Chief Executive, West Dean, Chichester & London


Please click here for the Candidate Pack

The Edward James Foundation, known generally as West Dean, is looking to appoint a new Chief Executive.

West Dean is a unique institution, combining one of the UK’s foremost specialist creative arts and conservation Colleges with an extensive country estate and stunning gardens set in the beautiful South Downs national park. The College has also recently opened a new campus in Bloomsbury, London, which offers exciting new development opportunities that the Foundation is keen to exploit.

The College offers a wide range of creative subjects taught to the highest standards. Undergraduate and Masters degrees are offered in areas such as Fine Art, Conservation and Design, alongside a renowned programme of short courses taught by leading art and craft practitioners. Among many specialist facilities, the College has one of Europe’s leading fine art tapestry studios, weaving large scale tapestries by Henry Moore, Tracey Emin and others that can be seen in world-leading galleries and museums.  West Dean owns original works by a number of surrealists including Salvador Dalí and Leonora Carrington.

The world class West Dean Gardens attract many thousands of visitors a year, while the wider estate covers 6,500 acres of arable land, woodland and forest, including eleven farms and some 150 cottages. The Foundation has  ambitious sustainability plans which include planting half a million trees and developing its own food produce line, making West Dean Climate Neutral by 2030.

The new Chief Executive will have the opportunity to enhance the reputation and reach of West Dean, building on an exceptional legacy. They will oversee the educational, estate and operational needs of West Dean, ensuring that the College and Estate operate at the highest levels with infrastructure and management processes that are fit for purpose, diversifying income for the organisation, and planning ambitiously and imaginatively to deliver growth. They will serve as a powerful ambassador for the organisation.

Ideal candidates will be proven leaders, who can guide, nurture and encourage West Dean in its development, bringing vision, commercial instincts and strategic perspective to this exceptional institution. They will have prior experience of successfully managing people and resources at a senior level, combined with an evident enthusiasm for the unique educational offering and countryside estate at West Dean. They will demonstrate a commitment to and/or experience in education, the cultural sector or rural estate sector. The successful candidate will have an appreciation of the operational and commercial needs of a large complex charity with a commercial arm, as well as the ability to navigate charity and company governance structures and higher education regulatory frameworks.


To apply please send your application, consisting of a CV and cover letter, to by the closing date of the Wednesday 4th September.

For an informal discussion, please email:

West Dean values the diversity of its staff and students. We aspire to be a fully inclusive and representative employer and do not condone discrimination on the basis of age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, faith or ethnicity, religion or belief, gender identity, or marriage and civil partnership. We strongly encourage applications from suitably qualified candidates from a wide range of backgrounds to apply and join our teams at West Dean.