Who we are

Our Zoo in the heart of Bristol, is run by around 170 staff and 300 wonderful volunteers that run the Activity Centre and our animal encounter and outreach sessions. Our team engages with local community groups, schools and supports conservation projects within the field.

Our shareholders elect 12 trustees to govern our society, the director and senior managers all report to the trustees. 

Our staff

Dr Justin Morris, Chief Executive of Bristol Zoological Society -  Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place Project

Justin joined the Society in August 2018, with more than 20 years’ experience working in two of the UK’s most popular museums, and a lifelong passion for the natural world.

Justin was Director of Public Engagement at the Natural History Museum where he led on all public engagement and commercial activities setting the long-term strategy for these areas, including the physical and digital public programme and on-site visitor experience, as well as overseeing commercial strategy on-site, across the UK and internationally. In particular, he oversaw and led the project to transform the Central Hall of the Museum including the installation of the blue whale exhibit, which opened to critical acclaim.

Prior to this, he was Director of Operations and Projects and Director of Strategic Planning at the British Museum and also spent two years working in the private sector at the John Lewis Partnership. He began his career as a Curator at the British Museum undertaking archaeological fieldwork throughout the South Asian sub-continent.

Owain Cassidy - Marketing and Commercial Director

A CIM qualified, commercially driven senior marketing professional with over 16 years’ experience. Currently Marketing and Commercial Director for the Society. Owain has worked within several industries including the private sector (retail, IT, creative), charity, visitor attraction and local government. Also a Board member of Clifton BID and a Board member of Destination Bristol. 

Carol Groves - Director of HR 

Carol’s career in HR began as a recruitment consultant for a High Street agency before she qualified as a member of the CIPD whilst working as a HR generalist in a not for profit organisation.  After running her own freelance HR business securing work with a wide variety of industries, she gained valuable experience through an HR contract with First Choice during their merger with Thomson, which brought about substantial business and cultural change.

Carol then had a three year period as a General Manager in the aviation security industry, managing multi-site contracts based throughout the UK, followed by fixed-term management contracts in the transportation and hospitality sectors.

Her experience in a variety of industry sectors, both as a HR specialist and general management positions, prior to her appointment as HR Director adds significant value to the partnership between HR and other business areas within the Society.

Tom Hedges MRICS BSc (Hons) PGDip Surv - Director of Estates

A multi award winning chartered surveyor with 12 years’ experience in land and landscape management including; estates management, facilities management, construction, project management and health and safety. 

Angela Mather - Director of Finance

Angela is a chartered accountant and has over 25 years’ experience of working in finance.   Her previous roles have included being Finance Director of an international retail, distribution and manufacturing group, and 13 years working within the audit department of Deloitte where she lead the audit of various clients including FTSE listed groups.  

Dr Christoph Schwitzer - Chief Zoological Officer

Dr Christoph Schwitzer has been Chief Zoological Officer at the Bristol Zoological Society since August 2018.  Prior to this, he was BZS’ Head of Research for seven years and more recently its Director of Conservation for four years. Before coming to Bristol, Christoph worked as part of the primatological research group at Cologne Zoo, Germany, and spent two years in Madagascar building a field station and heading a lemur research and conservation programme for a French NGO. Christoph gained his PhD in Zoology from the University of Cologne in 2003 and has been a Visiting Professor at the University of the West of England since 2013. He is the Deputy Chair and Red List Authority Coordinator of the IUCN Primate Specialist Group. He was a Vice President of the International Primatological Society between 2012 and 2016 and is currently the Vice President of the Association Européenne pour l’Etude et la Conservation des Lémuriens, a consortium of European zoos dedicated to lemur conservation. Christoph’s recent research has focused on how different critically endangered primates are coping with habitat degradation and fragmentation with regard to their behaviour patterns, food intake, population density, and parasite burden.

Joe Allotey - Head of Maintenance

Michelle Barrows  - Head of Veterinary Services Bristol Zoo

  • Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Diploma Holder in Zoological Medicine
  • Post Graduate Certificate in Conservation Medicine
  • Clinical Teacher at University of Bristol Veterinary School
  • Veterinary Advisor to Wattled Crane Recovery Program
  • Veterinary Advisor to the EAZA Pigeon & Dove Taxon Advisory Group and the Pink Pigeon EEP
  • Member of BIAZA Veterinary Focus Group - Advisor to Bird Working Group
  • Previously Head of Veterinary Department at Johannesburg Zoo South Africa

Paul Pritchard - Head of Marketing 

Simon Garrett - Head of Learning

  • Member, International Zoo Educators' Association
  • Member of the Bristol Natural History Consortium Communicate Committee
  • Member, Bristol Natural History Consortium, Education and Outreach

James Kitto - Head of Guest Services

Dr Gráinne McCabe - Head of Field Conservation and Science

  • Trustee, Ape Action Africa
  • Research Collaborator, University of Bristol School of Biological Sciences
  • Member, Society for Conservation Biology
  • Member, IUCN Species Specialist Group, African Primates
  • Member, American Society of Primatologists Conservation Committee
  • Member, International Society of Primatology
  • Review Editor, Frontiers in Veterinary Science: Animal Behaviour and Welfare

Eddie Mole - Head of Horticulture

  • Chair of the EAZA Zoo Horticulture Group 
  • Committee member, BIAZA Plant Working Group
  • Trustee, UK PlantNetwork
  • Member RHS
  • Member, Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh Guild

John Partridge - Senior Curator of Animals

  • National Assessor, DMZAA
  • Honorary Life Member, Association of British Wild Animal Keepers
  • Member, EAZA Hippopotamus & Tapir TAG
  • Member, EAZA Small Mammal TAG

Nigel Simpson - Head of Operations Wild Place Project

  • Co-chair EAZA Charadriiformes taxon advisory group
  • EAZA EEP coordinator Visayan tarictic hornbills
  • EAZA ESB coordinator Keas
  • EAZA ESB coordinator Mindanao bleeding heart doves
  • Member EAZA Hornbill taxon advisory group
  • Member EAZA Parrot taxon advisory group
  • Member EAZA Pigeon and Dove taxon advisory group

 

Trustees of the Society

Chair of Trustees - Charlotte Moar MA (Cantab), FMCA 

20 years’ experience as Finance Director/Deputy Chief Executive of NHS Trusts including in Bristol and Cardiff. Currently Director of Transformation and Efficiency at NHS England.  Prior to this Charlotte worked in manufacturing, the arts and publishing.  Non Executive Director of NHS Resolution. Non Executive Director Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership Trusts. Member of the Audit and Risk committees of the Medical Research Council, the Big Lottery Fund and Bath University.

Victoria Ash

Victoria has a broad business and entrepreneurial background with particular experience in marketing, business development and coaching.  She currently runs her own business, the RCR Partnership, which helps the owners and directors of small and mid-sized businesses to grow sustainable revenue and profitability.  She has previously worked in London and Paris in a variety of consulting and in-house roles in marketing and communications.  She is a member of the Worshipful Company of Marketors and has a BA (Hons) in Modern History from the University of Leeds.  She is also a shareholder in BZS, and has  long-standing family connections with the Zoo. 

Chris Booy OBE BSc. DEng (honoris causa) FRICS FFB 

Chairman of The Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust;  former Trustee of the ss Great Britain; Chairman of Bristol Rugby; Merchant Venturer.  Spent 40 years in the construction industry as a consultant, being Chairman of The Symonds Group then Capita P & I (Capita’s property business).

Malcolm Broad MBE 

Former HSBC Senior Commercial Manager, with specialism in the Charity sector.  National Leader of Governance for the Department of Education. Chair of Governors at St John’s CE Primary School, Keynsham and Trustee of the Wellsway Multi Academy Trust. Governor at St Patrick's Catholic Primary School, Bristol. Treasurer of the Bristol Baptist College and Keynsham Baptist Church. Director of the Baptist Insurance Company plc and former Treasurer of the Baptist Union of Great Britain. 

David Esam

BA Hons degree from Warwick University in English and American Literature. Qualified as a solicitor in 1977. Previously a partner with DAC Beachcroft, specialising in commercial real estate law. Keen birder, volunteering with the RSPB and carrying out surveys for the British Trust for Ornithology. He is a shareholder of the Society.

Paul Kearney

Chief Executive Officer – Above and Beyond charity which supports the Bristol City centre hospitals. Previously Chairman Bristol Community Health CIC  , Managing Director Bristol United Press PLC.  Paul has also been involved with a wide variety of regional charities and advisory boards, including the Princes Trust, Local Enterprise Partnership, ABLAZE and Business West.

Claire Ladkin

Self-employed ‘Marketing Director’ specializing in ad hoc project work, most recently running the successful electoral campaign for Police and Crime Commissioner. Has spent 15 years in advertising agencies and Marketing Departments with particular specialism in Educational Marketing.  Also runs small property rental portfolio and sits on the Regional Development Committee for The Prince’s Trust.

Professor Steven Neill BSc PhD

Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences and Professor of Molecular Plant Science at the University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol.

Professor Richard Pancost BSc (Case WReserve), PhD (PennState)

Professor of Biogeochemistry and Director of the University of Bristol Cabot Institute (representing University of Bristol)

Professor Joanna Price BSc, BVSc, PhD, MRCVS  

 Vice-Chancellor of the Royal Agricultural University. Qualified as a vet from University of Bristol, spent some time in veterinary practice, then had an academic career undertaking research in skeletal biology. Previously Head of the University of Bristol Veterinary School which has a strategic alliance with Bristol Zoo. 

Richard Clarke

Society Ambassador, former Chair of Trustees, shareholder since birth.

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