The Old Royal Naval College employs a hundred members of staff from front of house, facilities management, communications, administration, fundraising to learning.


Matthew Mees, Interim Chief Executive and Director of Finance, IT & HR  

Matthew is a senior finance professional with over twenty years’ experience gained with a range of commercial businesses in different sectors. In his most recent role, he was Director of Finance, HR & Legal for a private-equity backed start-up business in the real estate and flexible office provider sectors, which developed, designed and operated five events and workspaces in London.

Previous to this he was Finance Director of a privately-owned, non-branded, multi-site business that owned and managed over 20 venues including heritage pubs, contemporary bars and boutique hotels around London and the South-East of England. Prior to joining this, Matthew was Finance Director for the Covent Garden property portfolio of a FTSE250 company having joined from being Interim Finance Director and Financial Controller for two central London Exhibition Centres.

Matthew has worked also as Chief Financial Officer of a private hospital in Chelsea, Group Accountant for a luxury London department store and also for a luxury goods group working both in London and New York. Matthew qualified as an accountant in 1998 and became a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants in 2003.


Will Palin - Conservation Director


Will Palin, Conservation Director

Will started his career in Journalism after graduating in English from Oxford. He went on to study History of Architecture at the Courtauld Institute. He worked as a Caseworker for the Mausolea & Monuments Trust and as Education Officer for the Georgian Group before being appointed Assistant Curator at Sir John Soane's Museum in London.

He was there responsible for exhibitions and education and curated and staged a number of high-profile events, as well as managing an effective and long-running series of courses and lectures. In parallel, Will lectured and contributed to other educational initiatives with a range of organisations such as the Royal Academy and the British Museum, as well as teaching on academic courses.

He went on to become the Secretary (Director) of SAVE Britain’s Heritage. During his time at the organisation he took forward the rescue of Castle House in Bridgwater, Somerset, as well as a major group of Regency houses in the former Naval Dockyard at Sheerness. Will also led a series of successful legal challenges to demolitions of historic buildings including a landmark judgement in the Court of Appeal which led to new controls over demolition of all buildings. He ran a series of high-profile campaigns and was also regularly involved in fundraising, putting the charity on a sound financial base before handing it on to his successor in 2012.

Since leaving SAVE Will has consolidated his reputation as a freelance writer and consultant, contributing in particular to Country Life and Building Design. He remains active on the lecture circuit and in running architectural tours and is actively engaged with the Georgian Group, the Ancient Monuments Society and other conservation organisations


Xanthe Arvanitakis, Interim Director of Marketing and Commercial Enterprises


Xanthe joined the Old Royal Naval College in January 2018 in the role of Director of Marketing and Commercial Enterprises. Xanthe’s remit involves leading the communications and commercial team to develop the strategy to grow visitors and income. Xanthe was previously Director of Commercial and Operations at the Sir John Soane’s Museum where she was responsible for the development of a sustainable commercial and operational model for the Museum, and was part of the team at Jane Wentworth Associates.


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