
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to work effectively with the diversity of the BIAZA membership, including experience in working with Boards and Committees
  • Significant experience of developing strategies based on evidence and evaluation of options; experience with facilitation processes would be advantageous
  • An awareness of the zoo community and the complexity of issues associated with an accreditation system
  • Proven skills in project management and goal-orientated task prioritisation
Preferred skills
  • Media training and experience in dealing with sensitive subjects in the media (including social media)
  • Experience with financial management and auditing
  • Experience with charity law and charity governance
  • Experience with the political systems and groups represented within the BIAZA region e.g. Westminster, the Devolved Governments, the Crown Dependencies, the Irish Government and the EU
  • A knowledge of the zoo and aquarium community, the Zoo Expert Committee and the relevant Zoo legislation in both the UK and Ireland (and by default the EU)
  • Experience with the current zoo licensing system in the UK and Ireland and/or the EAZA accreditation scheme, or from other similar associations
  • Experience with fundraising and grant applications

Apply for this job:

Applications and Recruitment Procedure Interested applicants with the required attributes should send a CV and a completed application form (which can be found at to BIAZA’s Chair of Council Rebecca Willers: Application deadline: 17.00 hrs on 15th April 2019 First interviews are planned for the week commencing 22nd April 2019 We thank all applicants for their interest; however, only candidates short-listed for an interview will be contacted.