Executive Search and Management Consulting

Job Posting Shedd Aquarium logo

Shedd Aquarium
Chief Animal, Conservation and Science Officer

Explore Company PosterThe Shedd Aquarium seeks to recruit a dynamic and strategic individual to serve in a new leadership role as the Chief Animal, Conservation and Science Officer.

About Shedd Aquarium

John G. Shedd’s groundbreaking vision in 1924 “to construct, maintain and operate an aquarium or museum of aquatic life exclusively for educational and scientific purposes” is even more relevant today then its founder could possibly have imagined in the early 20th Century.

As an enterprise dedicated to animal care and welfare, conservation research and public education, Shedd is home to nearly 32,000 aquatic animals representing more than 1,500 species of fishes, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, birds and mammals from waters around the world. Shedd is more than a vital learning resource, scientific contributor and conservation champion. Each year, over 2 million people, including a quarter-million students from elementary and secondary schools, visit the Shedd Aquarium. Each visitor who attends can come away from the experience touched by a specific animal and find inspiration in their life to continue to care for the vitality of that animal or habitat in the world. The goal of seeking to educate, inspire, or initiate support serves to guide Shedd Aquarium as an innovative, conservation-based, visitor-serving enterprise.

Shedd Aquarium has entered an exciting new chapter in its distinguished history. With the selection of only the fourth President since 1930, Dr. Bridget Coughlin, Shedd Aquarium’s leadership team engaged in a strategic planning process to map out the future. They considered a variety of questions:

  • What do we hope for this organization and for the communities we serve?

  • How can we impact, positively, more people—here, on-site; there, out in the community; and everywhere, digitally?

  • How can we do more good—here, there, and everywhere?

Shedd Aquarium is committed to deepen its investment in world class animal care, animal health, conservation research, and partnerships that support our understanding of fresh and salt water marine ecosystems and the challenges we face to sustain our planet’s diverse biodiversity.

The emerging strategic path for Shedd Aquarium will focus on connecting people and the natural world. For more information on Shedd Aquarium, please visit their website: www.sheddaquarium.org.

Chief Animal, Conservation and Science Officer

As a result of the most recent strategic planning process, a decision was reached to develop greater internal synergies among key operating departments to enhance the collective value of Shedd Aquarium’s connectivity with visitors and how the enterprise engages in serving its broader conservation purpose.

The Chief Animal, Conservation and Science Officer (CACSO) is an individual who has the experience to manage a team of senior leaders and other talented staff to sustain and enhance the world-class Animal, Conservation and Science work that has long defined Shedd Aquarium’s unique role in the Aquarium community and as a conservation leader. This individual will have exceptional strengths in communication and relationship-building and have an earned reputation for effectiveness in partnering with a CEO, Board of Trustees, executive leadership and other staff that serve the overall enterprise.

The new CACSO oversees a team of senior staff who direct Shedd Aquarium’s animal, animal health, water quality, conservation research, partnership programs and the operations of the Shedd Aquarium’s research vessel. With a combined staff in excess of 150 individuals and a budget that represents 25% of Shedd Aquarium’s overall operating budget, the CACSO occupies a strategic leadership role in the enterprise.

The CACSO is committed to conserving species and habitats through research that increases knowledge, informs policy, and inspires visitors to become conservation champions. Moreover, the CACSO will continue to support Shedd Aquarium’s pioneering work in aquatic conservation medicine and advancements in preventive care and the treatment of aging animals and water quality. A critical role facing the new CACSO is the development and execution of a strategy for ensuring the continuity of the living animal collection.

Reporting directly to the President & CEO, the CACSO will work closely with all senior staff and serve as a thoughtful representative to national and international agencies, professional societies, Board Committees, funders and other key stakeholders.

The strategic goals for the CACSO are the following:

  • Provide leadership in building and implementing a fully integrated, world class animal husbandry program, conservation research and partnership activities in alignment with the strategic vision and mission for Shedd Aquarium.

  • Provide leadership, as a decision-maker, in guiding the strategic contributions of Shedd Aquarium’s husbandry, conservation research and partnership program staff. Help in shaping a culture of accountability and excellence in all facets of animal care, fundraising, human resource management, continuous learning, and financial planning.

  • Serve as a strategic partner with the President and CEO and other executive team members (CFO, COO, Chief Development Officer, etc.) in advancing a highly collaborative and strategic enterprise that inspires and educates its visitors and serves its broader conservation mission.

Professional Qualifications and Personal Attributes

The CACSO should possess the following professional qualifications and personal attributes:

Professional Qualifications:

  • A passion and commitment to serve Shedd Aquarium’s mission.

  • Successful record of experience in making decisions that involve financial, staff, policy and other actions that impact the mission and value of the overall enterprise.

  • A management style that is goal oriented, but flexible; that respects the capabilities and independence of volunteers and staff alike, but also provides them with a clear sense of direction and accountability.

  • A demonstrated record of accomplishment as a leader in animal husbandry, conservation research with a Veterinary Degree (DVM, VMD) and/or Ph.D., or Masters in marine sciences, biology, zoology, or related fields preferred.

  • A demonstrated record of success as a visionary and a record of accomplishment in demonstrating forward thinking skills in addressing near and long term goals (both programmatic and financial).

Personal Attributes:

  • Ability to think strategically, tactically and creatively.

  • Visionary, decision-maker, and diplomat.

  • Trustworthy and possessing the highest level of personal and professional integrity and quality standards.

  • A results-oriented individual, who possess a positive energetic commitment to the performance of a team.

  • A person possessing an entrepreneurial spirit in identifying and seizing opportunities.

  • An individual who inspires other with a “can do” approach to problem-solving, responsive, adaptive and resilient in the face of challenges.


Compensation for the Chief Animal, Conservation and Science Officer includes a competitive base salary, and an excellent package of health and other employee benefits.

Interested candidates should submit a resume and cover letter responding specifically to the experience and qualifications being sought to: Daniel Sherman, President, Explore Company at resumes@explorecompany.com. Refer to Shedd/CACSO in the subject line. No phone inquiries please.

Shedd Aquarium is committed to diversity and invites individuals who bring a diversity of culture,
experience and ideas to apply. All correspondence will remain confidential.

Shedd Aquarium is an Equal Opportunity Employer


Download This Job Posting



More Information

Submit Your Résumé



Legal Notice

Contact Explore Company

5 Rokeby Court

Kensington, Maryland 20895


301.933.8990 fax

Additional Links

© Explore Company, 2016

Web site by Marc Nathan and SImply Computers Plus