Chief Operating Officer – Lakeland Arts

Job Title: Chief Operating Officer
Salary: £60,000
Location: Lakeland Arts, Cumbria
Closing date: 10:00 am 4 March 2024

Be a key player in promoting an entrepreneurial spirit at Lakeland Arts, seizing the opportunity to enhance commercial activity and develop new sources of income.

Who we are

Lakeland Arts is one of the most remarkable arts and heritage organisations in the north. We look after an exceptional portfolio of museums and collections in an area of outstanding natural beauty, which has inspired generations, from Wordsworth via Kurt Schwitters to Taylor Swift. This cultural and natural heritage attracts audiences from all over the world.

The staff at Lakeland Arts come from all walks of life, backgrounds and interests but have one thing in common – connecting people with outstanding art and heritage in a world-class cultural landscape.

In your new role, you will work in some of the most beautiful buildings and locations in Cumbria and you can expect to feel a real sense of pride in the job you do, every single day.

Lakeland Arts will enable you to learn, discover and develop your career. You will be joining a supportive team who will help you achieve your goals. Lakeland Arts are proud of who and where they are, and they work in a way that acknowledges their continued success is dependent on the contribution and expertise of every individual member of the team.

Lakeland Arts employs around 100 members of staff and 100 volunteers. Their team includes experts in the fields of art, conservation, collections and exhibitions, finance, communications and project management. Split over four award-winning attractions, the organisation is the beacon of excellence in arts in the north of England.

About the role

The Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Lakeland Arts will lead on the commercial activity and income, including developing potential new sources of income. The postholder will have an entrepreneurial mindset and experience in successfully developing profitable income streams, by maximising on and offsite mission-linked business opportunities, as well as driving visitor spend.

The COO will be responsible for leading continuous improvement initiatives across the organisation to enhance business performance and drive operational and business strategy, and the day-to-day operations across all Lakeland Arts sites.

The role of the COO will be both strategic and hands-on, managing the team, and working collaboratively with the programming colleagues to identify and support earned income potential.  A member of the leadership team, the COO will play a key role in the strategic development of Lakeland Arts and will act as Deputy to the Chief Executive. The COO will attend Board meetings and other Trustees committees.

The COO will lead business planning and support the CEO by translating the vision, goals and strategy for the organisation into operational and business plans. They will demonstrate strong financial leadership, managing capital expenditure, planning and overseeing the work of the Finance Director and Manager, and managing all aspects of operational and commercial risk.

The Chief Operating Officer will oversee commercial and operational strategy and delivery of successful commercial income generation and activity, planning and developing commercial opportunities and projects for the organisation. The COO will maintain local connections to ensure they are abreast of local business intelligence which will, in turn, inform organisational decision-making. They will work with the leadership team and colleagues across the organisation to improve performance, standards and products whilst driving efficiency.

With overall responsibility for the day-to-day operations across all Lakeland Arts sites, the COO will manage the Head of Visitor Experience and Estates Manager and provide operational direction, guidance and support for the whole organisation, including on making the Museum more environmentally sustainable.

They will have oversight of IT systems, including the development of visitor information systems such as EPOS, ticketing and retail systems as well as marketing and fundraising tools such as CRM, and advise the CEO and Trustees on growth of the Museum’s digital and systems capabilities. Supportive of the strategic development of Lakeland Arts and the delivery of the business plan, they will contribute to the overall success of the organisation, representing Lakeland Arts to its various audiences and focusing on the delivery of a high-quality visitor experience.

Who we are looking for

Lakeland Arts is looking for someone with experience of driving successful commercial strategies, with relevant experience of managing operations at a visitor attraction/ arts venue or equivalent organisation. With significant experience of leading and managing teams, they will have strong experience developing and delivering organisational strategies and business plans, as well as experience in financial management, control planning and operational budgeting, with a proven track record of developing income from trading activity.

With an active interest in arts, galleries and museums, the next COO will have exceptional communication and negotiating skills, demonstrate good business judgement and have the ability to implement changes, influence and engage stakeholders, develop and cultivate excellent working relationships and evaluate and review business effectiveness and implement actions to address.

The next COO of Lakeland Arts will exhibit excellent people skills, with an ability to build good relationships and work in a supportive manner alongside colleagues, volunteers and stakeholders. Strong communication skills, a warm leadership style and the ability to influence wider stakeholders are all essential. They will demonstrate a commitment to Equal Opportunities, EDI and a dedication to exceptional customer service. The next COO will display self-motivational qualities and the ability and willingness to work as part of a close-knit and cohesive team.

With an entrepreneurial approach and a keen eye for business opportunities, the next COO will ensure the visitor experience team and volunteers can work collaboratively with colleagues across Lakeland Arts to maximise resources and income-generating opportunities.

For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Alison Maxwell: or 07498 071852

Rebekah Abbott: or 07538 270749

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