St Anne’s College appoints Helen King as new Principal

St Anne’s College has elected Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Helen King as its new Principal. She becomes the first police officer to be elected head of an Oxbridge college.

The appointment comes after Tim Gardam, former director of programmes at Channel 4, stepped down last Trinity after 12 years at the college.

Acting Principal Robert Chard said he “would like to stress how delighted we are at the outcome of this election. St Anne’s selects Principals for their values and personal qualities, and Helen King combines genuine human warmth with impressive competence and a commitment to inclusiveness, diversity and opportunity.”

In a statement, Ms King said: “I feel immensely honoured and a little overwhelmed to have been selected by the Governing Body of St Anne’s College to be their Principal and to be the first police officer ever appointed to head an Oxbridge college.

She continued, “St Anne’s is rightly proud of its history of having been established by a remarkable group of determined people in order to enable women of any financial background, with talent, appetite and determination, to gain a university education at Oxford.”

The election formally confirming the appointment took place on Tuesday. It is understood she was an extremely popular candidate amongst the selection committee.

“I am absolutely delighted that Helen King has been elected the next Principal of St Anne’s,” said Tim Gardam. “As an alumna of the College, she epitomises all that is best about its tradition of public service. No one could better inspire the students and be truer to St Anne’s reputation for openness, opportunity and commitment to students as individuals.”

Ms King studied PPE at St Anne’s between 1983-86. After graduating she immediately entered the police service, joining the Cheshire Constabulary on the Graduate Entry scheme.

In 2009, she was appointed head of the Merseyside Force’s Operations portfolio, and in 2011 she was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in the New Year’s Honours List.

Since 2014, she has worked for the Metropolitan Police both as Assistant Commissioner for Territorial Policing and Assistant Commissioner for Professionalism.

Commenting on the appointment, St Anne’s JCR President, Pranay Shah, said: “Having interviewed the shortlisted candidates, I am truly glad Helen King is the new Principal of St Anne’s. Having attended, and stayed in touch with, the college she understands its ethos and principles, and it shows in her down-to-earth and genuine character.”

Joy Dempsey, a third-year St Anne’s student said, “I think it’s absolutely wonderful that St Anne’s is welcoming a principal with a policing background. Having achieved so much success in a field demanding focus, resilience and sensitivity, I have no doubt Helen will be an outstanding leader for the college.”

Helen King will begin at the college in April 2017.