Press release

Julia Gillard to be the next Chair of Wellcome

Julia Gillard has been appointed as the next Chair of Wellcome, succeeding Eliza Manningham-Buller. The former Prime Minister of Australia will take up her new role in April 2021 when Baroness Manningham-Buller steps down from the Board of Governors.

Julia Gillard served as Australia’s Prime Minister from 2010 to 2013. She was central to the successful management of Australia’s economy following the global financial crisis and delivered nation-changing policies including reforming education, creating an emissions trading scheme, and improving the provision and sustainability of healthcare. In 2017, Ms Gillard was awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia.

Ms Gillard also serves as the Chair of Global Partnership for Education, a leading organisation dedicated to expanding access and quality education worldwide, and Beyond Blue, Australia’s leading mental health awareness body. 

In April 2018, she was appointed Inaugural Chair of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at Kings College, London. She is Patron of Camfed, the Campaign for Female Education. The first woman to serve as Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Prime Minister, Ms Gillard received worldwide attention for her 2012 parliamentary speech on the treatment of women in professional and public life.

Professor Sir Michael Ferguson, Deputy Chair of Wellcome’s Board of Governors, who led the recruitment process, said: "The Board of Governors is delighted that Julia Gillard has accepted our invitation to become the next Chair of Wellcome. As an inspirational and visionary leader, she will bring a unique global outlook to Wellcome. I cannot think of a better successor to Eliza Manningham-Buller, who leaves such a strong legacy."

Julia Gillard, said: "I am honoured to have been appointed as the next Chair of the Wellcome Trust. The current Chair, Baroness Manningham-Buller, continues to provide superb leadership to the Board and in April 2021, I know that I will have big shoes to fill.

"During my long-term involvement in public policy, I have seen how the creation and sharing of new ideas enables human progress. I have constantly been inspired by the quality and dedication of the research community. As the coronavirus pandemic reminds us, science matters to everyone in our interconnected world. We are all indebted to those whose expertise and hard work enables us to be safer and healthier.

"For me, it really is a dream come true to have the opportunity to chair Wellcome. I will relish supporting and speaking up for scientific research into key health challenges. I look forward to working with all those in the Wellcome family, including the Board, the staff who are led by the remarkable Jeremy Farrar, the research community and all those focused on the health of humanity."

Eliza Manningham-Buller, who has been Chair of Wellcome since October 2015 and has served on the Board of Governors since 2008, said: "It has been a privilege to chair our Board of Governors over the past five years. I’m immensely proud of everything our remarkable organisation has achieved during this time. As Wellcome continues to play a crucial role in the global response to coronavirus, we are thrilled to have attracted a leader of such international stature as Julia Gillard. I know that Julia will support Wellcome’s growing ambition to address through science the health challenges facing the world."

Ms Gillard intends to spend a substantial amount of her time in the UK to fulfil her role as Chair and is looking forward to being able to work alongside the Wellcome team. Eliza Manningham-Buller will stay on as Chair until April 2021.

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