Appointment of the Executive Director of Estates


Thank you for expressing an interest in the University of Glasgow and the role of Executive Director of Estates. With the departure of Ann Allen MBE, we now invite applications to this high-profile position (of which there are few roles in UK higher education sector which can compare with regards to scale and importance) as we reshape and service our historic estate.

The University has been at the forefront of change, excellence and innovation for over 560 years, shaping the city of Glasgow, hand in hand with our partners, throughout the centuries. By 2025 we will have invested over £1bn, transforming the campus and supporting the University’s ambition to be a world changing University, enhancing interdisciplinary research and making a step change in the experience of our students.  Estates Services is leading the capital development programme, which is the biggest the University has undertaken in the last 150 years.

Our evolving masterplan seeks to integrate fully with the urban grain of the West End of Glasgow by defining new and existing important urban connections.  The newly articulated Western site presents a once in a generation opportunity to redevelop the site as an integral part of the City. New and planned buildings include a Teaching and Learning Hub; a Research Hub; an Institute of Health and Wellbeing; a postgraduate building and Adam Smith Business School; and a range of new commercial, innovation and public spaces.

Our new Executive Director will need to balance the complexities and scale of a huge capital programme with the importance of servicing and developing the existing estate; core to the success of this role is this holistic approach to the whole estate.

If you would like to contribute your expertise, creativity and energy to this important post, I would be delighted to hear from you and look forward to seeing your application.

Dr David Duncan
Chief Operating Officer and University Secretary

Meet Glasgow

Over the last five centuries and more, we’ve constantly worked to push the boundaries of what’s possible. We’ve fostered the talents of seven Nobel laureates, two Prime Ministers and Scotland’s inaugural First Minister. We’ve welcomed Albert Einstein to give a lecture on the origins of the general theory of relativity. Scotland’s first female medical graduates completed their degrees here in 1894 and the world’s first ultrasound images of a foetus were published by Glasgow Professor Ian Donald in 1958. In 1840 we became the first university in the UK to appoint a Professor of Engineering, and in 1957, the first in Scotland to have an electronic computer.

We are a place that inspires ambitious people to succeed. A place where inquiring minds can develop their ideas. A place where talented people are given the space to realise their dreams.

Most importantly, we are open to the world. Our doors are open to the brightest minds, regardless of background, who wish to study at university. We are open to collaboration and the exchange of knowledge with other universities, government and businesses.

To continue to be a world-class and progressive university, we are dedicated to bringing inspiring people together to change the world.‌

All of this means that if you choose to work here, you’ll be walking in the footsteps of some of the world’s most renowned innovators, from scientist Lord Kelvin and economist Adam Smith, to the pioneer of television John Logie Baird.

To view the University’s Strategic Plan, Inspiring People, please click here.

For full information on the campus development, please click here

The Professional Services Group structure can be viewed here.

The Estates Services structure can be viewed here.

The role

Executive Director of Estates

Job Title: Executive Director of Estates
Duration: Permanent
Reporting to: Chief Operating Officer and University Secretary

Job Purpose

The Executive Director of Estates is the University’s senior professional advisor on estates strategy, management, processes, systems and controls. In fulfilling the main duties and responsibilities of the job, the Executive Director of Estates provides leadership and strategic direction for: campus development, property management, capital works, estates maintenance, facilities management, security and janitorial services, property services and carbon reduction within a highly controlled legislative and financial framework.

The Executive Director of Estates reports to the Chief Operating Officer and University Secretary and is a member of the Professional Services Group.  The role holder works closely with the Senior Vice-Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor who leads on the development of the University’s strategic plan and its campus development plan.

Job Dimensions

  • Leadership and management responsibility for circa 1,000 staff
  • Estate comprises in excess of 300 buildings and 300,000m2 of space across four different campuses

Main Duties and Responsibilities

Strategic Management

  •  Develop, communicate, implement and regularly review a corporate estates strategy aligned to the University’s Strategic Plan, developed in consultation with the Senior Vice Principal, the City of Glasgow and other key internal and external stakeholders.
  • Communicate a coherent vision, underpinning the estates physical infrastructure and demonstrating how it will significantly enhance the University’s global reach and reputation and the quality of the student, staff and visitor experience.
  • Create, acquire, renew and maintain infrastructure assets to achieve strategic condition targets and manage business continuity risks while disposing of land and buildings to reshape the estate for more efficient use.
  • Ensure the University’s physical infrastructure is fit-for-purpose and cost-effective.
  • Oversee the provision of flexible research and learning environments which improve utilisation and allow appropriate decant space to facilitate strategic estates development.
  • Oversee the development of new space and refurbishment of existing facilities in ways that support the University’s transformative agenda.
  • Ensure the University utilises space sustainably to achieve strategic carbon and energy saving efficiencies and targets.

Financial Management

  • Prepare and gain University approval of Estates pay and non-pay capital and revenue expenditure budgets.
  • Authorise capital expenditure (CapEx) applications in conjunction with the Director of Finance, in line with the University’s financial regulations, and make recommendations for approval to Estates and Finance Committees.
  • Authorise capital works, maintenance and utilities expenditure in accordance with the University Court’s Scheme of Delegated Authorities.
  • Authorise purchasing requisitions and purchase orders in line with the Scheme of Delegated Authorities and financial regulations.

Service Delivery

  • Provide professional advice and support to sponsors of major capital projects.
  • Ensure that the Estates directorate responds effectively and efficiently to emerging needs as they arise.
  • Nurture a culture of customer service throughout the Estates directorate, with a focus on supporting academic activities and the student experience.
  • Ensure the University obtains best Value for Money from its estates procurement by implementing the most appropriate procurement methods and collaborative purchasing with the wider HE sector.
  • Ensure effective and efficient management of the Estates directorate, including maintenance, trades, cleaning, and janitorial functions.

Human Resources Management

  •  Ensure that the Estates organisational structure is efficient and cost-effective, while enabling delivery of the estates strategy and the ongoing effective maintenance of the University estate.
  • Provide effective leadership and development, ensuring staff have the skills and knowledge to meet the requirements of the service and respond effectively to emerging business needs.
  • Advised by the University Services HR Team, ensure adherence to legal obligations and University Human Resources (HR) policies and procedures affecting the employment of staff.

Health, Safety and Wellbeing

  • Manage and advise on risk to ensure the University meets its health, safety and wellbeing statutory obligations with regard to the built environment.
  • Act as the University’s primary owner of responsibilities for the management of Asbestos, Legionella and Electrical Safety in the built environment.

Internal Control Systems, Audit and Review

  • Define policies and standards for Estates, working closely with stakeholders and users to meet statutory requirements and good practice guidelines.
  • Establish sound internal control systems and procedures to safeguard the University’s staff, students, visitors and assets, and meet its statutory obligations and strategic aims.
  • Ensure recommendations from internal audit reports and review processes are implemented, and progress reports are provided to the University’s Audit and Risk Committee, Estates Committee and other committees and boards as required.




  • Degree with a chartered professional qualification, or equivalent, in one of the following disciplines: Architecture, Building, Engineering, Facilities Management, Project Management, Surveying or Urban Design.
  • Evidence of seniority within profession through membership of a professional body for one of the above disciplines.


  • IOSH Safety for Senior Executives Certificate or equivalent.
  • Postgraduate qualification in Business, Management or Real Estate.
  • APMP professional qualification in project management or equivalent.



  • An outstanding ability to lead an estates strategy, directing major projects and managing a large department responsible for the development and maintenance of the estate.
  • Excellent general management and financial skills to ensure the proper co-ordination of business and management throughout Estates.
  • Ability to lead, influence, motivate and manage in a challenging environment.
  • Well-developed interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate effectively, formally and informally, with people at all levels within and outside the organisation.
  • Excellent communication skills in order to present formal written reports and presentations.
  • Integrity in relationships, decision-making and actions.
  • Strong negotiating skills and experience of dealing with trade unions.
  • The political insight and influencing skills to deal with sensitivities across a wide range of academic and non-academic stakeholders.
  • A sound knowledge of the regulatory and legislative framework governing estates management and development.


  • Understanding of the HE sector nationally and on an international level.



  • Experience at a senior level in setting the strategic direction for an Estates function in a large organisation.
  • Significant experience of leading and managing a range of staff from a variety of disciplines.
  • Experience of leading change programmes which have delivered demonstrable organisational benefit.
  • Experience of operating a range of procurement methods and an ability to identify and mitigate financial risks to ensure successful delivery of major building projects.
  • Relevant and recent experience of major, large-scale capital programmes or substantial re-shaping through disposal or acquisitions.
  • Excellent track record in leadership and management.
  • Proven budgetary control and financial management experience.
  • Success at developing a ‘customer-focused’ service culture, which would be transferable to, and relevant for, the multiple demands of a world-class academic environment.


  • Previous experience of leading and managing estates functions in a large complex multi-site environment within a higher education institution or the private sector.

Terms of appointment

  • The post is full time and open ended.
  • The salary is negotiable and dependent on level of experience.
  • A generous holiday allowance of 31 days.
  • The successful applicant will be eligible to join the Universities’ Superannuation Scheme.

Appointment process and how to apply

Anderson Quigley is acting as an advisor to the University. An executive search process is being carried out by Anderson Quigley in addition to the public advertisements.

Applications should consist of:

  • A full curriculum vitae
  • A covering letter (maximum of 3 pages) setting out your interest in the role and details of how you match the person specification criteria.
  • Please include details of two referees in either your CV or covering letter, though please note that we will not approach your referees without your prior consent and only should you be shortlisted.
  • Please complete an Equal Opportunity Monitoring Form here.

The closing date for applications is midday, Monday 7 October 2019.

Completed applications should be uploaded at using the reference AQ605

Should you wish to discuss the role in strict confidence, please contact Ed Pritchard on +44 (0)203 457 0948.


Closing date: Noon on Monday 7th October
Longlisting: Wednesday 16th October
Preliminary Interviews with AQ: w/c 21st and 28th October
Shortlisting: Monday 4th November
Final Panel Interviews: Monday 9th December TBC