Chief Executive Officer for Sniffer

This position is now closed

Job description...

Welcome from Sniffer’s Chair

Thank you for your interest in becoming our new Chief Executive Officer.

Our vision at Sniffer is of a flourishing and fairer Scotland for all in a changing climate.

Our approach is one of hope and realism – acknowledging the imperative to address climate and environmental challenges, and also aware that by working together we can increase our resilience.

Sniffer plays a unique intermediary role between communities, government, public sector organisations, and businesses. Our approach has been recognised as an exemplar nationally and internationally. We have an appetite to be bold and creative to achieve our mission and vision.

2024 is a significant year for Sniffer. Not only are we celebrating 30 years as a charity, we are embarking on a rebrand – a new name and a new identity are already in the making. But more than that – we have doubled in size over the last year as the appetite for our work has increased.

As our Managing Director, Ruth Wolstenholme, steps down after 30 years of leadership, we seek an exceptional leader to build on our success in the role of Chief Executive Officer.

You will shape the future strategy and management structure to achieve transformative change in Scotland and beyond.

Sniffer has an exceptionally motivated team and supportive Board of Trustees. Staff work with trustees on a number of committees, drawing on all the expertise across the organisation.

Alison Macdonald 

Chair of the Board 


Welcome from Sniffer’s Managing Director

As Sniffer’s current Managing Director, I’m thrilled to see how Sniffer has grown in terms of impact and recognition. Increasingly we are the go-to charity to lead and equip others to create more climate resilient places and organisations. We are poised to achieve even more, with a highly ambitious and well-equipped team and a broad portfolio of projects and programmes.

With a sense of achievement and a confidence that Sniffer has a bright future, I will be stepping down from the role of MD this year. I am excited at the prospect of Sniffer securing a new leader with the vision, creativity and ambition to take the charity forward in achieving the transformational change that we work towards.

When Sniffer began as a small sustainability charity back in 1994, we knew the importance of protecting the environment and we set about building an evidence base to support practitioners and decision makers. At the heart of our work was a focus on encouraging collaboration – something that has remained core to all our work ever since. Over the last 30 years our understanding of environmental change has grown significantly, as has the imperative to work together to create better futures. And for Sniffer this also means working in ways that are fair – involving those in decision making who may otherwise be left behind, and taking account of those who are most vulnerable to climate impacts.

We’ve grown beyond what we envisaged in 1994, and are now a team of 17 working from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness

As our new Chief Executive Officer you will be instrumental in charting our future direction. If you are motivated by our vision and feel excited about the prospect of leading this incredible team, then we look forward to hearing from you!

Ruth Wolstenhome 

Managing Director 

Sniffer was incorporated as a Scottish Charity and company limited by guarantee in 1994.

We bring people, places, and organisations together to support them to respond to the changing climate. We act as a catalyst, fostering collaboration and providing tools to help create a fair future where all can flourish.

“The Company is established for the purpose of addressing environmental change and its impacts, contributing to environmental improvement and the advancement of education and knowledge in relation thereto, for public benefit, including well-being and quality of life.”

Our charitable objectives are “facilitating the active engagement of relevant sectors of society, including government, industry and communities, in the consideration of the environment and sustainable development”.

Our work is structured across three areas: Climate Ready Leadership; Climate Ready Placemaking and Climate Ready Innovation.

We deliver a number of high-profile programmes and initiatives, for example the Adaptation Scotland Programme and the annual Flood Resilience Conference.

We have extensive experience initiating and facilitating innovative place-based responses to climate change. This ranges from our pioneering work with Climate Ready Clyde in the Glasgow City Region and more recently Climate Ready South East Scotland and Highland Adapts.

We have a long history of being at the forefront of innovative thinking, being nimble and able to look ahead beyond organisations and sectors and across many geographies and sectors. We work closely with academic partners, with an example being our role in a new UKRI funded UK adaptation hub.

Our team has strong technical knowledge of climate resilience and systems thinking. This enables us to develop tools, resources, training and customised approaches to addressing adaptation challenges.

We have developed a trusted approach to facilitating events and processes, providing safe and creative spaces where people from diverse backgrounds can develop skills and confidence to experiment and gain confidence and skills to lead.

Our excellent networks enable us to bring in additional expertise and insights and support innovation.

We work with leaders in all guises from community volunteers to government ministers and CEOs. We are committed to empowering communities to respond to a changing climate.

Working at Sniffer involves being part of a collaborative and social team, with a strong focus on employee wellbeing. We have great shared office space at the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute, part of the University of Edinburgh, in central Edinburgh and in a collaborative co-working space at Civic House in central Glasgow.

To visit Sniffer’s website please click here.

Key elements of the role


  • Strategic Leadership to steer Sniffer to achieve its charitable objectives and strategic goals.
  • Profile raising and representation – to spearhead the implementation of Sniffer’s rebrand and represent Sniffer externally.
  • Innovation and horizon scanning – to ensure that Sniffer stays at the forefront as a creative and innovative charity that is nimble and forward looking.
  • Organisational culture – to maintain a positive organisational culture that evolves and aligns with Sniffer’s values.
  • Governance – to work with the Trustees to establish and maintain effective structures, practices and transparency.
  • Financial sustainability – to ensure the continuing success of the charity, broadening and diversifying income streams.
  • Stakeholder engagement – to build and maintain relationships with stakeholders so that Sniffer is valued as a trusted partner.



  • Programme development and delivery – to oversee the delivery of Sniffer’s activities in line with strategic objectives and expectations of funders.
  • Compliance – to ensure compliance with all relevant legal and regulatory requirements and to drive forward Sniffer’s approach to equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • Financial management – to ensure robust procedures in place for budgeting, financial reporting and compliance.
  • People matters – to manage the recruitment, development, and retention of skilled and motivated staff, with a focus on individual and collective wellbeing.
  • Risk Management – to ensure that risks are managed appropriately and necessary mitigations are in place.
  • Evaluation and learning – to monitor, assess and report on Sniffer’s performance against targets, goals and objectives, and to nurture Sniffer’s role as a change maker.


About you

We are looking for a solutions focused leader who combines vision and innovation with experience of leading an organisation to deliver on its strategic priorities. You will understand the need for systems change to create a flourishing and fairer future for all. You will have direct experience of working across sectors, creating strategic alliances and nurturing collaborative approaches, internally and externally. You will enjoy pioneering a creative and can-do approach which is a feature of Sniffer. You will be a skilled communicator and networker.


Knowledge and experience

  • Transformational /systems change and environmental change
  • Climate resilience and impacts of a changing climate for Scotland
  • Placemaking and locally-led action
  • Scotland’s policy context including climate, environment, planning, health and wellbeing, and sustainable development



  • Proven track record of strategic leadership, providing vision and clarity of purpose and organisational goals
  • Experience in building a positive, innovative and collaborative team culture
  • Experience of enhancing wellbeing and motivating and developing staff


Management and change management

  • Ability to effectively manage resources and budgets and experience of delivering long term financial stability.
  • Experience of leading and managing strategic and operational processes, ensuring effective governance, compliance and risk management processes.
  • Experience of managing organisational change.


Strategic relations and influence

  • Strong stakeholder management experience with a track record in building collaborative relationships and partnerships across a wide range of organisations and individuals in Scotland.
  • Experience of dealing with a range of issues across key stakeholders such as Scottish Government, Local Authorities, Public Sector and Third Sector.


Personal attributes

  • Commitment to Sniffer’s values and focus on fair and flourishing
  • A champion of equality, diversity and inclusion
  • A strategic thinker with creative and pragmatic problem-solving skills.
  • Impact driven with a focus on Sniffer’s role as a changemaker
  • Ability to engage with a wide range of stakeholders – from senior policy makers to local communities
  • High level of interpersonal communication and influencing skills.
  • Strong personal and professional resilience.
  • Creative and forward thinking



Candidates are encouraged to speak to AWS Executive prior to applying for the role. For a confidential discussion, ideally via Teams or Zoom, please contact Donna McKay [email protected] or Alan Surgeon [email protected]

Suitable candidates will then be invited to apply, by submitting an application form below. Please note, no CV or Cover letter is required to apply for this post, application is via the application form only. 


Interview Process

1st stage interviews will take place 15/16th July online, and this will be a competency based interview.

Preferred candidates will then be invited to meet with Management Team and other staff – in between the first interview and second in person interview.

2nd stage interviews will take place in person on August 1st 2024.


To visit Sniffer’s website please click here.


This position is now closed.

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