Baroness Manningham-Buller, who is currently a Governor of the Wellcome Trust, will succeed Sir William Castell as Chair when he retires from the role on October 1, 2015. She was appointed following an open recruitment process, and will be the first woman to chair the Wellcome Trust.
Eliza Manningham-Buller was Director-General of the UK Security Service (MI5) between 2002 and 2007, leading the service through significant change. She was made a life peer in 2008, and sits on the cross benches in the House of Lords where she is a member of the Science and Technology Committee. She is a Lady Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter and a Dame Commander of the Order of the Bath, and gave the BBC Reith Lectures in 2011.
She is Chair of the Council of Imperial College London, and a non-executive director of Ark Data Centres. She will stand down from both roles in May.
Dame Kay Davies, Deputy Chair of the Wellcome Trust, who led the recruitment process, said: "The Board of Governors is delighted that Eliza Manningham-Buller has accepted our invitation to become the next Chair of the Wellcome Trust. As the distinguished former leader of a very different organisation to the Trust, and as a current Governor who has demonstrated strong commitment to our mission over many years, Eliza is ideally placed to combine fresh perspectives with deep understanding of our purpose. We are confident we have found an outstanding successor to Bill Castell, who can build on his exceptional record with the assistance of our strong and diverse Board."
Eliza Manningham-Buller said: "The Wellcome Trust is a great philanthropic institution, which makes a profound contribution to the health of people all over the world. I am thrilled and honoured to be chosen as its Chair. It will be hard to follow the inspired leadership of Bill Castell, who has steered the Trust through a remarkable decade of achievement and growth. But I will have the help of many: an excellent Board, an outstanding Director in Jeremy Farrar, talented Trust colleagues, and the wider science and research community."
Sir William Castell, who has been Chairman of the Wellcome Trust since May 2006, said: “It has been an honour to chair the Wellcome Trust, and it will be a great pleasure to pass the reins to Eliza Manningham-Buller. As a long-standing colleague on the Board of Governors, I know her to have an exceptional understanding of management and team-building, and a passion for the full breadth of the Trust’s activities, from basic biomedical science to innovation, education and public engagement. The future of the Trust is in very capable hands.”
The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health. Its investment portfolio, valued at £18 billion at the end of September 2014, provides more than £800 million a year to support bright minds in science, the humanities and the social sciences, as well as education, public engagement and the application of research to medicine.
The Trust’s past achievements include funding work to sequence and understand the human genome, research that established front-line drugs for malaria, and Wellcome Collection, the free destination for the incurably curious that explores medicine, life and art.