Case Study: Commercial operations for a charity

Royal Academy of Arts

Managing Director, Royal Academy Enterprises Ltd

In the past three+ years as Managing Director, I was accountable for the delivery of profitable revenues from retail, eCommerce, book and magazine publishing and catering management, which contributed approximately one-third or the Royal Academy’s (RA’s) income. I was responsible for the effective management and motivation of 45 permanent staff and up to 70 temporary staff and contractors. I developed a strong and effective senior management team and ensured that the productivity of every department was optimised. I re-invigorated the marketing strategy for all of the commercial enterprises, growing profit contribution from the core businesses of retail and publishing and successfully developing new business growth areas in eCommerce, licensing and publishing specifically in order to decrease the RA’s dependence on exhibition visitors. To achieve this growth, I developed a range of successful new strategic partnerships and alliances and established greater collaboration with individual artists and architects who are members of the RA. I lead and managed successful supplier tender processes, for new catering, the eCommerce IT build and RA Audio Guides.

In evaluating the prospects for business growth, I recognised the limitations of two profit centres and I closed these in order to focus resources on more profitable areas. My management of these closures established a high standard of professionalism for the RA, as they were handled smoothly and effectively, with great attention paid to supporting the individuals involved and limiting the potential adverse impact on the organisation.

As well as contributing to the RA’s income, I ensured that the products and services provided by RA Enterprises matched or exceeded the RA’s expectations, fully reflecting the values of the Royal Academy and enhancing public perception of the RA brand. Several of our products and publications won prestigious national awards.

 Key achievements:

  • 42% growth in revenue and dramatically improved profit contribution
  • Introduction and roll-out of new product development processes and disciplines
  • Transformed eCommerce business aspirations and launched new online shop
  • Closed less profitable ventures
  • Quantum improvement in sales and marketing
  • RA publications and merchandise won prestigious national awards
  • Significant improvement in catering performance and management controls