New England Aquarium
  • Recruiting Agency 2 - External
  • Boston, MA, USA
  • Salary
  • Full Time Regular

Reporting to the Board of Trustees, New England Aquarium's next President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) will be a visionary leader with a deep passion for the oceans and the ability to inspire and motivate both internal and external stakeholders. The CEO is responsible for articulating a set of values, goals and programs to advance the mission and also for providing the strategic and operational leadership to drive sustainable growth and innovation. The CEO is the external face of the New England Aquarium, passionately communicating its ambitions and developing enthusiastic commitment from individuals as well as public, private and corporate partners.



The New England Aquarium is being assisted in this process by executive search firm Spencer Stuart, and welcomes comments, questions, nominations or expressions of interest. To submit comments, nominations or expressions of interest, please send an e-mail with any supporting materials to the confidential address:

You may also submit a resume and letter of interest on this site.



Strategic Vision In a partnership with senior staff and the board, brings a transformative and creative vision to the existing strategic plan that will continue the success of the visitor and education programs, the Anderson Cabot Center and increase the impact of the Aquarium'locally, nationally and globally.


Organizational Leadership Build and nurture a high performing leadership team that values collaboration, transparency and innovation. Engage authentically. Inspire and engage all members of the staff, board and community of volunteers. Actively build a culture of equity and inclusion.


External Engagement Represent the Aquarium and build partnerships across multiple stakeholder communities including, but not limited to, other leading conservation, education and cultural organizations, the general public,  the City of Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and beyond.


Operational Results Meet the operational metrics of success (visitor experience, research productivity, animal health, conservation initiatives and outcomes, educational programming, sustainability, etc) and pursue opportunities to drive greater efficiencies within the organization.


Financial Stewardship Ensure the long-term financial viability of the Aquarium, which is based on a combination of earned revenue, contributions and research grants, through the following:

  • Diversifying revenue streams
  • Strengthening fundraising efforts with individuals, foundations, government and the private sector
  • Increasing the size of the endowment
  • Continuing to leverage and engage the board



Organizational Leadership and Impact

The successful candidate will have:

  • Provided visionary, executive leadership to transform an organization to a broader platform and to raise its profile.
  • Developed and executed a strategy to position an organization for success in a rapidly changing world.
  • Successfully run a complex organization and elevated its efficacy and impact.
  • Built and motivated a strong, unified team that values partnership and welcomes a range of voices.
  • Proven strong communication skills and the ability to inspire people and to develop momentum for important initiatives.


Serving as the Public Face

The successful candidate will have:

  • Represented his/her institution on the national and local stage and successfully interacted with a wide range of audiences.
  • Engaged in complex, political situations that require diplomacy and political savviness.
  • Diversified the revenue streams and raised financial support from individual and institutional donors, adapting successfully to a changing philanthropic landscape.


Deep Passion for the Mission

The successful candidate will have:

  • Demonstrated, in professional or personal life, an abiding passion and commitment to the oceans, the environment and/or conservation, and an appreciation for science-based solutions.



Strategic Vision/Leadership

As the challenges to the blue planet intensify, the goals of the New England Aquarium become ever more ambitious. With competing demands from various stakeholders, an increasingly broad array of critical initiatives, and pressures from neighbors, the institution needs a leader who will create and execute an organizational strategy making the Aquarium more impactful, innovative and responsive to changes in the external environment while also protecting and building its reputational, human, physical and financial assets.


Leading Change

The Aquarium is in the midst of transformational growth of its research and conservation program while supporting and enhancing its role as a primary regional cultural organization. The CEO will work with the staff and Board to drive organizational performance across multiple dimensions processes, practices and systems. The leader will be results-focused and will measure impact both internally (e.g. quality of programs and research, professional development, diversity and inclusion) and externally (e.g. visitor numbers, fundraising, research support, regional influence and conservation efforts and partnerships).


Collaborating and Influencing

The next CEO will drive engagement, inspire partnerships, and inculcate a spirit of teamwork both internally and externally. With the staff and programs, the CEO will shape a collective consensus and create an environment that recognizes and rewards collaboration and teamwork. On the external front, he or she will connect with all stakeholders, spending time to understand their perspectives and to communicate the Aquarium's goals. A strategic negotiator and talented communicator, she/he will seek paths that support all needs and will be viewed as smart and fair.



The New England Aquarium is a catalyst for global change through public engagement, commitment to marine animal conservation, leadership in education, innovative scientific research, and effective advocacy for vital and vibrant oceans. 

Protecting the blue planet is at the heart of everything that happens at the New England Aquarium (the Aquarium). As a leading environmental and research organization, the Aquarium empowers and inspires people to achieve its ambitious mission through innovative exhibits and educational programs as well as cutting edge research. We delight, engage, and educate the 1.3M visitors who explore the Giant Ocean Tank, visit the Shark and Ray Touch Tank, or enjoy the Marine Mammal Center. Conservation and research are central to the mission of the Aquarium and our researchers have published more peer-reviewed articles than any other aquarium. The launching of the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life (the "Anderson Cabot Center") exemplifies our growing commitment to this area. This groundbreaking initiative is designed to highlight and expand the Aquarium's cutting-edge applied marine research and data-driven conservation solutions. Through the work of the Anderson Cabot Center, Aquarium researchers apply innovative, science-based solutions to combat the unprecedented threats to our oceans represented by climate change and other human activities saving species, habitats and strengthening the overall health of our oceans.

The marine conservation and research programs of the New England Aquarium extend from Central Wharf in Boston to critical areas around the globe. The Aquarium's Marine Animal Rescue Team leads regional efforts annually to rehabilitate and release hundreds of endangered species of sea turtles at our state-of-the-art Animal Care Center in Quincy, MA. Aquarium scientists are leaders in key marine issues, including advising the nation's largest seafood companies on methods to enhance the sustainability of commercial fisheries; coordinating efforts to restore the right whale population; coordinating bycatch reduction efforts through its leadership in  the Global Bycatch Exchange; and partnering with the island nation of Kiribati and Conservation International to create the 158,000 square mile Phoenix Islands Protected Area. Much of our work is focused in New England   but our research and conservation efforts extend globally, building on the Aquarium's nearly 50-year legacy of protecting our blue planet and ensuring vital and vibrant oceans.

Each year the New England Aquarium reaches more than 1.3M visitors, including over 100,000 visiting schoolchildren as well as 30,000 New England students who are served by outreach programs. Our educators inspire future ocean protectors with hands-on programs such as Harbor Discoveries Camps and live blue Ambassadors. Nearly 700 teachers from around New England participate in professional development workshops and programs to bring the knowledge and magic of the oceans to their classrooms. The Aquarium also founded the National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI), a nationwide partnership with 170 aquariums, zoos, and nature centers in 38 states designed to engage visitors in constructive conversations about climate change. We offer thousands of aquatic animals to visit at the Aquarium, from little blue penguins to the delicate leafy seadragon to Myrtle, the lumbering green sea turtle, and spry California sea lions.

Finally, the New England Aquarium is a lynchpin in the City of Boston and its harbor. On June 20, 1969 the Aquarium opened its doors to the public. With the intention of providing an underwater experience for visitors, the Aquarium was also designed to connect a cultural institution to Boston's waterfront. In its nearly 50 years of existence, the Aquarium has seen the waterfront and the downtown change dramatically. The clean-up of the Boston Harbor and the creation of the Rose Kennedy Greenway have enhanced the City of Boston and reinforced the key role of the New England Aquarium in the vibrant downtown. The leaders of the Aquarium have a vision for the future development of the downtown waterfront. The proposed "Blueway" will connect the Rose Kennedy Greenway to the end of the Central Wharf, creating a deliberate, welcoming and beautiful link between downtown and the harbor. The future of the New England Aquarium promises to be even more exciting than its past as the health and vibrancy of the blue planet is more critical than ever.

The New England Aquarium is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. The Aquarium does not discriminate with respect to employment, or admission or access to Aquarium facilities, programs or activities on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, marital status, partnership status, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, pregnancy, alienage or citizenship status, current or former participation in the uniformed services, status as a veteran, or national or ethnic origin or on account of any other basis prohibited by applicable City, State or Federal law.



The Aquarium employs more than 250 full-time staff, along with 90 part-time and seasonal staff, from a wide variety of disciplines. More than 1,200 volunteers contribute over 125,000 hours to the Aquarium's mission. The $48M operating budget for 2016 was supported by three main sources of income: visitor related revenue (81%), philanthropy (10%), and grants/contracts (9%). The Aquarium receives critical support from a variety of funding sources annually, and aggregate philanthropic support was just under $14M in FY16 which included several multi-year gifts, grants and contracts. The "Mission Blue" Campaign, completed a few years ago, raised more than $40M for capital needs at the Aquarium, including the full renovation of the Giant Ocean Tank. In 2016, the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium received six Federal grants/contracts totaling $509K, seven foundation grants totaling $1.1M and several gifts totaling $3.7M.  The Aquarium also has a $18.6M endowment.

New England Aquarium
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