Chief Executive Officer

National Association of Funeral Directors
Closing date 07 October 2022
Location Solihull with home working
Position type Permanent
Role Leadership / Strategy
Education Bachelor's
Experience >5 years
Salary GBP 90,000–110,000
Benefits See below

Job description

The NAFD is the largest trade association in the Funeral Sector, supporting its members in delivering high standards of care for those who have died and provides bereaved people with information and assurance to help them choose a compassionate, professional and experienced funeral director that they can trust.

The role

You will be joining the NAFD at an important time in its 117 years of history. The funeral sector has undergone a period of transformational change over the past five years, including the introduction of regulation by both the Competition and Markets Authority and Financial Conduct Authority, the evolution of services in response to consumer demand for personalised, bespoke funerals, increased use of technology in the arranging of funerals, and a significant rise in the direct cremation market. The NAFD was at the forefront of the sector’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, advising all four governments of the UK on the myriad of issues that arose due to the excess deaths to which the pandemic gave rise.

Last year we published our first ever 5 Year Strategy, set up a new independent organisation to oversee inspection activity, and began a major overhaul of our education offering. We are now looking for an inspirational leader who can drive the next phase of our change programme, revitalise our membership offering, as well as deal with significant regulatory and policy issues across the 4 nations.

There will be plenty of challenges:

  • Updating our membership services so we continue to offer excellent support to large corporates and small family- run independent firms;
  • Continuing the overhaul of our education and training provision to reach more people working in the funeral sector;
  • Influencing policy makers and others about the right regulatory framework to encourage innovation and reassure consumers about high standards;
  • Acting as the robust and respected voice for the sector working in partnership with members, broader stakeholders and those representing the bereaved and consumers

If you care about promoting high standards, providing resources to support our members, ensuring consumers can make informed decisions – and have the vision, skills and experience – we would be very pleased to hear from you.

About NAFD

Established in 1905, the NAFD represents the entire spectrum of funeral directing businesses, including independent and family-owned firms, co-operatives and major funeral groups. NAFD represents more than 4,100 UK funeral homes, as well as international firms and suppliers to the sector – providing advice, advocacy, education and support to help them meet the highest professional standards.

A founding member of the Deceased Management Advisory Group, with 116 years of experience to draw upon, the NAFD campaigns on a wide range of funeral and bereavement issues. We are a trusted advisor to Government, helping to shape the policy landscape in all four UK nations; we provide funeral consumers with advice on choosing a funeral director; we deliver a comprehensive framework of training and qualifications to help funeral service employees provide compassionate and exemplary professional care; and we host regional and national events that bring the profession together, including the biennial National Funeral Exhibition – one of the world’s leading funeral sector events.

The NAFD also sets high standards for its members. NAFD member firms must abide by the Funeral Director Code – our comprehensive code of practice, developed on consultation with the wider sector and consumer organisations. Funeral home members are regularly inspected by the new Independent Funeral Standards Organisation, which NAFD established as an independent regulator for the funeral profession, and are offered guidance and support in reaching the highest standards. We also provide access to an independent complaints scheme for funeral consumers, NAFD Resolve, which is operated on our behalf by the Centre of Effective Dispute Resolution.

Our values

The NAFD’s mission is to be an inclusive and progressive advocate for the funeral profession and bereaved people in all four nations of the United Kingdom. We do this by promoting high standards, providing resources to support our members in caring for deceased and bereaved people – and ensuring consumers can make informed decisions.

The NAFD has four core values that guide everything it does.

  • Progressive – the NAFD leads not follows – and is always looking to develop its insight, services and expertise
  • Inclusive – the NAFD seeks to understand, support and reflect the needs of all stakeholders
  • Knowledgeable – the NAFD works hard to ensure it is considered an expert witness and source of insight on funeral matters and is committed to continuously improving its understanding.
  • Trustworthy – the NAFD is responsible, respectful and dependable; it inspires confidence and acts with integrity

NAFD has a small and committed staff team, and recently achieved Investor in People status, with 93% of staff saying NAFD was a great place to work. Find out more To read more about NAFD’s work and structure, please visit: About Us - National Association of Funeral Directors (nafd.

Main duties and responsibilities

Strategic Leadership
  • Think strategically to set strategy development, monitor performance against targets, and report to Governing Board and wider membership.
  • Ensure that the plans and resulting strategies and budgets are executed successfully.
  • Working with the Board and Executive, develop a shared vision for the future of the organisation, build understanding around the mission, and develop appropriate goals and strategies to advance that mission
Organisation and people leadership
  • Lead, influence and build a strongly performing team aligned to and demonstrating positive behaviours supporting the Association’s core values.
  • Create a sector leading, success oriented, people and client focused environment.
  • Have overall responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the organisation. You will work with staff to develop, maintain, and use systems and resources that facilitate the effective operation of the organisation toward the objectives of the strategic plan.
Financial responsibility
  • Drive top line revenue growth through existing channels as well as new channel development.
  • Support the diversification of income and extend the operation and influence of the vital work we do.
  • In partnership with the board and appropriate staff, be responsible for developing and implementing fundraising systems and strategies that enable the organisation to meet its financial development goals and carry out its programmes and operations.
External influencing
  • Be the public face of the organisation effectively promoting the organisation to the Membership, partners, Governments and other policy makers in the 4 Nations and the media, advocating for the mission and work of the organisation, and building relationships with constituent or stakeholder groups critical to the success of the organisation.
Innovation and technology
  • Use your experience of technology to innovate and improve, enabling the NAFD to be more efficient and develop quality improvements to engage members, existing and new.
Continuous improvement
  • Develop a commercially driven continuous improvement ethos throughout the Organisation, with the ability to bring people with you through excellent communication and understanding the importance of leadership style that promotes inclusion.

Person specification

Part one - Knowledge and experience
  • Exceptional understanding of how membership organisations successfully operate to ensure viability and growth.
  • Leadership - relevant experience as a leader with proven track record of leading and developing highly engaged performing teams.
  • Strategic thinking - proven track record and an ability to think strategically, to set strategy development, performance management and reporting.
  • Change Management - experience of leading significant organisational and cultural change.
  • Governance - experience of working with a Board in a complex environment.
  • Communications - experience of handling the media, and comfortable in a representational role.
  • Policy Influencing: knowledge of regulation and policy, and experience of working with Government
Part Two – Skills and abilities
  • Ability to drive business development and strategic planning.
  • Highly commercially focussed with commercial acumen and the ability to apply this to strategic and operational planning.
  • Influencing - building and maintaining effective stakeholder relationships, both internal and external.
  • Ability to operate in a fast moving, agile, entrepreneurial business.
  • Degree or equivalent level qualification, ideally with a recognised management qualification.
Part Three – Leadership style and personal attributes
  • An inspirational leader passionate about getting the best out of their team.
  • Strong people management skills and experience in leading, performance managing, motivating and developing teams.
  • Strong interpersonal, professional and influencing skills.
  • Confidence and ability to gain credibility both internally and externally.
  • Evidence of and/or commitment to continuous professional development.
  • Alignment with the NAFD’s core values:
  • Progressive – the NAFD leads not follows – and is always looking to develop its insight, services and expertise
  • Inclusive – the NAFD seeks to understand, support, and reflect the needs of all stakeholders
  • Knowledgeable – the NAFD works hard to ensure it is considered an expert witness and source of insight on funeral matters and is committed to continuously improving its understanding
  • Trustworthy – the NAFD is responsible, respectful and dependable; it inspires confidence and acts with integrity

Terms of Appointment


This role attracts a salaruy range between £90,000 - £100,000.


This is a permanent full-time appointment


Solihull at least 2 days a week, with home working

Other benefits 

  • 25 days paid holiday each year + bank holidays.
  • Holiday entitlement will increase with length of service as follows:
  • After 5 complete years’ service: an additional 3 days (to 28 days)
  • After 10 complete years’ service: another additional 2 days (to 30 days) 
Occupational Sick Pay
  • During the first five full years of continuous service: 
    • first three months’ continuous absence at full pay. 
    • next three months’ continuous absence at half pay. 
  • After five full years of continuous service having been completed: 
    • first six months’ continuous absence at full pay. 
    • the next three months’ continuous absence at half pay. 
Life Assurance Scheme
  • 3x Salary Pension
Pension Contribution
  • Pension Contribution of 8%

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Diverse perspectives and experiences are critical to our success and we welcome applications from all people from all backgrounds with the experience and skills needed to perform this role The NAFD embraces diversity and promotes equity and inclusion. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

How to apply

To make an application, please click on the apply now button below, with the following prepared:

  • A CV (no more than three sides).
  • a short supporting statement (maximum two sides) that sets out why you are interested in joining NAFD as its next Chief Executive Officer.

Apply now