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Thursday, 24 September 2020


Professor Sir Robert Burgess to step down as NatCen’s Chair of Trustees

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The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) has announced that Professor Sir Robert Burgess will step down next year as Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Sir Robert joined NatCen as Chair in February 2012 and will step down in February 2021, after fulfilling the full nine-year tenure recommended for charity Trustees. The process of appointing a new Chair will begin this summer, guided by NatCen’s Board of Trustees.

Sir Robert will depart NatCen following a highly successful tenure as the charity’s Chair. A sociologist by training, he went on to become Vice-Chancellor at the University of Leicester, a post he held for fifteen years until his retirement in 2014. He was knighted in 2010 for services to higher education locally and nationally.

Under Sir Robert’s stewardship, NatCen navigated through some significant challenges posed by difficult economic circumstances in the aftermath of the financial crisis. In more recent years, the organisation has flourished, increasing its impact on policy – for example, through its mental health surveys and British Social Attitudes survey – enhancing its reputation for methodological innovation, and seeing growing revenues.

Following its fiftieth anniversary last year, a significant landmark under Sir Robert’s tenure, the charity now looks to the future with renewed confidence and an impetus to be at the heart of the debate on all matters affecting our society, including the social consequences of the current Covid-19 pandemic.

The Board of Trustees, leadership team and staff at NatCen all join in thanking Sir Robert for his stewardship as Chair and service to NatCen, wishing him the very best for the future.

James Thickett, Deputy to the Chair and Trustee at NatCen, said: “It has been a great pleasure to work with Bob over the past few years as he has steered NatCen through challenging times, not least the recent Covid-19 pandemic. It is a huge tribute to him that the organisation remains in such a strong financial position and is now poised to be even more important and influential in meeting future challenges ahead.”

Guy Goodwin, Chief Executive at NatCen, said: “It has been a privilege and pleasure to work with and learn from Sir Bob since I joined NatCen in 2016. We have held a shared vision and purpose for the organisation which has underpinned NatCen’s recent successes. Sir Bob brings leadership and a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw upon – he will be much missed.”

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