Dame Fiona Reynolds
Director-General, National Trust
Tuesday 23 March 2010, 18.00-20.30
Fiona has been Director-General of the National Trust for England, Wales and Northern Ireland since 2001. The Trust is one of the world’s most fascinating and effective charities, fulfilling its responsibilities to ‘look after special places for ever, for everyone’ through the ownership of 650,000 acres of land, 700+ miles of coastline, c250 great houses and their gardens and parks, tens of thousands of smaller vernacular buildings and many sites of nature conservation, archaeological and historic importance.
Fiona has led the Trust successfully through a period of significant change, including a major staff restructuring, re-alignment of regional boundaries to match others’, relocation of the Trust’s central staff to a new, ‘green’ office in Swindon, a strategic financial review, and a major overhaul of the charity’s governance, with a new structure which has been described by the Charity Commission as exemplary. Since 2007 the Trust has had an exciting new strategy focusing on engaging the Trust’s millions of supporters more deeply through conservation and the environment.
Fiona is currently co-leading a consumer mass mobilisation initiative, at the Prime Minister’s request and with support from Defra, which is delivering in 2009 a major campaign to inspire and enable consumers to grow and eat seasonal vegetables and fruit. This will be delivered through a large and open coalition of businesses and NGOs committed to engaging their supporters, customers, employees and local communities in sustainable food.
Fiona has a first class honours degree in Geography/Land Economy and an examined Masters in Land Economy from Cambridge University. Before arriving at the Trust, Fiona had a long career in the voluntary conservation movement (Council for National Parks and CPRE) and a short, somewhat counter-intuitive, spell in the Cabinet Office as Director of the Women’s Unit from 1998-2000.
Fiona is married to Bob Merrill who looks after their three daughters and much else besides. The family lives in a small village near Cirencester among chickens, ducks, cats and vegetables. Fiona loves walking, landscape history, classical music/opera and reading.
Fiona was awarded a CBE in 1998 for services to the countryside and environment, and a DBE in 2008 for services to Heritage.