Chief Executive Officer

The RSA Chief Executive Officer
Location London, UK
Application deadline 2 February 2021
Contract type Permanent
Hours Full-time
Apply now

The RSA (Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) is an ambitious charity, committed to building a future that works for everyone by uniting people and ideas to resolve the challenges of our time.

Founded in 1754, the RSA has been at the forefront of significant social impact for more than 250 years. Its proven change process, thought leadership and research programmes, coupled with innovative and award-winning ideas platforms and a diverse global community of more than 30,000 Fellows, delivers solutions for lasting change.

Rooted in evidence-led thinking, the RSA acts with integrity and purpose, championing curiosity, creativity and courage to inspire better ways of thinking, acting and doing. Its proven, multi-disciplinary and collaborative change process, ‘The RSA Living Change Approach’, underpins all our work with practical tools and approaches to enable both us and our partners empower both ourselves and others to effectively realise lasting change.

This year saw the RSA launch its new brand identity — focused on ‘committing to impact’ — and shift to more focused long-term programmatic working, as part of its new corporate strategy.

The role

With the upcoming departure of its Chief Executive Officer after 15 years, the RSA is now looking for an exceptional candidate as the new CEO to take forward these plans.

The new CEO will unlock what is needed to further shape a path to the future, bringing together the ideas, skills, expertise and energy of the RSA’s global community for the greatest impact and influence. This will mean harnessing all the organisation’s assets together as ‘one RSA’ including even closer engagement with its Fellows, being more global, increasing its visibility and impact, and deepening the RSA’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Key roles and responsibilities


  • To work with the Board to provide strategic direction, in close collaboration with the Executive Team and wider core Leadership Team and to be accountable for the implementation of the current strategy and to contribute ideas which might improve its outcome and the impact we seek.


  • To be a thought leader, contributing ideas to the issues being addressed by the RSA;
  • To be an inspirational and responsible leader, motivating others by living the values of the RSA and ensuring that there is a dynamic and effective culture of trust with staff, working collaboratively to deliver organisational goals;
  • To ensure we have the talent, resources and organisational systems and process needed for sustainable growth and implement the RSA’s strategy; and
  • To ensure that the organisation maintains its focus and energy through clear decision making, empowering leadership and driving forward our commitment to impact at all levels.


  • To plan and oversee the growth of the RSA through its programmes, its proven approach to change, rigorous research, innovative ideas platform and diverse global community of over 30,000 problems solvers to deliver solutions for lasting change;
  • To represent the RSA globally, advocating on its behalf and building partnerships and networks;
  • To open up new contacts, networks, partnerships and funding opportunities for the RSA to develop existing and new business areas; and
  • To influence and share best practice with other organisations that support social change.


  • To ensure an income strategy that supports sustainable growth for the organisation;
  • To generate new funding and partnership opportunities through networking and partnership opportunities; and
  • To manage and drive forward income generation within the RSA supporting the Executive Team and wider Leadership Team.


  • To seek and develop opportunities to promote the value of the RSA’s work;
  • To ensure the organisation’s new brand positioning, key messages and communications strategy are aligned; and
  • To act as the key spokesperson for the charity and engage with international and national media to build the RSA’s profile and increase its influence.


  • To report delivery against the organisation’s key performance indicators and to ensure a framework for the measurement outputs, outcomes, impact and evaluation; and
  • To ensure that the organisation applies a strong quality management framework and wider organisational learning through the RSA Living Change Approach.


  • To report to the Board on all matters relating to the discharge of its responsibilities; to ensure the organisation meets its constitutional, regulatory and legal obligations;
  • To be accountable to the Board for the overall financial health of the RSA; and to maintain an overview of the current financial position and long-term financial strategy.
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Experience and skills

The successful candidate will be a dynamic, creative and innovative leader. They will:

  • be passionate about leading an organisation with a strong social purpose and global convening power. They must
  • have proven successful leadership experience in a high-performing organisation.
  • bring a strong sense of intellectual rigour combined with commercial nous and influencing skills.
  • build on the strong global reputation of the RSA and, above all, lead by example and work hard and effectively for the greater good of society.

This is an outstanding opportunity for a great leader, utterly committed to making a real difference in finding solutions to the challenges facing society today and in the future.

Other useful information

Saxton Bampfylde Ltd is acting as an employment agency advisor to the RSA on this appointment. For further information about the role, including details about how to apply, please visit using reference BXMC. Alternatively, telephone +44 (0)20 7227 0880 (during office hours).