Dame Helen Ghosh DCB has accepted the Mastership of Balliol College and will take up her post in April 2018.

Helen read Modern History at St Hugh’s College, and completed an MLitt in 6th-century Italian History at Hertford College. She joined the Civil Service in 1979, and worked in a range of Government departments over a 30-year career, including the Department of the Environment, Cabinet Office, the Department for Work and Pensions and HMRC. She had a particular interest and involvement in child poverty, housing and regeneration policies, and led several associated national and local programmes, including a formative period working with local councils and communities in East London. She spent seven years as a Permanent Secretary, first at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and then as the first female head of the Home Office. She left the Civil Service in 2012 to become Director General of the National Trust, a cause which linked her interests in history, the environment and the places where people live.

She lives in Oxford with her husband Peter, a Fellow in Modern History at St Anne’s College, and has a grown-up daughter and son. In her spare time, she loves watching ballet, visiting theatre and exhibitions, armchair gardening, a wide range of reading, and everyday family life.

The current Master, Professor Sir Drummond Bone, comments: ‘I am delighted at the election of Dame Helen Ghosh as my successor. She brings all of her wide knowledge and experience - the College will be in the hands of someone who understands its values and has the abilities, energy and standing to develop its role in the years ahead.’

Dame Helen replies: ‘I am honoured to have been chosen by the Fellows of Balliol as their new Master. The College has a remarkable tradition of outstanding scholarship, research and teaching, which I believe will be as important in helping society meet the challenges of the 21st century as it has been at any time in its 754-year history. I look forward to welcoming students from the widest possible range of backgrounds to the College and to helping create a supportive and stimulating environment in which they can fulfil their potential. I am enormously looking forward to joining the Balliol community next year.’