At the helm of ZSL is Chief Executive Officer, Matthew Gould, a former Ambassador and senior civil servant with a varied and impressive leadership background.

Matthew's remarkable career spans multiple industries, including government, cybersecurity, and science. As the Government's first Director General for Digital and Media at DCMS, he spearheaded digital innovation, and as Britain's Ambassador to Israel, he focused on scientific collaboration in regenerative medicine. Matthew's experience in digital transformation and advocacy for scientific research is central to ZSL's ongoing efforts in advancing conservation science to restore nature for everyone.

As a visiting professor at Leeds University, Matthew has a keen interest in education and scientific research. He has an Honorary Doctorate from Ben Gurion University and has been recognised with a CMG for services to the scientific and tech partnership between Britain and Israel and an MBE for services to child protection in the Philippines. Matthew's diverse background reflects his deep commitment to tackling the world's challenges, including the biodiversity crisis.

In his role as Chief Executive Officer, Matthew leads ZSL's endeavours protecting and saving endangered species, restoring ecosystems, supporting people living with wildlife and inspiring change. Recognising the critical role ZSL plays in preserving our planet's biodiversity he is strident about the urgency of the situation: "Saving species is not a luxury, it is critical to humanity's own health and survival.”

With Matthew's vision, leadership, and creativity, ZSL will continue to harness the power of its science, conservation and animal expertise and grow its impact in conserving the world's biodiversity.

Matthew concludes: “ZSL has a strong legacy of innovation and conservation. With a focus on scientific research, advocacy, and preservation, ZSL will undoubtedly play a vital role in protecting endangered species and preserving our planet's biodiversity for generations to come.”

  • ZSL Directors
    Our dedicated directors

    Meet ZSL's Directors

    Our expert teams are led by a team of dedicated directors, passionate about ensuring nature is at the heart of global decision making.

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    ZSL's Governing Body

    Council members

    Read more about our current council members, who are collectively responsible for ZSL’s governance and provides leadership and oversight of the strategic direction of ZSL, in line with our charitable purposes.

  • tiger close up
    Almost two centuries strong

    The History of ZSL

    As we approach ZSL's 200th anniversary, we mark two centuries of discovery, pioneering & inspiring and delighting visitors through science, conservation and our two Zoos.

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