The Paul Mellon Centre is a small organisation committed to hiring and nurturing excellent people. Professional opportunities are listed here. If you cannot see a suitable opening at present, please sign up to our newsletter to learn about new vacancies and more.

Chief Operating Officer

Full-time, Permanent Contract

A new role of Chief Operating Officer has been created at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art (PMC) to respond to our recent growth in size and activities as a research centre and educational charity. This is an exciting and important time to join our dedicated and ambitious team at senior leadership level to help us achieve our charitable and educational objectives and plan the delivery of our strategic priorities as we look ahead to the future.

We are looking for a highly experienced professional with an impressive track record who is committed to the highest standards of charitable governance, project planning and delivery. Our new Chief Operating Officer (COO) will help the PMC create an inclusive and inspirational workplace and provide outstanding services and facilities.

Applicants will be expected to work on-site at the Paul Mellon Centre, Bedford Square, London WC1. Hours of work are thirty-five per week. We are happy to talk about flexible working arrangements offered by the Centre.

Salary will be in the range of £100,000 to £110,000 p.a. depending on experience. The Centre also provides a generous range of employee benefits.

Who We Are

As a research centre and educational charity, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art (PMC) aims to generate original, inclusive and creative thinking and scholarship on British art, understood in its most diverse and expansive contexts. We host and support a thriving programme of research events. We publish innovative books and a wide range of digital outputs, including our prize-winning journal British Art Studies. We pursue individual and collaborative research projects. With our grants and fellowships programme, we sustain the most exciting and original work in British art and visual culture. We make our specialist archives and library accessible to a growing public, at Bedford Square and beyond. We deliver teaching and learning programmes and run networks that connect researchers and professionals.

The Centre was founded in 1970 by the American art collector and philanthropist Paul Mellon and our activities are supported by the endowment he gifted to Yale University. We are a partner institution to the Yale Center for British Art. Paul Mellon believed in the centrality of the arts and humanities to democratic society and valued critical thinking, the role of the imagination and the expression of ideas. We are inspired by this vision to increase access to British art across all our activities that take place at the Paul Mellon Centre and through those we fund elsewhere.

About the Role

The postholder will sit on the Centre’s Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and assist the Director and fellow SLT members in overseeing the PMC’s activities and development and delivering the Centre’s mission, vision and strategic priorities. As a member of the SLT, the postholder will play a key role in helping maintain good governance (including providing strategic recommendations and drafting policy and governance documents) and maintaining and developing organisational culture, values and reputation with all staff, associates and external stakeholders. They will serve as an ambassador for the Centre within the wider sector and, as required, the postholder will deputise for the Director’s activities and temporarily take on additional team and line management duties within the Centre.

Other Key Areas of Work

Strategy and planning

The postholder will:

  • lead on strategic planning and delivery, working closely with the Director to operationalise the Centre’s mission, vision and values
  • lead on project management for all Centre-wide initiatives, ensuring that all necessary infrastructures are in place to achieve desired outcomes and align with the Centre’s strategic priorities
  • lead on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) policy and initiatives, creating a strong culture of inclusivity and belonging across all of the Centre’s work
  • work closely with the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Finance Team to contribute to the annual budget and planning process
  • coordinate with the CFO to contribute to the annual external audit process and reporting to the Board of Governors
  • provide structure and support through line management to the Digital Lead, working closely on the development of workforce and audience data collection and insight to ensure effective measurement and analysis across programmes and activities

Risk Management

The postholder will:

  • lead the Centre's overall risk management, including maintaining the Centre’s risk register
  • work with the Director and CFO to manage the Centre's risks, and develop and implement related strategy, processes and policies, and the charity’s good governance across activities
  • prepare relevant documents related to risk management for Board of Governors meetings
  • act as organisational lead on legal matters, especially in relation to statuary and compliance responsibilities in relation to operations
  • collaborate with the CFO to assess and mitigate against risks facing charitable organisations
  • work closely with the Centre’s Archivist, Records and Data Protection Manager to ensure legal compliance and the implementation of best practice regarding the use of data across the organisation and GDPR law
  • support the CFO with the management of the Centre's insurance cover
  • liaise with colleagues at Yale University to share best practice in this area

Operations and Infrastructure

The postholder will:

  • provide an access-centred approach across our activities, helping people to connect with work at our premises, as well as remotely
  • provide structure and support through line management to the Operations Lead to ensure the effective running of all the Centre’s operations creating the physical and digital facilities of a world-class research centre
  • be responsible for the assessment and long-term planning of the Centre’s property needs
  • ensure the organisation is compliant with relevant legal obligations (i.e. Health and Safety)
  • oversee the organisation’s IT operations and work with the Operations Lead to ensure the hardware, software, systems and services are fit for purpose and that procurement procedures are in place and followed across the Centre
  • provide structure and support through line management to the Digital Lead, ensuring that our digital activities remain sector leading
  • work with the CFO and Finance Team to implement robust financial systems
  • be accountable for cybersecurity and data security across the Centre
  • work closely with the Operations Lead on the development of sustainability strategy and policy, with a key focus on climate and environment

People and culture

The postholder will:

  • inspire and create a culture of high professional standards, excellent planning and cultural leadership across the organisation
  • provide structure and support through line management to the Human Resources (HR) Manager, overseeing the strategic work related to this area and working closely with the HR Team and the Director to create a positive, forward-looking and accountable organisational culture
  • ensure that all areas of the Centre’s activity are connected and work well together to achieve the Centre’s mission, vision and values
  • research and advise the SLT on new trends and good practice relating to working habits, culture and structures

Person Specification

The postholder will:

  • be an experienced senior leader and manager who can work collaboratively in a team but is also self-motivated to lead on projects
  • have a nuanced understanding of how charitable organisations work most effectively and how change and improvements can be implemented successfully
  • have an understanding of the role of a COO in a charitable and educational organisation
  • be a creative generator of ideas and solutions
  • have a vision for how working practices and culture can develop for the better
  • be a champion of good and inspirational governance, with a deep-seated belief in transparency and effective leadership
  • have the ability to work across a number of projects with a fastidious eye for detail whilst keeping the bigger picture of our mission, vision and values always in mind
  • have excellent interpersonal and communication skills with colleagues and external contacts
  • have a meticulous attention to detail and experience of working with administrative processes
  • have a high degree of computer literacy, with experience of running IT and digital infrastructure projects
  • have good numerical skills and written communication skills
  • have a collaborative approach to teamworking as well as proven ability to work proactively and independently
  • have a proven commitment to the principles of equality, inclusion and diversity
  • have complex understanding of a range of access needs and practical experience of helping create accessible working environments, resources and facilities
  • be understanding of, and have a commitment to, the PMC’s work and to the arts and humanities more broadly

Application Process

Please apply using our web application form available via https://thepaulmelloncentre.hrpartner.io/jobs

If you have any issues applying or have any queries with the web application form, please contact the HR team at [email protected]

Closing Date

The closing date for applications is 10am, GMT, on Monday 26 February 2024


Interviews for the post will be held week commencing Monday 25 March 2024


Queries about the post should be addressed to [email protected]

The PMC is committed to promoting an inclusive and inspirational workplace. We are keen to ensure that opportunities to work with us are open to everybody and welcome applications from people from all backgrounds. We are happy to discuss any access needs with potential applicants.