Dame Fiona Reynolds to chair the Governing Council at the Royal Agricultural University

Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE, former Director-General of the National Trust and, most recently, Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, has been appointed as the Chair of the Governing Council of the Royal Agricultural University (RAU).

Fiona, whose family home is close to the RAU’s Cirencester campus, has served as Vice-Chair of the RAU’s Governing Council since March 2021 and this month (January 2022) she takes over from the previous Chair Professor Jonathan Kydd whose term as a Governor has concluded after eight years.

She said: “I’m both delighted and honoured to be taking this role. The RAU has a long and honourable history of innovation and leadership in rural land management and we pledge to continue that tradition. 

“As the countryside faces the biggest upheaval in 70 years, exacerbated by the climate and nature crises, the RAU can offer sustainable solutions through its teaching and research, providing fresh perspectives for the land, agri-food, and rural enterprise sectors.

“As the smallest university in the UK, we are proud of our specialist role and the opportunities that provides to offer an outstanding student experience, high employability for our graduates, and the chance to work creatively with partners at local, national, and international levels.”

RAU Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter McCaffery said: "We are delighted that Dame Fiona Reynolds is our new Chair of Governing Council. She is an outstanding leader in the voluntary sector as her transformation of the National Trust demonstrates. 

“Fiona's life-long commitment and passion in defence of beauty - to preserve and enhance our landscape, nature, and cultural heritage in harmony with the complex demands we make of our land and natural and built resources - is central to our mission and vision here at the RAU.

“As a local resident, Fiona has an acute understanding of the RAU's role in the local and regional community while, as a national campaigner, she also has an extensive network with key stakeholders. 

“This is a significant moment for the RAU and we are fortunate to have a Chair who embodies all these qualities as we navigate our way forward."