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Chief Executive

For over a century The Wildlife Trusts have been saving wildlife and wild places, increasing people’s awareness of the natural world, and deepening people’s relationship with it. The Wildlife Trusts are a grassroots movement of people who share a vision of a Wilder Future.  It has more than 800,000 members, 40,000 volunteers, 2,000 staff and 600 trustees, across 46 independent Trusts working in every part of the UK. The movement’s central charity leads the development of the Trusts, giving them a strong united voice.

Prospectus were delighted to be appointed to secure a CEO that would lead The Wildlife Trusts movement and its central charity. Through developing productive relationships within the movement and with external partners, we were looking for someone to influence the UK’s political, social and legal systems to drive nature’s recovery and rebuild our connection to the natural world.

We sought an inspirational, authentic and experienced leader with significant experience of building relationships with senior decision makers, influencers and funders to successfully effect social or policy change. With a need to dive straight into pre-Brexit environmental negotiations, we targeted individuals with a solid knowledge of the environment, who were used to leading complex organisations and who had a passion for nature.

Craig Bennett was appointed to the Chief Executive post. Craig had led Friends of the Earth as CEO for five years and was Director of Policy and Campaigns for five years before that. Under his leadership, Friends of the Earth achieved notable campaign successes such as stopping fracking and securing a strategy to reverse declining bee populations. Earlier in his career, Craig built a group of one of the most influential and progressive business voices in the international climate debate; The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change 

Craig is widely recognised as ‘one of the country’s top environmental campaigners’ has been described by The Guardian as “the very model of the modern eco-general” and is regularly appears in broadcast media. He has a BSc (Hons) in Human and Physical Geography and an MSc in Biodiversity Conservation and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA).  

Craig Bennett said “The Wildlife Trusts are an extraordinary grassroots movement that is uniquely placed to work with local communities to make this happen and ensure a wilder future, and I could not be more pleased to have been asked to lead them at this incredibly important moment.” Regarding his experience he added "I've used Prospectus many times, as a client, to recruit senior staff to Friends of the Earth and always been very happy with them from that side of the desk. It was a new experience for me to interact with them as a candidate, but they did an excellent job of running a smooth and efficient process, and very supportive and understanding of the emotional rollercoaster that candidates go through during a recruitment process.”

Peta Foxhall, Chair of The Wildlife Trusts commented “It’s great to see our aspirations translate in to such a successful outcome. Thank you for supporting us along the way and for asking crucial questions that helped us focus on what we needed in our new CEO.”