Birmingham Botanical Gardens Chief Executive

Role title: Chief Executive

Reports to: Chair of Trustees

Key team reports: Senior Management Team


Role purpose

Birmingham Botanical Gardens (BBG) is seeking to appoint an experienced, dynamic, and highly organised Chief Executive (CEO) to lead the charity through an exciting and transformational period.

A permanent position, the role of the CEO will be to lead the organisation, line manage the Senior Management Team, and provide director level support to all staff and volunteers.

The CEO will be responsible for ensuring that the charity is run in accordance with agreed strategies, policies, and objectives, and lead the management of all areas of operations, people, and profit for the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.



A diverse botanical world that enhances all our lives

Opened in 1832, Birmingham Botanical Gardens is a haven of biodiversity and natural beauty located just one mile outside the city centre of Birmingham that welcomes more than 120,000 visitors each year.

BBG is set on a Grade Two* listed site and features four Victorian glasshouses and vibrant gardens covering 15 acres. The gardens encompass over 8,000 documented species of plants and is the largest and most diverse collection in central England.

As well as the gardens – a green sanctuary within the city – the charity also provides a unique educational resource for learning about plants, conservation, and the environment. Alongside running adult courses in photography, BBG welcomes visits from nurseries, schools, and colleges, engaging more than 17,000 pupils each year.

BBG is one of just two independent charitable botanical gardens in the UK, and as such, relies on the support of visitors, donors, and grants. It also generates income from a trading arm, hosting weddings and special events and providing catering.

Our mission is to support plant biodiversity and an understanding of its importance to the natural environment through conservation, education, engagement, and enjoyment.

Following a landmark partnership with the National Trust (funded by GBSLEP) and a substantial organisational review, BBG is now embarking on a major capital project, which will transform the Gardens into a superb visitor destination, a centre for horticultural excellence and a vital educational and community resource. The overall project will include restoring the bandstand, glasshouses, gated entrance, and Teulon Cottage, and creating a world-class education centre, all in time for BBG’s 200th anniversary in 2029.



Our CEO role is complex and rewarding, with key responsibilities including:  

Strategy and Governance

  • To lead on the development and implementation of the charity’s strategic plan, working with Trustees, staff, and volunteers to drive forward the ambition of BBG in line with the organisational vision, mission, and values.
  • To lead the charity through its major capital development, working with all staff, volunteers, partners, and key stakeholders to successfully transform the gardens.
  • To work with Trustees to shape the development of the BBG site including overseeing plans for all fundraising and operations.
  • To present the business performance and forward strategic planning to the Board of Trustees.
  • To work with Trustees to ensure all policies and procedures are up to date and regularly reviewed, and that all compliance matters are attended to promptly.
  • To work with the Chair to implement an appropriate structure for Governance including main Board meetings and relevant sub-Committees.
  • To sit on and provide a supporting role to all sub-Committees where relevant.
  • To ensure the charity carries out its statutory and legal obligations to a high-level including all Charity Commission reporting and compliance.
  • To ensure an effective working relationship between Executive and Trustees.

Leadership and Performance

  • To be responsible for the performance and operational delivery of all staff and volunteers, demonstrating inclusive leadership and a collaborative approach to problem solving.
  • To support the Senior Management Team and other key staff in the performance of their duties.
  • To undertake the appraisals for Senior staff and to oversee the charity’s performance management system.
  • To determine policies and practices to ensure staff are competent to perform their roles to a high standard and provide training and effective communication systems to ensure staff motivation and efficiency.
  • To be responsible for the health and safety of all staff, volunteers and visitors and ensure that health and safety practices are in accordance with required standards, ensuring all reasonable action is taken to protect employees and the BBG site.
  • To continually keep abreast of new trends in the charity and horticulture sectors, working to attract new visitors and members, and ensuring high retention rates.
  • To promote the public image of the charity in the local business community, acting as an ambassador for the charity by working with the media and representing BBG with passion and professionalism.

Operations and Monitoring

  • To define and monitor the organisational processes and procedures within the charity and with external stakeholders.
  • To monitor agreed KPIs from the strategy and to devise and maintain an effective risk register and use it as a key directional tool.
  • To address feedback from visitors, staff, Trustees, and stakeholders, using all information to lead on the continuous improvement of all activities and ensuring the long-term objectives of the charity.
  • To ensure all activities and systems are appropriate, ensuring the charity has the correct resources (human, material and financial) to operate effectively, and providing maximum customer/audience satisfaction.
  • To support the Head of Operations to manage the catering service provided by the Third-Party Contractor Aramark to ensure compliance with contractual obligations and achievement of targets. Also, to support the CEO in the development and implementation of a forward strategy for catering, as needed.

Financial resilience

  • To take responsibility for the overall financial health of the charity, ensuring the income and profits are achieved in line with agreed business plans and targets, setting and agreeing all budgets and business plans with the Senior Management Team and Board of Trustees.
  • To ensure that financial matters are conducted with integrity and in line with current accounting regulations and legislation.
  • To deliver a diversified income portfolio from statutory, charitable, and earned sources through the fundraising strategy, working with the Director of Development to ensure income targets are met and exceeded.
  • To authorise capital expenditure requirements and where needed, to seek approval from the Trustees through all relevant committees.
  • To approve employee headcount and remuneration in line with the budget and forecasts as agreed with the Finance, HR, and IT Committee.
  • To ensure income generation strategies are in place to maintain and enhance the level of funding from existing sources and develop new funding streams.
  • To develop and build relationships with partners, supporters, funders, and potential funders to maximise opportunities for income generation.


  • To take on any other responsibilities or tasks that are within the employee’s skills and abilities whenever reasonably instructed.



Strategy and Governance

  • In-depth knowledge of governance and working closely with a Board of Trustees, with a clear knowledge of legal obligations.
  • Experience in leading organisational change projects, including capital projects and staff restructures.
  • Knowledge of legislation and regulations applying to the management of charities, human resources and GDPR.
  • Experience and knowledge of Health and Safety management in a visitor-focused environment, preferably to include historic buildings and outdoor environment.
  • The ability to communicate professionally and with a clear leadership style to ensure good working relationships with colleagues- staff, volunteers, customers/audiences, external suppliers, and stakeholders.
  • Evidence of good analytic skills and the ability to set measurable strategic goals.

Leadership and Performance

  • Extensive charity leadership experience (preferably in a previous role as a CEO).
  • Extensive operational, strategic, and managerial experience in a high-quality, successful visitor / cultural attraction.
  • Experience of recruiting, retaining, and managing staff, with the ability to motivate, manage and develop staff, and to deliver improvements and outstanding results and building capability.
  • Experience of planning, leading, and delivering a culture of exceptional customer service.
  • Experience of empowering, motivating, and building teams through exceptional people leadership and interpersonal skills, with evidence of creating a positive learning culture.
  • Experience of operating in an ambassadorial role, with a track record of raising an organisation’s profile and influencing external audiences.
  • Evidence of strong communication and relationship management with a wide range of stakeholders, able to develop successful partnerships and generate support.

Operations and Monitoring

  • Adaptability and flexibility alongside efficient time management and experience of leading numerous operational activities across a busy customer/audience facing site.

Financial Resilience

  • Business acumen and financial literacy, alongside a record of experience in achieving income targets and managing budgets in an independent charitable or commercial setting.
  • Motivated by the desire to give visitors and customers/audiences an excellent experience whilst maximizing revenue generating potential.
  • A track record of growth; building an organisation and significantly increasing income.


  • Commitment to the values of Birmingham Botanical Gardens, and a passion for its heritage significance, botany, horticulture, education, and the development of Birmingham.
  • Ability to commit the necessary time and effort, including weekends and bank holidays and some evenings as needed.
  • Commitment to fairness and to promoting equality and inclusion and able to work as part of a team.
  • An awareness of developments in the horticulture/botanical sector with regard to visitor attractions and an understanding of the role of plants in climate change.
  • Knowledge of and commitment to environmental factors affecting BBG as a site, as a business and as a visitor attraction.


As part of our commitment to equality BBG wants to ensure that our team reflects its ambition to be an inclusive and diverse organisation and to be representative of the communities we serve. We therefore welcome applications from individuals from all backgrounds to reflect the diversity of communities, visitors, and audiences to the Gardens. Our definition of diversity encompasses responding to issues around race, ethnicity, faith, disability, age, gender, sexuality, class and economic disadvantage and any social and institutional barriers that prevent people from creating, participating in, or enjoying our Gardens.

Hours: 39 hours per week, including call-out as necessary. Regular weekend working will be required, for which time off in lieu will be given.

Holiday: 28 days per annum plus 8 days public holiday allowance. A successful internal candidate will be credited with holiday entitlement earned during service.

Pay: £65,000 to £70,000 annually depending on experience.

Pension: A Contributory Group Personal Pension Scheme is offered.

DBS Check: This post is subject to a Disclosure and Barring Service check.

Probation: This role will be subject to a 6-month probationary period.

How to apply

The deadline for applications is 11am on 15th April 2022

To apply, please send a covering letter marked for the attention of the Chair (no more than two pages), your CV, and an Equal Opportunities Monitoring Assessment Form to

If you would like an informal conversation about the role with the Chair of Trustees, please contact us to arrange it.

This is a fantastic opportunity to be a part of an organisation making a real difference in Birmingham and the wider natural world, and to play a leading role in the future direction of the charity.