The National Trust has announced Dame Helen Ghosh DCB will be the next director-general of the charity.
Helen joins the Trust from her current role as permanent secretary to the Home Office. Previously, Helen held a variety of civil service roles including as permanent secretary to Defra between 2005 and 2010.
Dame Helen Ghosh joined the civil service from Oxford University, where she read Modern History. She has worked in a number of government departments, starting off in the Department of the Environment, and returning to environmental issues when she became Permanent Secretary at Defra in 2005. In between, she followed her interest in providing public services to local people with jobs in the Department for Work and Pensions, HM Revenue and Customs and the Government Office for London, and has also worked at the centre of government, with two spells in the Cabinet Office. Helen is a long-term member of the Trust and of her local Wildlife Trust in Oxfordshire.
She will take over from Fiona Reynolds who has been at the helm for nearly 12 years. During that time, Fiona has grown the charity’s membership to four million and built a volunteer base of more than 67,000 people.
Helen said: “I have been an admirer of the Trust and its work all my life, and I am thrilled that I have been given the chance to be part of its future. I am delighted to be able to build on Fiona Reynolds’ great work in setting the Trust’s direction for the 21st century.”
Simon Jenkins, chairman of the National Trust, said: “The Board of Trustees is delighted that Helen will be the Trust’s next director-general. The Trustees’ strategy is to widen the Trust’s appeal and grow its membership. Helen is a distinguished and energetic public servant. We are convinced she is ideal to lead the organisation through what is proving a challenging time. We all look forward to working with her.”
Fiona Reynolds, who moves on to become Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 2013, said: “I am delighted by Helen’s appointment. The National Trust is a fantastic organisation to work for and I wish her, and the Trust, all the very best for the future.”
The National Trust was founded in 1895 to protect threatened coastline, countryside and buildings for the benefit and enjoyment of everyone.
Today the Trust employs more than 5,500 people and cares for special places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, including 250,000 hectares of countryside, 710 miles of coastline and 300 historic houses and gardens.