"Positioning You for Success"


Client: Oceana -

Location: Madrid, Copenhagen, or Brussels


Oceana has an opening for the leader of our European region, where Oceana’s policy teams campaign to protect and restore the abundance of European seas.  The Executive Director of Oceana in Europe is responsible for achieving successes in Oceana’s policy campaigns, leading the European expert teams, raising funds from European sources, and participating as a member of Oceana’s international leadership team.  The European Executive Director is also a Vice President in Oceana’s international structure.


The Executive Director for Europe can work from any of Oceana’s European office locations (except London):  Madrid, Copenhagen, or Brussels.  He or she will report to Oceana’s international CEO.


Oceana campaigns to achieve important policy changes for ocean health.  We are practical and results-oriented, with campaign goals defined as persuading a specified decision-maker to adopt a pre-defined, measurable policy change within a two- to four-year deadline.  Our campaign teams include scientists, lawyers, communication experts, advocates, and organizers.


Sensible ocean policy, as advocated by Oceana and our allies, can not only protect marine wildlife, but also enhance the capacity of the oceans to feed a growing world population.  The world’s landings of wild-caught ocean fish peaked in the 1990’s and has been falling.  We know the solutions to turn around this decline and potentially to allow almost a billion people to eat a seafood meal every day indefinitely.  In this way, ocean conservation is not only a plan to save ecosystems but also to save the livelihoods of fishers, their families, and their communities. 


Ocean’s campaigns have already led to hundreds of important policy changes by the European Union and Member States.  Our achievements in Europe include obtaining policies –


  • Ensuring that almost 70 percent of European Atlantic catches by volume are caught at maximum sustainable rates


  • Making the EU’s external fleet the most transparent, accountable, and sustainable fleet in the world;


  • Banning bottom trawling in an area of the deep-sea Atlantic larger than the entire EU


  • Designating multiple new Marine Protected Areas and marine parks in the European Mediterranean, Atlantic, and Baltic Seas


The Executive Director of Oceana in Europe is responsible for proposing campaign goals, leading campaign teams, and achieving policy results in our European region.


The Executive Director plays an important role in Oceana’s fundraising.  Our European office leads in communicating with European institutional funders and potential funders for restricted grants.  It also reaches out to and maintains contact with individual donors in Europe.


The Executive Director sits on Oceana’s staff Executive Committee and participates in the management of Oceana’s international family of offices.  He or she typically attends meetings of Oceana’s international board of directors and presents on the goals and progress of our European office.


The successful candidate for this position will demonstrate these abilities (in descending priority):


  • Policy campaigns:  Set clear and measurable policy goals; engage in fact-based advocacy; propose practical solutions; and develop or ensure development of plans to achieve campaign goals.


Ideally, the successful candidate will demonstrate the ability to lead policy campaigns on the topic of ocean conservation.  However, we will also consider relevant experience in advocating for policies on other conservation issues, or even issues other than conservation.


  • Team management:  Ensure effective decision-making; inspire and motivate campaign leaders and teams; delegate effectively and set clear expectations for performance; make clear assignments of responsibility; provide effective feedback; and guide and coach staff.


  • Communication:  Communicate clearly with the public and stakeholders; work with allies; and make the case persuasively for policy change. 


  • Fundraising:  Communicate clearly with funders and potential funders about Oceana’s campaigns; engage in funder discussions about Oceana’s priorities; and work with the European fundraising team and headquarters to identify and reach out to funder prospects.


Oceana is the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation.  Three distinctive features of Oceana are that we are focused only on the ocean; are a policy-campaign organization; and operate as a combined international organization in which the heads of countries or regions play a critical role in achieving policy change.   In this structure, the Executive Director of Oceana’s European region proposes campaign goals to the international leadership and board of directors, has responsibility for achieving the goals, and manages a European team to implement the campaigns.  The European regional staff share information with and assist colleagues in other Oceana offices, and vice versa.  The headquarters office provides support, guidance, and direction on such functions as finance/accounting, fundraising, law, human resources, and information technology.



Principal Duties and Responsibilities

Essential Functions:


  1. Provide vision and direction to the conception and execution of Oceana’s campaigns; and ensure each campaign has a comprehensive strategy and plan for achieving results using the tools of law, communications, advocacy, science, and grassroots organizing.
  2. Ensure the financial sustainability of Oceana Europe by securing gifts from high-worth individuals, foundations, bi-lateral and multi-lateral funders to cover Europe’s annual operating budget and create a pipeline for future funding. Assist with fundraising from European donors for Oceana campaigns outside of Europe. Coordinate Oceana Europe’s fundraising efforts with other fundraising units in the organization.
  3. Become a visible and credible face for Oceana, representing the organization externally and in the media, raising public awareness, and broadening the organization’s reputation with funders, decision makers, and other key constituencies.
  4. Develop and maintain effective relationships with international and European communities. Foster productive relations with relevant stakeholders, including elected officials and government, media, private companies, and other stakeholders.
  5. Oversee the operational aspects of Oceana Europe .
  6. Motivate and develop staff and identify opportunities for improvement and growth. Hold self and staff responsible and accountable to expected outcomes. Promote and maintain a culture of high performance.
  7. Provide updates to the CEO and board of directors regarding Oceana Europe’s performance against goals and budgets. Provide regular updates to Oceana leadership team on progress and achievements.


Job Requirements

Education and work experience:

  1. Demonstrated ability to achieve policy change in Europe.
  2. 10+ years of professional experience devising and leading advocacy campaigns, including a solid track record of success. A focus on the environment or oceans preferred but will consider candidates who have a track record in other policy environments. 
  3. A skilled leader and manager of people, with a strong record of accomplishing goals through team efforts.
  4. Demonstrated success in fundraising. A track record in fundraising from foundations, major individual donors, bi-laterals or multi-laterals is required.
  5. Education in marine science, international or development policy, law, communications, social entrepreneurship, social justice or other relevant field; an advanced degree is preferred.


Skills and knowledge:

  1. Working knowledge of European government, public policy, and the political environment.
  2. The ability to use analysis, wisdom, experience and judgment to make good and timely decisions that keep the organization moving forward. 
  3. Experience in public affairs, communications or media is an asset.
  4. Strong verbal and written communication skills, including effective presentation and negotiation skills, and ability to make complex issues accessible for lay audiences.
  5. Excellent interpersonal skills, presence and ability to build strong relationships internally and externally to the organization.
  6. Must be able to effectively engage and motivate a wide range of audiences at the highest levels to act, including government officials, major donors and funders, organizational leaders, media, and other stakeholders.
  7. Proven ability to lead, engage, and collaborate with individuals across various disciplines, cultures, and backgrounds to achieve shared goals.
  8. Ability to weigh a spectrum of viewpoints and interests, and synthesize into a sound, strategic plan of action.
  9. High energy and passion for Oceana’s mission is essential.
  10. Willingness to travel up to 40 percent, within Europe and internationally.
  11. Fluency in English is required. Proficiency in other languages is a strong plus.



The above declarations are not intended to be an “all inclusive” list of duties and responsibilities of the job described, nor are they intended to be such a listing of the skills and abilities required to do the job.  Rather, they are intended only to describe the general nature of the job and are a reasonable representation of its activities.




Applicants: Oceana has engaged with Global Recruitment Specialist for the recruitment of the VICE PRESIDENT / EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR EUROPE position. Expressions of interest can be submitted your application (cover letter and update CV) to: Donna Gillotte, GRS Search Recruiter at: For more information about Oceana, please visit our websites at  . EOE.