Recruiting exceptional leaders for mission-driven organizations.




President and Chief Executive Officer Brookfield, IL

The Chicago Zoological Society (CZS), which operates Brookfield Zoo, a world-class 216-acre zoological park and conservation center, seeks a dynamic, inspirational, and visionary President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).  Brookfield Zoo opened to the public in 1934 and over time has grown to attract more than two million visitors annually, ranking it among the top five zoos in the country in attendance. With 2019 operating revenues and support totaling $70 million, and a workforce of 300 full- and part-time staff, supported by over 250 seasonal workers, CZS is an enterprise of considerable complexity and diversity.

The CEO must be an experienced and strategic leader who is passionate about CZS’s mission and especially excited to meet the challenges of operating a dynamic cultural, scientific, and educational institution in the 21st century. The successful candidate will be a person of high intellect, charisma, and dedication who will bring strong communication, collaboration, fundraising, and managerial skills to this challenging leadership role. This person will ensure financial sustainability for CZS and Brookfield Zoo, especially coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic; will address major infrastructure improvements in coming years; will ensure exciting and up-to-date exhibitry and programming and the highest quality animal care; and will continue to build a strong and positive culture and experience for guests and staff alike.

An eight-member Trustee Search Committee is working with the national executive search firm Isaacson, Miller to identify the next CEO. Inquiries, nominations, and applications should be directed in confidence below.

Karen Wilcox and Natalie Leonhard are leading this search with Caitlin Barrett.


The Chicago Zoological Society is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes a diverse pool of candidates.


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