Business Trustee - National Portrait Gallery

Body: National Portrait Gallery
Appointing Department: Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Sectors: Business, Finance & Skills, Culture, Media & Sport
Location: London
Skills required: Business / Commercial
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: Board appointments are not remunerated, but reasonable expenses are paid.
Time Requirements: Quarterly Board meetings, ad hoc meetings and an annual Review Day


An announcement has been made on the outcome of this appointment.

Mark Cecil and The Rt Hon Chris Grayling have been appointed by the Prime Minister as Trustees of the National Portrait Gallery for four years from 11 May 2020 to 10th May 2024.

Date: 26/05/2020

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    04/09/2019 at 10:00

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

The Gallery is looking for a candidate who will be able to demonstrate the following criteria:


Person Specification

Essential criteria:

  • A Senior Business Executive with an empathy for the culture sector who will be able to make a significant contribution to the next crucial phase of the Inspiring People project.
  • An understanding, of and commitment to, the vision and values of the National Portrait Gallery and its future development, particularly the Inspiring People project and the renewal of the Collection displays.
  • An understanding of the diverse communities in the UK and a real commitment to promoting diversity.
  • Excellent communication skills and the ability to contribute to Board-level discussion and wider policy and strategy development.
  • The ability to provide advice and opinions to staff on the development of the National Portrait Gallery’s Collection through the acquisitions and commissioning process.
  • A good understanding of the challenging self-generated income needs of the Gallery and be prepared to show initiative in support of fundraising initiatives.
  • The ability to engage with the Gallery’s budgeting and financial planning.


The candidate will be a strategic thinker with a strong understanding of public sector values and principles of good governance.


Desirable Criteria 

This individual will be able to demonstrate a number of the skills and range of experience mentioned below:

  • The ability to lead an organisation in a time of change and contribute to its strategic direction.
  • A strong international network that can be harnessed for the benefit of the National Portrait Gallery.
  • A sound financial acumen and the confidence to make observations and comment on a major capital project of £35.5m.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability and inclination to act as an ambassador for the Gallery.
  • An ability to present to a range of stakeholders including the media.
  • Access to key decision makers in both the public and the private sector.
  • Demonstrate a range of skills related to the running of a Gallery in the 21st century including around hospitality, retail, brand, visual identity, futurism, different areas of income generation and creative ways of communicating to new audiences.


Additional Information


Established in 1856, the aim of the National Portrait Gallery is to promote, through the medium of portraits, the appreciation and understanding of the men and women who have made and are making British history and culture, as well as to promote the appreciation and understanding of portraiture in all media. 

The National Portrait Gallery is unique in being both for and about people. From Katherine Parr to Martin Parr, we serve as the nation’s family album, inviting everyone to meet the people who have made – and are making – Britain what it is today. 

The Gallery is home to the largest and most prestigious collection of portraits in the world. On our walls are people from all four corners of this country, who have shaped our society over the past 500 years, and show the potential in everyone to make a difference. The National Portrait Gallery highlights the cultural and historical links that we all share and that bind us together, something that is more important now than ever. We have a clear and urgent role to play in helping to foster empathy, social cohesion and inclusion, which were among our founding principles and remain just as true and relevant today (if not more so), in an era of social media, global uncertainty and political upheaval.

The Primary Collection contains some 11,100 portraits. Of these, more than 4,150 are paintings, sculptures and miniatures, nearly 60% of which are regularly displayed at the National Portrait Gallery or elsewhere, including two houses managed by the National Trust; Montacute House and Beningbrough Hall. In addition, there are some 6,800 works on paper, shown on a rotating basis of about 300 items a year, and 250,000 photographic images, of which at least 130,000 are original negatives. They date from the 1840s to the present day.

The Gallery has free admission and has averaged around 1.8 million visits each year to the St Martin’s Place site. There are 5.1 million annual website visits and 1.2m social media followers.

The Gallery employs around 272 staff, and has an average annual turnover of £18 million. The Gallery raises 70% of annual income from fundraising initiatives, retail and rights and images, ticket admission on exhibitions, catering and learning programmes. 

As with other national museums, whilst we continue to receive government support as an Arm’s Length Body of DCMS, we increasingly rely on our ability to generate income from a variety of other sources – including individuals, companies, trusts and foundations, as well as through income from exhibitions, retail, catering, and events.


Inspiring People

Significant successes over the past few years, including critically acclaimed exhibitions and key acquisitions and commissions, have raised the Gallery’s aspirations and confidence. At the same time, through public research and consultation, a number of limitations to future growth and engagement have been identified.

The Gallery has also demonstrated its ability to make acquisitions of national importance, such as the Sir Anthony van Dyck self-portrait and Thomas Lawrence’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington, to strengthen its national programme and to establish new partnerships. To continue with such successes, while coping with limited resources, requires a determined sense of direction, clear planning and continued efficiency across the institution as a whole.

We have embarked on a £35.5m project for the complete renewal of the Gallery, Inspiring People, the most transformative since our home at St Martin’s Place opened in 1896. The project will simultaneously safeguard our heritage and look to the future, allowing us to extend our influence, reach and relevance. At its heart is an ambitious, more engaging and much-needed comprehensive re-display of our collection, from top to bottom, Tudors to now.

Inspiring People will deliver overarching and transformative improvements, including a complete refurbishment of the galleries; a new entrance and forecourt, a much needed new Learning Centre; and restoration of the original East Wing.  The project will transform our building, making it more welcoming and appealing to the widest and most diverse audiences possible, as well as restoring historic features of our beautiful Grade 1 listed home. 

Beyond the building, we have plans for an inclusive national programme, ambitious international collaborations and an expanded digital strategy, in order to reach new audiences onsite, online and both across Britain and around the globe. 

The Inspiring People project will enable us to optimise all of our assets for our visitors, including our historic building and world class Collection, helping us reach a broader and more diverse audience. We will become an essential place for those looking to understand the culture that they chose, were born into, or seek to understand. The renewed National Portrait Gallery will be a truly national gallery for everyone, reflecting the Britain of today. 

In April 2017, the Gallery was awarded a First Round National Lottery Heritage Fund (formerly HLF) capital grant of £9.4m towards the Inspiring People project. This enabled the Gallery to move into the Development stage of the project and appoint Jamie Fobert Architects as the design team for the project. Jamie’s work on Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge and Tate St Ives have both been acclaimed and recently received a number of architectural awards.

In the past month, the Gallery has received Planning Permission and Listed Building consent for the project, reached RIBA Stage 3 in design, had the Outline Business Case approved by the DCMS, submitted the NLHF Second Round application and reached £31.6m of the £35.5m target.


The Board of Trustees

The chief role of Trustees is to assist the Chair in meeting the Board’s overall responsibilities under the Charities Act and in accordance with the guidance issued by the Secretary of State.  Trustees offer guidance and expertise on the Gallery’s strategy and its practical implementation. They must be positive advocates for the Gallery, representing it to ministers, officials at DCMS, and others.  They must also assist the Chair in ensuring that the Gallery’s affairs are conducted with probity.

Trustees must be able to attend Board meetings and such other sub-committee meetings as may be necessary.  Board meetings are held four times a year in London, with one additional review day. Some additional time will need to be devoted to ad hoc meetings, studying papers, attending events at the Gallery and occasional visits to regional partnerships.  


How to Apply

To apply, please send:

  • A CV of no more than two sides of A4; this should provide details of your education and qualifications, employment history, directorships, membership of professional bodies and details of any publications or awards.
  • A supporting statement of not more than two sides of A4, setting out how you meet the criteria – please make sure you refer to the contents of this document;
  • The Conflicts of Interest Form and the Diversity monitoring form. The Diversity Form will be kept separately from your application and Conflicts of Interest Form, and will not be seen by the selection panel in order to meet the Cabinet Office’s Governance Code on Public Appointments.


Completed applications should be sent to: , please put ‘National Portrait Gallery’ in the subject title.

Alternatively, they can be posted to Public Appointments Team, 100 Parliament Street, London, SW1A 2BQ.



For queries about your application, or the application process, please contact


If you are not completely satisfied

We aim to process all applications as quickly as possible and to treat all applicants with courtesy. If you have any complaints about the way your application has been handled, please contact


Supporting information

This process is regulated by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ (OCPA‘s) Code of Practice. All applicants are expected to have adhered to the Seven Principles of Public Life.

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