Natural History Museum - Commercial Trustee

Body: Natural History Museum
Appointing Department: Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Sector: Culture, Media & Sport
Location: All meetings are currently taking place virtually owing to Covid restrictions but we expect to return to a pattern where Board meetings normally take place at the main site in South Kensington, London. In recent years the May Board meeting has been held at another UK location and the Annual Trustees’ Strategy Day is usually held in London but remote from the Museum.
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: Trustees give their services on an honorary basis and receive no remuneration, except for expenses reasonably incurred in performance of their duties.
Time Requirements: There are four regular Board meetings per year and one strategy day. Occasionally extraordinary meetings are convened to consider urgent issues or decisions. In addition, Trustees will serve on other committees as necessary as well as attend events at the Museum, other representational engagements, and, where possible or desirable, take part in recruitment for senior management positions. Trustees will need to allocate additional time to study papers.

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    02/07/2021 at 12:00

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

The Prime Minister wishes to appoint a new Commercial Trustee to the board of the Natural History Museum. Applications are encouraged from all sections of the community to help ensure that the Museum’s board is representative of the diverse society it serves.

The role of Trustees
The Trustees of the Museum have statutory duties under the British Museum Act 1963 and the Museums and Galleries Act 1992 for the general management and control of the Museum and for the appointment of the Director. Within the framework of these statutory duties, the role of the Trustees is primarily to establish Museum policy, review performance, support the generation of income and endorse appointments to key management positions.

Trustees participate in the Board’s decision-making processes including preparation for and attendance at all meetings of the Board and of any Board committees or other Museum structures to which they are appointed.

Trustees should have a commitment to the objectives of the Museum, uphold Museum policies and act as advocates for the Museum, including assistance with activities to generate funding from the corporate sector, trusts and foundations and other philanthropists. Trustees are expected to understand and uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life as defined by the Nolan Committee. Those principles are: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership. In accordance with this commitment, Trustees must declare any pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests upon appointment and whenever a matter or decision arises in which the Trustee has an interest which might be perceived to prejudice their views or comments or to be in conflict with the interests of the Museum.

The Museum is currently seeking to appoint a new Commercial Trustee to replace Dr Kim Winser OBE who will be stepping down at the end of her second term on 17 August 2021.

Person Specification

Essential Criteria
The successful candidate will be able to demonstrate in their application the following qualities:

  • A love of natural history and a commitment to the Museum’s strategic plan;
  • Executive commercial experience at a senior level with the ability to help drive the development of the Museum’s commercial operations;
  • An understanding of the importance to the Museum of fundraising and a commitment to support such activity.
  • The ability to work collaboratively with other Trustees and the senior management of the Museum to ensure its effective governance, and to contribute to strategy and policy development and;
  • A commitment to preserving cultural heritage, and improving education and understanding of British and World history.


Desirable Criteria
For this appointment we are seeking an individual with significant senior commercial experience. We are particularly interested in candidates who demonstrate one or more of the following desirable criteria:

  • Knowledge of and networks within global markets – in particular the US and important emerging markets within China and South East Asia;
  • Understanding of emerging digital publication channels and the opportunities this can create for commercialising high quality digital content;
  • Experience of commercial development of IP through licencing and other channels to help the Museum further develop and support its income from these areas.

Additional Information

History of the Museum

Originally part of the British Museum, the natural history collections (founded on those generated by Sir Hans Sloane) were moved to South Kensington when the now Grade 1 listed Waterhouse building was opened in 1881. The Museum became a separate legal entity with its own Board of Trustees on enactment of the British Museum Act, 1963, but was known after that time as the British Museum (Natural History), until the Museums and Galleries Act 1992 when it was officially retitled the Natural History Museum. The Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum at Tring (now known as the Natural History Museum at Tring) was added in 1937 when it was given to the nation by the second Baron Rothschild. Responsibility was assumed for the Geological Museum (now the Earth Galleries) from the Natural Environment Research Council when the latter’s British Geological Survey moved to Keyworth in 1985. The Natural History Museum is both a Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB), funded in part by Grant-in-Aid from the British Government provided through the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and an exempt charity. Approximately half of its expenditure is derived from sources of self-generated income, including bodies awarding grants for scientific research.

The Museum Today

The Natural History Museum’s mission is to create advocates for the planet – inspiring millions of people to care about the natural world and make the positive changes in their daily lives that will create a world in which both people and planet can thrive.

The NHM is the guardian of one of the world’s most important natural history collections. Through our own unrivalled expertise and by opening up access and participation for all, we are unlocking answers to the big issues facing humanity and the planet:

  • The origins of our planet and life on it, and the impact of change;
  • The diversity of life and the delicate balance of ecosystems that ensure the survival of our planet;
  • Sustainable futures, for example the security of our food supply, the eradication of disease and the management of mineral and ore scarcity.

The Natural History Museum is internationally recognised for its dual role as a centre of scientific excellence and as a leading visitor attraction, presenting natural history to the general public through exhibitions, a programme of public events and a presence online and on social media. Its principal purposes are to discover and make available to the scientific community the information contained within its collections of natural history specimens and to entertain, interest and educate people of all ages in natural history.

The Museum is entering an exciting new phase in its development. There is an imperative to improve the conditions for storage of collections and plans to realise this by moving some collections to a new Centre at Harwell Science & Innovation Campus. New digital, analytical and genomic technologies are emerging which both increase the potential user base of the collections and enable greater information to be derived from even the oldest specimens. These changes are facilitating exciting new research opportunities. Finally, a vibrant programme of temporary exhibitions will complement a planned refit of major galleries, and plans are in place to redevelop the Museum’s gardens, creating outdoor galleries and new outdoor learning activities for young people.

These plans need to be resourced. The Natural History Museum is an Arm’s Length Body with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport is its sponsoring government department. NHM receives Grant in Aid funding to support a proportion of its cost-base, but over 50% of the Museum’s income is generated from external commercial and fundraising sources. The ambitious Vision and Strategy to 2031 will make growing and diversifying this self-generated income even more important to success.

How to Apply

To apply, please send:

  • a CV of not more than two sides of A4;
  • a supporting statement of not more than three sides of A4, providing examples and setting out how you meet the criteria;
  • the Monitoring Form which must be completed by clicking this link, before submitting your application – please note this replaces the previous PDF monitoring form and;
  • the Declaration of Interests Form.

Completed applications should be emailed to: – please put Natural History Museum in the “subject” line.


If you have any questions about the appointments process, please contact Phil Hodges, Campaign Manager at DCMS ( 

Further information on the roles can be obtained from: 

Frances Allen – Secretary to the Board of Trustees, The Natural History Museum 


Our aim is to represent UK’s cultural diversity in everything we do. The Natural History Museum strives to serve the interests of all communities equally, regardless of their religion, race, sex, age, disability or sexuality. 

Diversity and inclusion

DCMS values and cares passionately about the diversity of its public appointments. Boards of public bodies should reflect our diverse society in order to ensure the sector has a leadership that draws fully on the different skills and perspectives our country has to offer.

We encourage applications from all candidates and particularly welcome applications from women, those with a disability, and those from a black or ethnic minority background. We also strongly welcome applications from candidates who live outside London, from any professional background, and of any age group.

We ask all applicants to complete a diversity monitoring form. We hope you will help us by providing this information. Your data is not disclosed to the panel, but allows us to constantly evaluate any potential barriers to becoming a public appointee and whether there are any changes we could make to encourage a more diverse field to apply.

Disability Confident

We guarantee to interview anyone with a disability whose application meets the minimum criteria for the role. By ‘minimum criteria,’ we mean that you must provide evidence in your application, which demonstrates that you meet the level of competence required under each of the essential criteria.

If you want to apply under this scheme, simply state this in the covering email or letter when submitting your application.

Reasonable adjustments

If you would like a confidential discussion regarding any reasonable adjustments during the process, please also indicate this in the covering email or letter.  

About DCMS

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) helps to drive growth, enrich lives, and promote Britain abroad.

We protect and promote our cultural and artistic heritage and help businesses and communities to grow by investing in innovation and highlighting Britain as a fantastic place to visit. We help to give the UK a unique advantage on the global stage, striving for economic success.

DCMS is a ministerial department, supported by 45 agencies and public bodies.

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. 

Eligibility Criteria 

You cannot be considered for a public appointment if:

  • you become bankrupt or make an arrangement with a creditor
  • your estate has been sequestrated in Scotland or you enter into a debt arrangement programme under Part 1 of the Debt Arrangement and Attachment (Scotland) Act 2002 (asp 17) as the debtor or have, under Scots law, granted a trust deed for creditors;
  • you are disqualified from acting as a company director under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986;
  • you have been convicted of a criminal offence, the conviction not being spent for the purposes of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (c. 53);
  • you become subject to a debt relief order or a bankruptcy restrictions order;
  • you fail to declare any conflict of interest.


Conflicts of Interest and Due Diligence

If you have any interests that might be relevant to the work of the Natural History Museum, and which could lead to a real or perceived conflict of interest if you were to be appointed, please provide details in your application. If you have queries about this and would like to discuss further please contact the Public Appointments Team.

Given the nature of public appointments, it is important that those appointed as members of public bodies maintain the confidence of Parliament and the public. If there are any issues in your personal or professional history that could, if you were appointed, be misconstrued, cause embarrassment, or cause public confidence in the appointment to be jeopardised, it is important that you bring them to the attention of the Advisory Assessment Panel and provide details of the issue(s) in your application. In considering whether you wish to declare any issues, you should also reflect on any public statements you have made, including through social media.

As part of our due diligence checks we will consider anything in the public domain related to your conduct or professional capacity. This will include us undertaking searches of previous public statements and social media, blogs or any other publicly available information. This information may be made available to the Advisory Assessment Panel and they may wish to explore issues with you should you be invited to interview. The information may also be shared with ministers and the Cabinet Office.

Final NHM Commercial Trustee Role Specification
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