Eliza Manningham-Buller is confirmed as a president of Chatham House replacing Paddy Ashdown who steps down after 10 years.

The appointment of Baroness Manningham-Buller as a president of Chatham House was confirmed at the institute’s annual general meeting on Tuesday 21 July. Baroness Manningham-Buller joins Sir John Major and Baroness Scotland of Asthal as a co-president and succeeds Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon who has stepped down from the role after two terms.

Eliza Manningham-Buller was director-general of the UK Security Service (MI5) between 2002 and 2007 and became an independent life peer in 2008. She served as Chairman of Imperial College London from 2011 to 2015. She brings to Chatham House an extensive knowledge of and experience in international security as well as a deep interest in medical research and global health, having served as a member of the Board of Governors of the Wellcome Trust since 2008. In October 2015, Baroness Mannigham-Buller will become Chairman of the Trust’s Board of Governors.

Paddy Ashdown steps down after serving as a president for 10 years alongside Sir John Major, Patricia Scotland and their predecessors Lord Hurd of Westwell and Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, respectively. Over that period, the institute benefitted enormously from his extensive experience in international politics and conflict resolution, including as High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina from 2002 to 2006.

Dr Robin Niblett, director of Chatham House, said:

'I am delighted to welcome Elizabeth Manningham-Buller as a president of Chatham House. Throughout her career, she has brought deep knowledge, careful analysis and sound judgement to bear upon some of the most difficult dimensions of public policy. The institute will benefit greatly from these qualities as it draws on her engagement with Chatham House over the coming years.

I would like to pay tribute to Paddy Ashdown for his long-standing support of Chatham House. His contributions to our substantive debates, both internally and externally, have been invaluable on numerous occasions, and we look forward to his continued involvement with the institute as a member of our Panel of Senior Advisers.'

Baroness Manningham-Buller said:

“I am delighted to be elected as a Chatham House president at this important time in the institute’s history, as it grapples with a complex and inter-connected agenda of policy challenges. I look forward to working with John Major and Patricia Scotland in supporting Chatham House and its valuable and necessary work.

Editor's notes: 

A president’s term at Chatham House is for five years, renewable once. There are no governance responsibilities, which reside solely with the institute’s Council.

Chatham House’s three presidents underpin the institute’s independent, non-partisan voice on international affairs. The presidents confirm, through their experiences at the highest levels of government and diplomacy, the connection between Chatham House and policy-makers.