British Museum trustees chairman George Osborne has said the next director of the institution can be chosen from “within or outside the museums sector”.
The London-based museum has had Sir Mark Jones at the helm as interim director since the departure of Hartwig Fischer, who resigned after it emerged that thousands of artefacts had been stolen or damaged.
A job advert, posted by executive recruiters Saxton Bampfylde on Wednesday, says the next director, who will earn £215,841 a year, will need to raise funds for the renovation of the museum in Bloomsbury and ensure its collection is safe and accessible.
In a message to the applicant, former chancellor Mr Osborne acknowledged the museum has had a “tough year” after the thefts.
He also said it is “at the centre of global conversations about the validity of so-called ‘universal museums”’ – pointing to the continued controversy over several items in its collection.
The Parthenon sculptures, large stone statues from Easter Island, and the Benin Bronzes are among the disputed possessions.
Mr Osborne said: “The board of trustees go into this recruitment campaign with an open mind. We are agnostic about the type of candidate we are looking for, whether that is someone from within or outside the museums sector.”
“I would encourage anyone who thinks they have the knowledge, skills, energy, and temperament to run one of the world’s greatest museums to apply.”
“Show us how you can seize the opportunities available to the museum and how you can help address the challenges it is facing.”
The job advertisement also said the museum is seeking someone who can “motivate and inspire a diverse team of curatorial and non-curatorial staff” and “establish a robust system to promote effective, efficient, and compliant decision-making within the museum”.
Previously, German art historian Mr Fischer said the museum did not respond “comprehensively” when it was warned in 2021 about the thefts.
In August 2023, the British Museum first disclosed that items, worth millions of pounds, had been found to be missing, stolen or damaged.
After taking on the role following Mr Fischer’s departure, former Victoria and Albert Museum director Sir Mark pledged to restore its reputation.
The next person to be become museum director will also need to “resource and deliver” the renovation.
The museum has already received funding of £50 million from oil giant BP to help with its plans, which has caused controversy with green campaign groups.
It is hoping to make changes to the Western Range, which currently houses collections including Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, and create a new energy centre to help “phase out” fossil fuels on the site.
The museum is also seeking a deputy director after Jonathan Williams left in the wake of an inquiry into some 1,500 missing or stolen items.
The independent review recommended the institution completes the documentation of its collection and closes any gaps in the registration of objects.
An unnamed member of staff has been sacked, the museum is taking legal action and police are investigating.
Those wanting to apply to become the next director of the British Museum have until January 26.