Bigelow Launches Search for President and Chief Executive Officer


Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences invites inquiries, nominations, and applications for the position of president and chief executive officer.

The significance of this leadership position and Bigelow Laboratory’s work are heightened by growing recognition that the global environment and both terrestrial and marine ecosystems are increasingly stressed. Bigelow researchers address critical issues of climate change, ocean health, seafood solutions and sustainability, and the health of the planet by investigating marine microorganisms, how they affect global ocean processes and how these processes are being impacted by changing environmental conditions. Many of the complex biochemical and geophysical processes that govern our living planet remain a mystery. Basic and applied research conducted by the Bigelow Laboratory not only advance our knowledge of the Earth system, but also provide practical solutions to the pressures human civilization applies to life on Earth. 

Founded in 1974, Bigelow is an independent scientific laboratory with a global reach and an outstanding international reputation in ocean sciences. Bigelow scientists are at the forefront of groundbreaking research from the Arctic to the Antarctic regions, from the ocean surface to below the ocean floor. Bigelow’s impact is belied by its relatively small size and enhanced by its independence and ability to work worldwide on some of the most important global issues of our time.

Bigelow’s president will be a passionate and articulate advocate for its science. She or he will represent Bigelow internationally, nationally and across Maine to advocate on its behalf, provide a strong voice within the ocean and earth sciences scientific communities, build strong and effective educational and research partnerships and collaborations, identify and develop opportunities for commercialization and secure significant philanthropic and other sources of support to fund the laboratory’s ambitious agenda. The president will be expected to devote considerable time to the external-facing roles of the president.

The core strength of Bigelow is its scientific community, working in a highly collegial atmosphere, supported by committed management, staff and its board of trustees. Bigelow is home to a new, state-of- the-art research and educational complex, in a stunning setting in East Boothbay, Maine. The Bigelow campus features a LEED-certified Platinum laboratory complex, a new energy-efficient residential facility for visiting students and scientists, a deep-water dock and renewable energy (solar) power. The president oversees a budget of $12.7 million and staff of 80+ dedicated senior research scientists and employees.

The president must be a visionary leader with diverse capabilities. Ideally the new president will bring proven organizational leadership, management and business development skills. Although first and foremost an oceanographic laboratory, Bigelow’s independence underscores the necessity of Bigelow functioning entrepreneurially. The president, therefore, must be an entrepreneur at heart and in experience. To nourish both its independence and the positive impact of its work, Bigelow’s president must be capable of integrating and growing the laboratory’s breadth in its research, funding sources, educational programs and commercial activities. Bigelow will be served well by a president who is a very strong communicator; an enthusiastic and effective fundraiser; a collaborative, inspiring and decisive staff leader; and a knowledgeable and articulate scientific spokesperson.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Bigelow is at the same time a scientific laboratory, educational institution, public benefit corporation and business, and the president must lead all these functions. A Ph.D. or other terminal degree from an accredited institution in a relevant discipline is highly preferred. In lieu of a terminal degree, candidates should have a demonstrated record of successful executive leadership and comparable credentials and/or experiences sufficient to warrant the respect and confidence of the Bigelow community and stakeholders.

Inquiries, nominations and candidate materials, including a CV and cover letter describing professional background and qualifications, can be sent in confidence to Questions may be directed to the above email address or by telephone (630-575- 6154) to the search consultants assisting Bigelow: Brian Bloomfield, Suzanne Teer and Robert Luke.

The position will remain open until filled. For initial consideration materials should be received by June 23, 2017. The recruitment will be conducted in confidence until the new president is announced.  

View detailed leadership profile for the position

Bigelow Laboratory is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.