Head of Operations - The Mary Rose Trust

Published: 4 April 2012

The Context:

The new Mary Rose Museum is due to open in late 2012 and the Trust was looking to appoint a Head of Operations to manage the day to day running of the museum and its commercial activities. The museum is currently under construction and the Trust was keen to have the Head of Operations in post as soon as practically possible so that the appointee was able to become familiar with the collection, building management systems, and commercial enterprises. 

The Challenge:

The Head of Operations was to be based at the new museum in Portsmouth and would be involved in both the exhibition and non exhibition fit out phases, with a particular focus on staff orientation & training, and ensuring that all the facilities management arrangements are in place prior to the soft opening to the pubic at the end of 2012.  The appointment needed to be made as soon as possible with the added challenge that the Trust had a limited budget.

The Approach:

Utilising a multi channel recruitment strategy including targeted search into the cultural, heritage and visitor attraction sector, and a print advertisement and online campaign, we quickly built a long list of high quality and suitably qualified candidates.  Working in partnership with our client we decided on the individuals that we would bring in for face-to-face interview before putting them through a skills and competency based assessment. A shortlist of five candidates was delivered to our client within the agreed timescales. Working with each of the candidates, arrangements were made for them to visit the new museum in advance of their panel interview to meet a number of the key stakeholders and gain more insight into the project. This visit fed into the presentations each of the candidates was asked to prepare for interview.

The Outcome:

Following a competitive interview process with the Chief Executive, his Deputy, a Trustee and Head of HR, a favoured candidate emerged and was offered the role of Head of Operations.  The new Head of Operations brings over fifteen years cultural, heritage and visitor attraction experience from English Heritage. He and his wife will be moving to Portsmouth in due course, and whilst serving his notice period he will be making regular visits to the Mary Rose Museum to work with his team to ensure that his transition into the new role is seamless, and he is able to hit the ground running, making an impact from day one.

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