Executive Director

National Bed Federation

Closing date 11 December 2022
Location Home-based and Skipton office
Position type Permanent
Role Leadership / Strategy
Education Bachelor's
Experience >3 years
Benefits See below

Job description

Jessica Alexander, our Executive Director for nearly 17 years, has announced her intention to step aside into a part time consultancy role in 2023.

Consequently we are looking for a replacement for her role as Executive Director (ED) at the National Bed Federation, a trade association representing UK manufacturers of mattresses and beds and their component suppliers.

The Executive Director is essentially the beating heart of the trade association – this is a very practical, hands-on role, both supervisory and operational.

The successful candidate will:

  • Already have experience in a middle or senior management role, managing staff and budgets, developing and delivering organisation strategy.
  • Could have a background in trade association management.
  • Could have a background in the bed/furniture industry, in either retail or manufacturing. 

Key Attributes

  • Ability to manage committees 
  • Good diplomatic skills
  • Can do attitude
  • Passion & enthusiasm
  • Able to work under pressure and keep to deadlines
  • Good people skills
  • Excellent time management
  • Patience
  • Resilience

About the NBF

The NBF is the trade association for UK (and Irish) based mattress and bed manufacturers and their component and key service providers, based in the UK, Europe and beyond. Founded in 1912, it has c. 85 corporate members, businesses ranging from less than £1m turnover and fewer than 10 employees up to £100m+ and 1,000 employees.

The UK bed market itself has a significant manufacturing base – estimates suggest over 150 manufacturers, albeit mostly SMEs or micro businesses. We estimate our members account for approx. 50% of these but over 70% of UK mattress manufacturing by value – estimated at £1.5bn.  Imports account for approx. 20% of the home market. 

The NBF has a small secretariat – the Executive Director; Head of Marketing and Membership; Marketing and Communications Manager; Sustainability and Circular Economy lead; and (parttime) Office/Administration Manager. There is also a part-time freelance bookkeeper. 

We work with a number of consultants – including our Technical Manager who was previously a member of staff but now supports us through her new employers, testing and technical support business SATRA. 

The NBF offices are currently based in Skipton, North Yorkshire (with several members of staff locally based) and the team are working Tuesdays-Thursdays on site; and from home Mondays and Fridays.  (The Sustainability lead is based in Leeds and comes in once a week). However, the lease on the office runs out at the end of 2024, so there will be decisions to be made on location etc.

Ideally the successful candidate should be able to visit the offices at least once or twice a week.

The Role

The Executive Director is responsible for the development and delivery of all the NBF’s activities, managing and keeping to budgets and overseeing the Secretariat team.

He/She reports to the President (a pro bono role elected very two years by the membership) and to the Board of Directors and the Council (also pro bono roles fulfilled by senior management from member companies).

Main Activities

  • The annual Bed Show (a two day trade only event held at Telford) 
  • The annual Bed Industry Awards and Gala Dinner
  • Annual Spring Forum, AGM and informal dinner
  • The Code of Practice Audit programme 
  • Due Diligence testing programme 
  • Sustainability work programme – including liaising with Government 
  • Monitoring and contributing to the development and reviews of British and International standards
  • Retail Champions programme
  • Consumer marketing – Bed Advice UK
  • PR and Social Media Activity
  • Regular Members Communications – including Bulletin, Websites and trade advertising


  • Overseeing the membership application process
  • Reviewing and updating membership criteria
  • Overseeing, reviewing and updating member benefits 
  • Overseeing Terms of Reference and activities of all the association’s committees (there are currently six – the ED currently looks after four of them) 


The ED:-

  • Works closely with the President, the Board of Directors and the Council
  • Is a legal director of the company and also Company Secretary.
  • Ensures the Articles and Rules of Association are fit for purpose and kept up date
  • Works with the NBF Board and Council on finance, governance and strategy 
  • Works with the NBF accountants to produce annual accounts and the annual Presidents’ report for the Board’s approval. 
  • Ensures accounts are submitted, annual returns made and any CT due is paid. 
  • Sets up meetings, agendas, delivers reports, produces minutes and ensures actions are followed up for all Board and Council meetings.
  • Writes job specifications and is responsible for hiring and overseeing the work of all secretariat staff.
  • Is responsible for the office premises and office management (insurances, phone and IT contracts etc etc)


The ED:

  • Manages the day-to-day financial affairs of the NBF, overseeing the bookkeeping role and ensuring all sales and purchases invoices are issued and accounted for correctly. 
  • Liaises with the Treasurer and Board on financial matters.
  • Is responsible for preparing outline and detailed annual budgets and monitoring performance against budget targets. 
  • Provides quarterly budget updates to the Board. 
  • Researches and sets up savings accounts for the NBF’s reserve funds according to parameters outlines by the Board.

Management of Secretariat

The ED is responsible for managing the Secretariat team, currently comprising

  • Head of Marketing & Membership
  • PR and Social Media Manager
  • Sustainability and Circular Economy Lead
  • Office/Administration Manager (part-time) 
  • Bookkeeper (freelance)

The ED also oversees the work of our external Technical Adviser and sustainability consultants 

External Representation 

The ED also sits on a number of external committees and boards on behalf of the NBF. These organisations enable to NBF to monitor and deliver on matters of importance to members such as government lobbying, skills and apprenticeships etc: 

  • Furniture and Interiors Education, Skills and Training Alliance (FIESTA) steering group (NBF is a director). FIESTA is a join industry trade association initiative focused on apprenticeships and other training needs for the sector.
  • Furniture Industry Sustainability Programme (FISP) finance and steering groups (NBF is joint owner of scheme) FISP is an audited scheme, designed specifically for the furniture sector, designed to encourage more sustainable behaviour. It is well recognised in the commercial sector. It is currently being reviewed but forms part of our sustainability agenda. 
  • British Furniture Confederation (BFC) – NBF is one of five trade association members. ED is a director. NBF also provides admin support by way of bookkeeping, issuing sales invoices and paying bills etc BFC is another join furniture trade association initiative focused on government lobbying. It is chaired by a representative from the Furniture Makers Company
  • Mattress Recycling Association (MRA) is the legal body responsible for delivering the Register of Approved Mattress Recyclers (RAMR). ED is one of two directors and the NBF provides admin support with bookkeeping, invoicing, paying bills, producing annual accounts etc. The NBF has also been responsible for ensuring the development of the audit process is driven forwards. Being able to recommend approved recyclers is a key part of the NBF@s sustainability strategy. 

The Package

  • A competitive salary (details on request)
  • Private Healthcare cover for self and partner
  • Employer pension contribution (details on request)
  • 25 days holiday (+ bank holidays)
  • Income Protection scheme (after 12 months) 

How it will work

Once appointed and in position, there will be a phased handover.

The new Executive Director will work alongside Jessica Alexander for the first few months, while becoming familiar with all aspects of the role.

Jessica will also be continuing in a consultancy role for the moment, looking after the NBF's external links and also leading on engagement with government and stakeholders on sustainability policy and the development of an ERP scheme.

How to apply

Please send a covering letter outlining your reasons for applying for this role, along with your CV to the NBF President, Jim Gerety jgerety@vispring.co.uk