Public search launched to find Chair of Europe’s largest conservation charity

Press release
House through the trees at Dyrham Park
Published : 06 Sep 2021 Last update : 09 Sep 2021

The National Trust has today launched its public campaign to recruit its most senior volunteer who wants to ‘become part of the Trust’s story’ to lead Europe’s largest conservation charity.

The 126-year-old charity is seeking a new Chair of the Board of Trustees, and says it is looking for someone who has experience and credibility to oversee a large, national organisation, and can bring “value and insight to debate”.

It also says it is looking for a Chair who can “command respect on a national stage” and appreciates the role of the Trust and its place in the world while sharing the charity’s commitment to “delivering public benefit to the nation”.

As well as leading the charity’s Board of Trustees and working closely with the executive team, including respecting the executive responsibility of the Director General Hilary McGrady, the unpaid role of Chair is the most senior volunteer at the Trust - an organisation that relies on many thousands of volunteers who give millions of hours of their time every year.

The successful candidate will take on an initial three-year term in office and will be expected to provide the direction and leadership for the charity, which looks after more than 500 historic houses, castles, parks and gardens, 780 miles of coastline, and 250,000 hectares of land.

As well as being entrusted with leading a 126-year-old British institution, looking after the nation’s most treasured buildings and nature, more than one million objects in our collections and thousands of miles of land and coastline, the Trust hopes to attract someone who will bring inspiration, fresh-thinking and new ideas.

The appointment of the Chair will be made by the National Trust Council, which is made up of 36 members who have a range of expertise in everything from education and agriculture to nature and the built environment.  

Paul Roberts, Senior Member of the National Trust Council, said: “We’re looking for an exceptional candidate; someone who will bring different experiences and new ideas together with the skills and talent to be our Chair. We want someone who wants to become part of our story.

“We are a 126-year-old institution and custodians of an extraordinary array of houses, gardens, coastline and countryside, as well as works of art, objects and artefacts that help tell the country’s rich national story.

“Our Chair plays an important role in overseeing this work, helping us continue to meet our founding mission to celebrate the country’s heritage and natural places, whilst ensuring we are meeting the needs of a changing environment and people’s day-to-day lives.

“As our charity and nation recover from the pandemic, this vital role will help us continue to play our part in supporting the public, and help look after nature, beauty and history for the nation to enjoy.

“Despite having just been through our most challenging year, the scale of our conservation ambitions remains undiminished, with significant programmes underway and planned to protect our built heritage and collections, and to restore the health of our natural world.”

In mid-May 2021, after almost seven years as the Chair of the National Trust, the charity announced Tim Parker would step down from his position as Chair in October this year. His final term had been due to end in 2020, but a third exceptional term of office was agreed to provide stability to the organisation during the coronavirus pandemic.

More information about the role, including a candidate pack and how to apply, is available on the National Trust website. Those applying are expected to submit a CV and covering letter.