The Experience, training, motivation and other attributes of environmental staff are a critical factor in successful environmental management. Several recent studies have explored these topics for general environmental staff in the UK and USA. 1 However, there has been little research about the key player in corporate environmental management, the senior environmental executive; yet their ability to provide environmental leadership can make the difference between poor, average and ‘best-in-class’ performance. We therefore conducted in-depth—and anonymous—interviews with the senior environmental executives of 32 leading European companies in electronic manufacturing, chemicals, oil and gas and consumer products. The sample was further subdivided into UK, Dutch and German companies and the European subsidiaries of US-based companies.