Ralph Applebaum Associates

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Director of Business Operations

Ralph Appelbaum Associates is seeking a full-time Director of Business Operations for its award-winning design studio in London which over the last 25 years has worked with museum and corporate clients across the UK and Europe.  


The Director of Business Operations is responsible for overseeing all financial and contractual aspects of the London studio operations, working in close collaboration with the Director of the London Studio and the RAAI executive team to drive growth and ensure that the practice’s creative excellence is underpinned by commercial success. The primary focus of the role is to monitor and report on the overall status of live projects and pipeline to ensure that budget targets are met, that revenue flows are maximised, and that fixed costs are minimised. In addition, this role will lead all RAA UK commercial/financial proposals and will represent RAA UK in financial and contractual negotiations. The Director of Business Operations is responsible for advising project leadership (in London and NY) regarding scopes of work, programming, resourcing, fee projections, and appointment of subcontractors and consultants.

The candidate will be a highly motivated problem-solver with a proven history of successfully running projects from a commercial perspective, preferably in museums, exhibitions, and other cultural and corporate visitor centre projects from conception to completion. The position is responsible for working with our Project Management staff to ensure that each project is completed on time, on budget, and to the highest standards. 

This position is hybrid, with the option to balance in-person work in the London studio with working remotely, depending on the needs of the studio and individual preferences.


  • Representing RAA Externally: Acts as a lead voice of fair, transparent and collaborative business partnership with clients, creative collaborators and subconsultants to secure the most effective contractual and commercial terms and to maintain positive and long-lasting relationships across the sector.
  • Financial Management: Prepares and maintains revenue projections and staff resourcing overviews. Working closely with the RAAI Finance Team and Director of Project Management Services, reports on RAA London’s financial performance and overall status of live projects and pipeline to ensure that budget targets are met, revenue flows are maximised and fixed costs are minimised. Directs and controls the work and resources of RAA London, ensuring that staff are working at optimum efficiency and with a balanced workload.
  • Income Generation: Operates with a commercial mindset to capitalise on marketplace demands and opportunities. Leads on financial proposals with a focus on commercial competitiveness. Encourages and works closely with project teams to identify and develop additional services, expanding the commercial potential of existing projects.
  • Processes and Practices: Works with project team directors/leadership to establish clear and efficient project management processes and best practices. Directs and advises project leaders on project scopes of work, contractual requirements, RAA processes and templates, programming, resourcing, consultant scopes, etc.
  • Innovation: Evaluates and implements new tools with designers, project managers and cross-functional partners to encourage nimble, flexible and collaborative working practices. Tracks emerging trends in operations and programs.
  • Corporate Strategy: Member of the executive team; works collaboratively with the President, Chief Creative Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Director of the London Studio, and other key stakeholders to develop, align and execute operational strategy and drive optimal business outcomes and develop strong relationships between the studio and administration.


  • Degree in architecture, interior architecture, engineering, project management, or other comparable field
  • 10+ years of experience in professional management of design and/or construction projects
  • 5+ years of experience in a comparable management-level role
  • Strong negotiation, management, and leadership skills
  • Knowledge of UK architectural contract law, including preparation of fee offers and contracts, typical terms and conditions, contract evaluation, and negotiation
  • Excellent time and task management and organisational skills
  • Experience in writing/reviewing specifications is a plus
  • Proven experience in change-order management
  • Ability to work independently and within teams
  • Ability to work efficiently across a wide range of activities and projects
  • Outstanding verbal and written communication skills
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite and Google Workspace
  • Knowledge of Deltek VantagePoint Personnel Management Software a plus