Appointing a new Chair of Trustees

29 Jan 2024

The RPS is in the process of appointing a new Chair of the Board of Trustees to build on the remarkable legacy of John Gilhooly CBE who steps down in May 2024 after an exceptional term overseeing a period of significant growth and development for the charity.

Please note: applications for the role closed on 19 February 2024. You can no longer apply but we are leaving details of the role and application process here for those who have applied and for general interest.


We are immensely indebted to John for all he has done for the charity. As Chair, John has overseen the bicentenary of the Society, the appointment of a new Chief Executive, the implementation of a new strategic direction, notable growth in charitable activities, and the major public re-launch of RPS Membership. In 2023, only weeks after the Coronation, John successfully engaged His Majesty The King in the endeavours of the RPS, in a landmark moment where His Majesty personally presented RPS Honorary Membership to composer and Master of the King’s Music, Judith Weir CBE. We will cherish John’s ongoing friendship, and are so grateful for his outstanding leadership, advocacy and care, and the exceptional term he has fulfilled on the RPS Board for more than a decade.

John Gilhooly

The Chair leads the Board which currently comprises eight Trustees who bring a significant range of expertise to governing the RPS. Two Trustees fulfil the roles of Honorary Secretary (currently Angela Dixon) and Honorary Treasurer (currently Rikesh Shah). Trustees are jointly and legally responsible for the Society and must act in accordance with the Trustee Act 2000. Trustees are deemed to be its Directors under Company law and are therefore subject to provisions of the law governing the role and responsibilities of Company Directors.

Trustees meet quarterly to review the progress of the organisation, and on occasion to address further exceptional issues, and they engage individually with the Chief Executive and management to support specific matters. The Board of Trustees joins together with a wider cohort of around 15 further individuals to form a historic collective called the RPS Council, also led by the Chair.

The RPS is in good stead. Strategic steps since James Murphy was appointed as Chief Executive in 2018 have been warmly welcomed by the sector, and have set the charity on a stronger footing. Year on year, we are deepening the scope of how we fulfil our charitable objects, all the while building a stronger financial base. At this moment, the charity seeks someone enlivened by our current endeavours to help us consolidate and evolve them, to further our current strategic direction. We are looking for a highly-respected, inspiring and trustworthy figure, possessing excellent contacts in the classical music profession and the wider cultural sector, who knows and cares about the RPS.

We invite you to read the full role brief and person specification linked here and at the end of this page. The closing date for applications is 10am on Monday 19 February 2024.

The role brief will tell you how to apply and, when you are ready to do this, you should use the application form (link now removed as applications have closed). In this, you will need to submit:

an up-to-date CV of no more than two pages outlining your relevant experience, saved as a PDF (not a Word document). Its file name should simply be: Forename Surname CV

also

a covering letter addressed to Rikesh Shah, Honorary Treasurer, of no more than two pages detailing your interest and suitability for this role, and what you would hope to bring to the role of Chair of the RPS, saved as a PDF (not a Word document). Its file name should simply be: Forename Surname covering letter

or

instead of a covering letter, you may choose to provide a link to a short film of yourself talking to camera, ideally for around 3 minutes duration, telling us about your interest and suitability for this role, and what you would hope to bring to the role of Chair of the RPS. This need not be high-quality and we welcome it being filmed on a smartphone. This should be submitted as a link to YouTube, Vimeo or equivalent platforms, and the footage should remain visible there till at least May 2023. You may send a link to footage that is ‘unlisted’ but, if applicable, please supply any password that may be needed in the application form.

Please note that late or incomplete applications cannot be accepted.

We will invite select candidates for interview in London on Wednesday 13 March 2024, ahead of a new Chair being nominated by the Board in April. As noted above, we hope the chosen candidate will be able to attend the AGM on Wednesday 22 May 2024 at 6pm in person.

If you have any queries not addressed here, or would like to talk about any aspect of the role, outside of the formal application process, please email recruitment@philharmonicsociety.uk. Emails to this address will be received by Rikesh Shah (RPS Honorary Treasurer) and James Murphy (RPS Chief Executive).