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Richard Mussell has been appointed as the next CEO of RSPCA Australia and will take over the helm of the national body of Australia’s best known animal welfare organisation from January 2020.

Mr Mussell brings to the role more than 19 year’s leadership experience in the commercial and not-for-profit sectors, including the past 5+ years as CEO of Animal Welfare League South Australia.

Mr Mussell said he’s very excited to be joining the team at RSPCA Australia.

“It will be a privilege for me to represent RSPCA Australia in this role,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to building on the successes of recent years, and working with the team to continue to fulfil their vision to be Australia’s leading authority in animal care and protection,” he said.

RSPCA Australia Chair Dr Richard Russell today welcomed Mr Mussell to the role, and said his appointment comes at a pivotal time for the organisation.

“In recent years, the RSPCA has been able to make significant progress towards achieving some of its key strategic priorities, including advocating for a phase-out of live sheep exports and an end to the use of cruel barren battery cages in egg farming,” said Dr Russell.

“There’s arguably greater interest and awareness of animal welfare in Australia at this moment in time than at any other time in our history, and as we consider what the coming years will look like for RSPCA Australia, I’m confident Richard has the energy, experience and skills to guide us there.

“Richard also brings extensive and relevant experience working in federated not-for-profit structures like ours. Strengthening internal relationships and attention to culture have been key features of his style, while his focus on external relationships has been essential to his successful track record.

“Through this experience and his background in marketing, business and governance we believe Richard will be a collaborative and inspiring leader for our organisation and more broadly for the animal welfare sector,” said Dr Russell.

Richard Mussell’s appointment follows the departure in April of long-standing CEO Heather Neil.

The RSPCA’s Chief Scientist and Strategy Officer Dr Bidda Jones has been acting in the role of CEO since then, and will continue to do so until January.

Mr Mussell will be based in the RSPCA Australia national office in Canberra.


The RSPCA is Australia’s leading animal welfare organisation and one of Australia’s most trusted charities. The RSPCA works to prevent cruelty to animals by actively promoting their care and protection.


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