skip to content

For staff


Heather Hancock LVO DL will be the 45th Master of St John's College, Cambridge, and the first woman to hold the role.

She currently chairs the Food Standards Agency, a non-ministerial Government department that regulates the food and feed industry. Prior to this, Heather spent 11 years at Deloitte where she was a Managing Partner for the UK and Swiss firms, and led the firm’s global services to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Heather, who studied Land Economy at St John's, said: “I am deeply honoured to have been elected as the next Master of St John’s College. I arrived at St John’s as an undergraduate from a northern comprehensive, the first in my family to go to university, and the first pupil from my school in Colne to reach Oxbridge. I know from personal experience the life-changing impact that St John's can deliver. I’m looking forward to sustaining the College’s global renown for scholarship and excellence, and to championing its pioneering work on access – such as the St John’s Studentships offered to students from lower- and middle-income households.”

Heather began her professional career as a land agent before joining the Government Economic Service. She had a range of posts in Whitehall, including serving as Private Secretary to three Home Secretaries. She was also Chief Executive of The Millennium Commission, and Chief Executive of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority. At Deloitte, Heather was a Partner in the strategy consulting business and was part of the firm’s global leadership team. She had executive oversight of innovation, talent, brand and communications.

Heather will take up the role on 1 October 2020, succeeding Professor Sir Christopher Dobson, who was due to retire from the role at the end of the 2019-20 academic year. Sir Christopher died in September 2019 after 12 years as Master.

Read more on the College's website >


12 December 2019