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The Royal Statistical Society appoints new Chief Executive

22 Jun 2023 9:14 AM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

The Royal Statistical Society (RSS), the leading membership body advocating for the importance of statistics and data, is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Sarah Cumbers as its new chief executive.

Taking up the role in September 2023, Sarah will lead on the RSS’s varied programme of activities, including its accreditation schemes, publications, conference and events, and policy work while enhancing its role as the membership body for all those interested in the good use of data.

Sarah is currently the evidence and insights director at Lloyd’s Register Foundation, a global charity dedicated to engineering a safer world. During her time at the organisation, Sarah led on its flagship programme, the World Risk Poll, a unique global survey on public perceptions and experience of risk and safety, as well as its What Works for safety programme.

As an advocate of evidence-based policy and practice, Sarah is also the chair of the Evidence Quarter, a community interest company that brings together evidence-minded organisations to increase collaboration and tackle joint challenges. Previously she spent much of her career at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), working across a number of roles including evaluation of medicines, management of information services, and development of guideline methodology.

The RSS was previously led by Stian Westlake, now executive chair of the Economic and Social Research Council. Sarah takes the role over from Nicola Emmerson, the Society’s director of membership and professional affairs, who has led the organisation on an interim basis since May.

Commenting on the appointment, Dr Andrew Garrett, president of the RSS, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Sarah to the RSS as our new chief executive. She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in evidence-based policymaking as well as substantial experience of leadership in non-profit organisations.

“I know Sarah will take the RSS from strength to strength in its role advocating for our members, the discipline and the importance of data and evidence for the public good.”

Dr Sarah Cumbers commented: “The potential value of statistics and data, and the dangers of misuse, have never been more evident than they are in our world today. The RSS has a crucial role to play in ensuring that statistics are well used and understood – and I am looking forward to joining the Society at such an exciting time for our members.”

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