Chair of the Board of Directors


Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society

We are seeking to appoint a new Chair of the Board of Directors. This represents a unique opportunity for an exceptional individual to guide the organisation that supports the world’s greatest platform for freedom of expression.

Closing date for applications

Who we are

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society is the charity that
was established by artists to act as the custodian of the
The Fringe Society exists to:
• Support, advise and encourage everyone who
wants to participate in the Fringe.
• Provide information and assistance to audiences.
• Celebrate the Fringe and what it stands for all
over the world.
The Fringe Society believes that everyone, irrespective
of their background and circumstances, should have
the opportunity to experience and express themselves
through creativity. Fundamental to our work is maintaining
and upholding the Fringe’s original ethos of inclusion,
along with ensuring that the festival continues to make
a significant contribution to the cultural, social and
economic wellbeing of Edinburgh and Scotland.

The Fringe Society is committed to ensuring the Fringe is open, accessible, diverse, equitable, inclusive and affordable for everyone. We are encouraging people from all backgrounds to apply as we really want the Fringe Society – and the wider Fringe – to reflect these values. Basis of appointment The Chair of the Board is appointed by the board of directors, on the recommendation of the appointments committee. Appointment will be made at the Fringe Society’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in August 2020, for an initial period of four years. The current Chair is Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, who has chaired the organisation since 2012. 

The Role

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society is a registered charity and is governed by its constitution and the board of directors. All potential directors should read the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) guidance on being a trustee – this sets out the legal duties of a charity director in Scotland. The guidance from OSCR provides clear and detailed insight into the liabilities, responsibilities and best practice for all charity directors.

Roles and Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of all Fringe Society directors to:

• Ensure the mission statement of the Fringe Society is upheld.

• Establish the strategic vision of the Fringe Society.

• Set the medium and long-term strategy and structure of the Fringe Society.

• Appoint the Chief Executive of the Fringe Society.

• Effectively delegate operation of the Fringe Society to the executive.

• Exercise financial accountability to stakeholders and constituents.

• Exercise accountability for the actions of the Fringe Society to the public.

• Uphold the core values of the Fringe Society and reflect the Fringe in a positive way.

• Advocate for the Fringe Society and the Fringe in an impartial manner on a local, national and international platform. 

Becoming a director of the Fringe Society

The code of conduct for directors of the Fringe Society outlines what is expected of them in terms of managing conflicts of interest, putting the charity and its purpose first, duty of care to staff, and legal and fiduciary duties. The board of directors meet five times a year in Edinburgh. They also host a public AGM in August each year. There are a number of subcommittees of the board who each meet up to four times per year. 

Each meeting lasts approximately two to three hours. Standing items at each meeting include papers from up to five committees, a report from the Chief Executive and the latest management accounts. These papers are distributed in advance and may take considerable time to read and reflect upon in advance of the meeting; for example, the three papers that make up the audited accounts are over 100 pages in total. 

Chair of the Board of Directors

The role of Chair is detailed below; it is not a duty to be undertaken lightly. This position is not remunerated, although expenses are covered. One of the core commitments laid out in the Fringe Blueprint is the desire to find a new home for the Fringe Society: it is anticipated that the Chair will play a significant role in the fundraising and development of this project.

The Chair will:

• Ensure the Fringe Society has in place a strategic vision to enable it to maintain the Edinburgh Festival Fringe’s preeminent position in the world.

• Lead the board of directors through effective decision making, through consensus building and consulting expert guidance.

• Promote an open and useful dialogue within board meetings to support the achievement of the Fringe Society’s aims and strategic objectives.

• Work closely with the Chief Executive to promote the effective and efficient use of Fringe Society staff and resources.

• Ensure that the organisation complies with its governing document, charity law, company law and any other relevant legislation or regulations.

• Promote the Edinburgh Festival Fringe as a whole and represent the Fringe Society in a range of environments.

• Ensure the financial stability of the organisation.

• Support and challenge the executive team, ensuring that the roles of the board and the executive are clearly understood by all.

• Lead the appointment of the Chief Executive and monitor their performance.

• Ensure the board has the necessary skills and competencies to service the organisation, through skills audit and the appointed director process.

• Chair the appointment and remuneration committees and trading company board. 

Person specification

• Experience of a complex organisation of scale, probably in the role of chair or director, and with acknowledged success in a leadership role.

• Ability to influence and engage stakeholders and partners across a range of sectors.

• Ability and willingness to represent and be an ambassador for the Fringe and its open access ethos.

• Sound financial literacy, including commercial income generation and fundraising / donor landscapes.

• Excellent communication, relationship and networking skills.

• Good, independent judgement.

• A knowledge of, and passion for, the breadth and range of performance showcased at the Fringe. 

Process for appointment

An open and public recruitment campaign will be undertaken to ensure the Fringe Society reaches the widest range of potential candidates. This will also be circulated through board and stakeholder networks. Informal conversations with the Chief Executive and / or outgoing Chair will be available for interested candidates, as well as an opportunity to meet the board and executive team at the review of the year reception, on the evening of 27 February 2020. Applicants should submit a CV and a two-page covering letter to [email protected], outlining their interest in the role and the suitability of their experience. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to an interview to discuss their application in May 2020. The committee will recommend its preferred candidate to the board in May 2020 and a formal appointment will take place at the meeting of the board prior to the 2020 AGM. 


• 27 February – review of the year 2019 reception.

• 01 May – application process closes.

• Week commencing 04 May – shortlisting and communication to candidates.

• Week commencing 11 May – interviews.

• 21 May – Fringe Society board meeting – recommendation from appointments committee.

• June to August – proposed new Chair observes board meetings and meets with board members, executive and outgoing Chair.

• August – new Chair formally appointed at board meeting followed by announcement at AGM to members and press. 


Please email [email protected] or call +44 (0)131 226 0026 with any queries regarding the role or appointment process. 

Closing date for applications

Our commitment to diversity & inclusion

Trustees Unlimited believes that diverse boards strengthen society. We will strive to remove the barriers that prevent people from applying to become trustees and help our clients to recruit and support people with a wide range of skills and lived experience.

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