The RSPCA has begun advertising for a new chief executive more than six months after the departure of Jeremy Cooper.
The move to recruit comes after a difficult few years for the charity, in which it went without a chief executive for more than two years before the appointment of Cooper in April 2016.
But Cooper stepped down with immediate effect in June last year and Michael Ward, formerly the chief operating officer at the charity, has been the acting chief executive ever since.
It is the first time the role has been advertised since Cooper’s departure.
A spokeswoman for the RSPCA said the delay in advertising the role occurred because it was advised that the new year was the best time to run a recruitment process. She said the charity hoped to conclude the process by spring.
A recruitment panel with specialist advisers would oversee the recruitment process, the charity said, and shortlisted applicants would undergo a number of interviews, including one with the trustee’s appointment panel, a group of elected volunteers.
A statement from the RSPCA said: "This is a really exciting, unique position for someone to build on the great work of the RSPCA, the world’s largest and oldest animal charity, which rescues, rehomes and rehabilitates thousands of animals each year.
"The recruitment process for a chief executive has to be a measured, thorough process. We currently have an interim chief executive and deputy chief executive in place and were advised that the new year was the perfect time to begin recruiting for a permanent appointment."