Executive Director - Operations

Date advertised

8 October 2020

Closing date

29 October 2020




College Wide

Required hours

Full Time


All three sites



The Royal College of Art is the world’s leading postgraduate university of art and design. Founded in 1837, it is also the world’s oldest art and design university in continuous operation and its most research intensive. Among its core audiences - students, artists and designers - the RCA brand is legendary. The generations of world-leading designers and artists who have studied or taught at the RCA is a roster of international repute. 

In 2016, the RCA embarked upon the most transformational and substantive strategic plan in the institution’s history. In terms of delivery, we are nearing the summit, but the steepest and most challenging ascent lies ahead as we expand our campus with a new £130m+ Herzog de Meuron campus in Battersea; modernise our MA programmes with a new flexible academic model in 2022; and introduce new academic disciplines, including Robotics in Design and Gaming; offer graduate diploma programmes internationally and create blended learning opportunities; increase research intensity and launch into new Knowledge Exchange fields such as the future of modelling and manufacturing and Visualisation. We intend to double the number of start-up companies exiting our business incubator and treble student numbers over the 15-year time frame 2010 - 2025. 

Reporting to both the Vice-Chancellor and the Deputy Vice Chancellor, the Executive Director -  Operations will ensure that the people, systems, infrastructure and all of the operational processes which underpin the RCA’s academic vision and strategic goals progressively improve to mirror its world-leading status. The RCA’s bold vision requires excellent operational leadership, whilst simultaneously delivering change and process and systems improvement. The EDO needs to bring together all of the operational and administrative systems and services of the RCA into seamless and integrated professional services delivery. The EDO must work closely with the VC, DVC, Finance Director and the Executive Director of Transformation & Delivery over the coming years in order to embed new systems, working practices, and provide greater operational resilience. 

You will have experience of significant operational leadership, ideally gained in a Higher Education context and be adept at translating strategic imperatives into practical operational delivery in timely and effective ways to maximise value for money, quality and efficiency.  Key to your success will be your ‘people skills’ in terms of proven operational leadership and the drive and determination to put in place seamless, integrated operations and infrastructures, and be naturally at ease with team members across different functions and levels of responsibility. 

For further information, please visit https://www.dixonwalter.co.uk/opportunities/rca-executive-director-operations/ or contact our retained consultants Mike Dixon or Alan Walter at Dixon Walter on 0208 1389746 or at mike@dixonwalter.co.uk.

Closing date for application is Thursday 29th October 2020

Final stage interviews will be held at the end of November 2020.

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The Royal College of Art is an equal opportunities employer. The College particularly welcomes applications from all sections of the community and would particularly encourage members of minority groups to apply.  

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