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Director of Operations

About the role

The National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) is home to one the world’s finest collections of art, which ranges from the Middle Ages to the present day and includes masterpieces by Rembrandt, Leonardo, Warhol, Monet, Van Gogh, Botticelli, Picasso and Magritte. NGS’s spectacular buildings house the world’s greatest collection of Scottish art, and a world-renowned collection of Scottish and international photography, which runs to 40,000 images.

It is NGS’s ambition to reach the broadest possible public, and in 2019 NGS’s exhibitions, events and displays drew more than 2.7 million visitors to their three principal sites in Edinburgh: the Scottish National Gallery, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

NGS regularly tours exhibitions and works from the collection, sharing them with partners across Scotland, and also lends its artworks to galleries around the UK and internationally. NGS is also in the process of digitising the entire collection so that it can be shared online even more widely.

This is an exciting period of renewal for NGS, as it moves forward with a recently developed strategic vision that puts their audience at the heart of what they do. They are making it their mission to broaden their impact, matching their rich collections, expertise and creativity to the needs and wants of their visitors. They are finding new ways to connect with more people, and creating an innovative, inclusive organisation that can meet the challenges of the ever-evolving world.

The National Galleries of Scotland aims to preserve, display and augment the collections for the enjoyment and education of the widest possible public and to maintain NGS as a centre of excellence.

Role Purpose

We are seeking to appoint an exceptional Director of Operations working within the Chief Operating Office Directorate and across NGS.

The Chief Operating Office includes the entire Operations team, consisting of Health & Safety, Security and Visitor Services (SVS), Procurement and Legal, working together with the Finance, Information Technology, Human Resources and Estates Teams.

This team collaborates across NGS and with external partners to ensure the safety and security of a major national heritage asset – NGS’s world-class collection, its people and its visitors and large estate and associated infrastructure, to deliver operational services that enhance their visitor experience and to ensure NGS is a great place to work.

This is an exciting time for the Chief Operating Office within NGS as it continues to develop and implement the 5 year improvement plans, plan to open the newly established gallery spaces at the Scottish National Gallery and input to the development of the major new collection facility at Granton – The Art Works.

The role of Director of Operations is crucial to the success and sustainability of NGS, leading on all aspects of security and safety as well as being responsible for ensuring the best possible experience for their visitors.

The main responsibilities of this role will be

  • to ensure the safety and security of a world-class collection of art, working in partnership with the Chief Operating Officer, and other senior stakeholders internally and externally.
  • to ensure the security and safety of all staff, visitors, buildings and property connected with NGS.
  • to lead the Security and Visitor Services team to create and deliver a best in class visitor experience in the galleries.
  • to partner with the Head of Estates and the Collection Directorate to ensure the safety and security of the heritage buildings used to display and store the collection.
  • to manage and lead a series of other key aspects of Operations which have an impact on the whole organisation including Health & Safety; NGS’s response to the environmental crisis; procurement and legal.
  • to support the Project Manager for our new gallery project at the National Gallery including line leadership responsibility.
  • to establish and deliver a 5-year improvement plan, with positive improvement in the target outcomes of each of the areas of responsibility including delivering a more unified brand and visitor experience at each of our sites regarding service and ‘functionality’ and their programme to reach net carbo zero targets.
  • to agree a set of key performance indicators with the NGS Leadership Team to demonstrate tangible improvements in the visitor experience, as measured, for example, by visitor feedback surveys and mystery shops.
  • to establish and manage a risk log for the Operations Department, including all aspects of security and visitor services, to ensure the risks are pro-actively managed and mitigated against.

This represents a very significant career opportunity for a talented Operations leader to join NGS.

For further details please download the full candidate brochure.

To apply, please send your CV to Adam Brown, Director at FWB Park Brown at  For an initial discussion, please contact Adam on 0131 539 7087.