Mary Francis CBE

Senior Adviser, Chatham House; Non-executive Director, Barclays and Valaris plc


Mary Francis is a non-executive director of Barclays plc and a former senior independent director of Centrica plc and non-executive director of Swiss Reinsurance Company. These companies – in the energy and financial services sectors – have extensive international interests.

Mary graduated in history from Cambridge University, and for the next two years was research assistant to Professor Max Beloff, Gladstone Professor of Government and Public Administration at All Souls College, Oxford.

She then joined the British Civil Service and held senior roles in the Treasury, the British Embassy in Washington DC, 10 Downing Street and Buckingham Palace.

In 1999 she moved to the private sector to become Director General of the Association of British Insurers which she built into an influential think tank and influencing body. She left the ABI in 2005 to build a non-executive career.

Mary has previously been a non-executive director of the Bank of England, Alliance & Leicester plc and St Modwen Properties plc.

She has held a number of pro bono appointments, including as a Trustee of the Almeida Theatre, a member of the Governing Council of Newnham College Cambridge and a member of the advisory boards of the National Consumer Council and the Cambridge University Institute for Business Research.

Until recently she was chair of the judging panel for the Wincott awards for business journalism, and she currently chairs the board of governors of James Allen’s Girls' School, Dulwich.

Mary won the award for Non-executive Director of the Year in 2011.