Chief Operating Officer
WFH Flexible New York City, NY Executive Office
Job Type

Department: Executive Office

Schedule: Full-time 

Reports to: Executive Director

FLSA: Exempt

The International Center of Photography (ICP) is the world’s leading institution dedicated to photography and visual culture. Through our exhibitions, education, public programs, and community outreach, we offer an open forum for dialogue about the power of the image. Since our founding in 1974, we have presented more than 700 exhibitions and offered thousands of classes, providing instruction at every level. Our new integrated center on the Lower East Side reunites our school and museum in one space to become the cultural anchor of Essex Crossing.

Position Summary:

The Chief Operating Officer (COO) will report to ICP’s Executive Director, David E. Little, and will be a central member of ICP’s leadership team. The COO will be a business partner and trusted advisor of Executive Director, responsible for leading financial and business operations, administration, and global partnerships. They will be responsible for directing the financial strategies and operations for ICP’s 12 million annual operating budget and its endowment which encompasses a school, museum and collection.  The COO will monitor the progress of ICP’s new Board-approved three-year strategic plan (FY24-FY26) and will have oversight over project management for key strategic initiatives.

The COO will manage and mentor a team of approximately 11 staff as well as consultants and will be responsible for the Departments of Finance, HR, IT, and Facilities.  Working closely with Finance and the Acting CFO, the COO will oversee ICP’s annual budgets and audit and will also consult with other departments on critical business functions that have a revenue impact, such as rights and reproductions, store and café, and traveling exhibitions.  

The COO will join four new senior staff members and a dynamic international organization that opened a new building housing its museum and school on 79 Essex Street on the Lower East Side in 2020. In order to support the initiatives, growth and ambition outlined in the strategic plan, ICP requires updated systems and processes, technology, and improved operations.  The COO will play a central role in ensuring the talent and infrastructure is in place for success of the strategic plan.

Essential Functions and Duties:

Strategy & Leadership: 

  • With the Executive Director and the Senior Leadership Team, help lead the planning and overall management of ICP, including the efficient development and implementation of its short and long-term initiatives outline in the strategic plan. 
  • Supervise Acting CFO (who manages two finance members), the Director of Facilities (who manages all maintenance, and security staff), the Director of Information Technology (open position), Counsel & Managing Director, Administration, and the Director of Human Resources (who manages two staff)
  • Track organizational performance against both the annual budget and strategic plan objectives.
  • Assess strengths and gaps in current operational structure and ensure optimal structure, staffing and skills sets through all departments and functions to support ICP and its strategic goals. 
  • Establish key performance indicators to measure performance of the organization and identify opportunities for improvement.
  • Monitor and regularly report key metrics, such as enrollment and attendance figures to staff and the Board. 
  • Identify opportunities to build ICP’s reputation, brand and program through strategic organizational collaborations and partnerships
  • Negotiate or consult on all major transactions, review all contracts, and manage all legal affairs for the museum and relationships with outside counsel; supported by the Counsel & Managing Director, Administration 
  • Foster communications across the organization and a culture of support and collaboration among all departments and functions. 
  • Create a climate of teamwork and shared accountability, setting clear, ambitious, and attainable goals and objectives. 
  • Serve as a central staff resource for organization-wide policies and procedures. 
  • Lead ICP’s AAM reaccreditation process with members of the senior team in FY24.
  • Attend all meetings of the Board of Trustees and its Executive Committee and manage the agendas, meetings, and communications for the Finance Committee, the Compensation Subcommittee, the Audit Committee, and other committees that may be formed and assigned. 
  • Maintain contacts with peers in the museum field to keep abreast of best practices and current issues and bring this information to ICP.
  • Additional responsibilities as assigned.

 Facilities and Maintenance

  • Oversee Facilities and Maintenance, ensuring building operates efficiently and safely in compliance with all relevant governmental and regulatory requirements (Fire, Ventilation, HVAC, etc.)
  • Oversee physical plant management.
  • Oversee any future major renovations and creation of new facilities including needs assessment, design development, budgeting and controls, and general project management.
  • Ensure the proper maintenance of ICP’s off-site storage at Mana and two other storage facilities; manage contracts for spaces and provide oversight for any future moves of the collection in coordination with Senior Curator and Director of Exhibitions and Collections.


  • Oversee external reporting and prepare financial reports and analysis for the Executive Director, Finance Committee, Audit Committee, and Board of Trustees; supported by the Acting CFO. 
  • Provide advice, counsel, and direction on financial priorities, addressing ICP’s complex organizational model as a museum, school, and collection.
  • Work with the Acting CFO to ensure that financial policies and practices are designed and monitored in accordance with the highest standards of non-profit management. 
  • Oversee long-term budgetary planning and cost management is in alignment with ICP’s strategic plan, especially as ICP considers international partnerships, management services agreements, mergers, acquisitions, and collaborations with external organizations. 
  • Develop tools and systems to provide critical financial and operational information to the Executive Director and make actionable recommendations on both strategy and operations. 
  • Oversee all financial planning, new business planning, budget production, and budget controls needed to realize the museum's fiscal and business goals. 
  • Ensure that the computerized financial management system, chart of accounts, and internal control systems are properly designed and maintained, and provide meaningful and timely information. Ensure that the key transaction systems (including school registration, fundraising and membership, store sales, museum admissions, and event ticketing) are efficiently and securely implemented, the department staff managing and utilizing these systems are proficient in their use, and that the data is regularly reconciled to the general ledger.
  • Oversee treasury management; monitor investment manager performance, manage investment policies and procedures, and oversee preparation of quarterly reports to the Board's Finance Committee
  • Oversee and manage ICP’s endowment and coordinate the annual draw.
  • With the Acting CFO, oversee the creation and implementation of budgets to monitor progress and present financial metrics both internally and externally, develop capital budgets for new projects and ensure that spending is focused on key strategic initiatives and is within the planned budget. 

 Human Resources 

  • Oversee human resource programs, policies, procedures, and compensation administration; supported by the Director of Human Resources.
  • Mentor and develop a team of professionals, managing work allocation, training, conflict resolution, performance evaluation, work-life balance, and the building of an effective team dynamic. 
  • Ensure ICP’s commitment with Diversity, Equity, Access and Inclusion are reflected in how we recruit, support, and retain employees in our work together as a team and organization.
  • Work with the Head of HR to develop and implement a performance evaluation program that aligns with and advances ICP’s strategic plan, and which rewards staff for meeting and surpassing goals.
  • Work with the Head of HR to establish department accountabilities including talent acquisition, staffing, employment processing, compensation, health benefits, training and development, records management, safety and health, succession planning, employee relations and retention, conflict resolution, and AA/EOE compliance. 
  • Work with Head of HR to recommend and oversee changes to personnel policies and procedures. 

Information Technology/Facilities 

  •  Assess the information technology (IT) requirements of the organization and manage the necessary procurement of specialized IT systems that meet the needs of the organization with special focus on student recruitment and enrollment.
  • Collaborate on the comprehensive planning, acquisition, and integration of administrative IT systems, including hardware, software, local and wide-area networks, telecommunications, internet accessibility, and cyber security. 
  • Negotiate and maintain lease agreements for leased properties. Negotiate the most favorable terms consistent with strategic program and administrative needs, market conditions, and available financial resources. 

Legal Affairs

  • Work with in-house and outside counsel on legal issues that may affect ICP operations.
  • Project manage any critical legal issues that come up with necessary updates and consultation with Executive Director and, when pertinent, the Board President

Board Relations

  • Establish collaborative relationships with Board leadership. 
  • Staff the relevant Board Committees (such as Finance, and Audit) and work with the committee chairs, Board President, and the Executive Director to set committee agendas and manage the work of the Committees. 
  • Present at Finance, Audit, and Investment Committee meetings and participate in Executive Meeting sessions, presenting key financial updates with clear and concise presentations.
  • Meet with key committee chairs and Board President on financial matters 
  • Prepare and present reports to the Board on operational and administrative matters. 

 Risk Management  

  • Ensure that ICP functions in a legal and ethical manner while fulfilling its mission, vision, and strategic direction. 
  • Analyze current risks and identify potential risks that may affect ICP in the future.
  • Develop/enhance protocols to reduce risk, such as cyber fraud or Malware attacks.

  External Relations  

  • Cultivate and maintain positive relationships with partners, funders, vendors, auditors, banking institutions, and government officials, among others. 
  • Participate in relevant working groups, conferences, and training opportunities to maintain visible presence and awareness of key trends and developments. 
  • Serves as an ambassador for ICP when relevant.

Preferred Qualifications:


Preferred Educational Qualifications: 

  • An undergraduate degree is required and an advanced degree in business administration, finance or accounting is desirable.

 Preferred Experience Qualifications

  • At least two years administrative experience at a comparable organization and/or supporting the most senior person within the organization. Significant not-for-profit or organizational leadership experience in strategic planning, administration, people operations, and finance operations in a complex not-for-profit organization (or relevant government or private sector experience).
  • At least ten years management experience, including at least five years of senior management experience providing broad oversight of financial and operations functions, including finance and business reporting and analysis, general administration, strategic planning, human resources, and facilities administration.
  • Experience overseeing day-to-day operations in multiple areas in a fast-paced and demanding environment.
  • Experience working with an active and engaged board of directors.
  • Experience building, maintaining, and growing international partnerships in the education and museum field.

Additional Competency Requirement (Specific Knowledge, Skills and Abilities)

  • Demonstrated interest and knowledge of photography, museums, and higher education is a plus.
  • Capacity to step in as the deputy of the Executive Director when needed.
  • Strong analytical skills and ability to gather and interpret financial data and make clear recommendations to senior leadership on actions to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Highly organized, hands-on individual with strong project management skills and a track record of establishing and implementing creative solutions to organizational challenges.
  • Systematic problem solver with excellent analytical skills
  • Change management/committed to instituting best business practices.
  • Technologically savvy; data driven.
  • Excels at strategic thinking and negotiation.
  • Effective manager, mentor, team leader and team player
  • Effectively trains and motivates staff. 
  • Excellent written and verbal skills, and report creation skills including spreadsheet, charting, and PowerPoint.
  • Demonstrated cultural awareness; ability to work effectively within multiple cultures and countries.
  • Highest commitment to professionalism, integrity, compassion, and confidentiality.

Working Conditions:

Physical Demands:

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. 

  • The employee must frequently lift and/or move up to 25 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move up to 50 pounds. 
  • While performing the duties of this Job, the employee is regularly required to sit and talk or hear.
  • The employee is occasionally required to stand; use hands to finger, handle, or feel and reach with hands and arms

Hybrid/Remote Work/Travel

  • There is flexibility with a hybrid work policy, with the expectation that the COO will exercise good judgement on when and where they and others need to be available in-person/on site. 
  • The COO must be willing and able to travel when necessary to sites, conferences, events, and locations where ICP is seeking and developing international partnerships. 
  • Ability and willingness to attend important ICP events after hours, such as exhibitions and special events.

Compensation and Benefits

  • Salary will be competitive and commensurate with experience.
  • ICP provides its staff with a generous benefits package featuring medical, dental, life insurance, short- and long-term disability, pre-tax transit and flexible spending programs, and 403(b) pension plan.

How to Apply

  • Please submit a resume and cover letter. Applications without a cover letter will not be considered 
Salary Description
$195,000 to $210,000