CEO Forestry Commission

This is a wonderful role for a passionate, successful senior executive who wants to shape the future of the Forestry Commission.

The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woodlands. We are seeking an outstanding leader to be our next Chief Executive, to engage and inspire our 1500 staff and to take forward our group of three federated businesses – Forestry England, Forest Research and Forest Services.

Never has there been a more important time for trees and forests to help tackle the climate emergency and provide a much-needed sanctuary for people and wildlife. Our Prime Minister and our government are committed to creating 75,000 acres of new woodland a year across the UK by the end of this Parliament and the Forestry Commission will be at the heart of this agenda.

To succeed, you will already be an inspiring, excellent and inclusive leader, able to set strategy across a complex agenda and to work collaboratively and influentially with Board-level colleagues and stakeholders. With an outstanding track record of innovative delivery, proven business and people management skills, and a passion for the work of the Forestry Commission we know you will thrive in this role.

We passionately believe in equality, diversity and inclusion and welcome applications from the widest range of people of different backgrounds, cultures and experiences.

Job description

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) has responsibility for the day-to-day executive leadership, management, and performance of the organisation, overseeing the business entities operating within the Forestry Commission – Forest Services, Forestry England and Forest Research - each with their own objectives and senior leadership.

Appointed as the sole executive Forestry Commissioner, the CEO chairs the Forestry Commission Executive Board and is a member of the governing boards of the three bodies comprising the Forestry Commission. The CEO is also the Accounting Officer, with responsibility and accountability to the Defra Principal Accounting Officer for internal governance and financial probity.

The CEO directly reports to the Chair of the Forestry Commission and, as Accounting Officer, is also answerable directly to the Permanent Secretary of Defra. The CEO is responsible for ensuring that the organisation delivers the objectives set by the Forestry Commissioners and by Defra Ministers.
It is the CEO’s responsibility both to ensure that all parts of the organisation work together effectively to optimise FC’s total contribution to forests and forestry in England and beyond and to apply change management and leadership skills to sustain and develop the new structure in a way which encourages autonomous development of the three-component organisations without jeopardising the unity of the whole.


It is essential that you provide evidence and proven examples in your application against each of the selection criteria.

To be successful in this role you will already be an outstanding leader, inspiring all around you with extensive Board experience and a strong track record of innovative delivery.

• Exceptional, visible senior leadership skills gained in a large and complex environment, together with the ability to build and inspire high performing, diverse and inclusive teams across different geographical locations.

• Excellent operational delivery skills with a determination to deliver agreed targets, excellent management of business performance and judgement of risk.

• A demonstrable ability to set the strategic direction for an organisation and to lead and manage a complex agenda.

• The Forestry Commission is a values-driven organisation so candidates should demonstrate a passion for promoting sustainable forestry and build the excellent reputation of the Forestry Commission and government in the public arena.

• Outstanding skills in forging consensus, collaborative working and delegation, working to achieve results and embed change within complex systems.

• Political sensitivity and understanding with a proven ability to quickly secure the confidence of senior internal and external stakeholders, Board-level colleagues and chief executives, building highly effective, influential and collaborative relationships.

• As Accounting Officer for the organisation, you will require financial management skills and significant experience of managing and delivering against a substantial and complex budget.


• Learning and development tailored to your role
•An environment with flexible working options
• A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
• A Civil Service pension

Apply now!