Tuesday 28 April 2020 12:45 am

Royal Statistical Society appoints new chief executive

The Royal Statistical Society (RSS) has appointed former Nesta executive director Stian Westlake as its next chief executive, the organisation announced today.

The RSS is the UK’s membership body advocating for the importance of statistics and data. Launched in 1834, it is a professional organisation for statisticians. The economist Thomas Malthus was a founder and Florence Nightingale was a member.

Westlake was executive director of Nesta, a charity which studies the economy, health, and innovation, from 2009 to 2017.

He has also been a policy adviser to three successive ministers for universities and science and is co-author of Capitalism Without Capital, a book about intangible investment and the economy.

Westlake succeeds Hetan Shah, who steered the Society for eight years and is now chief executive at the British Academy.

Nicola Emmerson, the Society’s director of membership and professional affairs, has led the organisation on an interim basis since February, however.

Deborah Ashby, president of the RSS, said: “We are thrilled to appoint Stian as our new Chief Executive. His experience in advising government on STEM and higher education issues, along with his work at Nesta on large policy and data projects, is extremely valuable.

Westlake said: “In an increasingly complex world, the role of the RSS is more crucial than ever.” 

“By promoting evidence, data and rigour in public life, and by supporting and advocating for statisticians and the discipline of statistics, the RSS is helping to push the frontiers of knowledge and change the world for the better.