Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Trustees appointed

Defra has newly appointed Fay Cooke as Trustee and Sir Paul Nurse, Judith Batchelar and David Richardson have been reappointed, and Professor Christopher Gilligan has been reappointed as King’s Trustee.

Kew Gardens glass greenhouse

The appointments have been made in accordance with the Governance Code on Public Appointments published by the Cabinet Office. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. Trustees do not receive any direct remuneration for their services, although reasonable travel and subsistence expenses can be reimbursed.

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world-famous scientific organisation, known for its vast collections and scientific expertise in plant and fungal diversity, conservation, and sustainable development. Kew Gardens was made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2023 and celebrated its 260th anniversary in 2019.

The Appointments to the RBG Kew Board of Trustees

  1. Fay Cooke is the current Chief Impact and Financial Officer at Yeo Valley Production Ltd, and her three year term as a Trustee started on the 1st of March this year. Cooke leads Yeo Valley Production’s work on sustainable food and farming and is responsible for the company’s finance, people, technology, risk, governance and responsible business teams. She has a PhD in Zoology and qualified as a Chartered Accountant at Deloitte. She has a broad range of leadership experience across food, manufacturing & energy businesses, and is passionate about the environment, regenerative organic farming and holistic decision making. Cooke is also a trustee of The Woodland Trust.
  2. Sir Paul Nurse is a geneticist and cell biologist whose discoveries have helped to explain how the cell controls its cycle of growth and division. He is currently Chief Executive and Director of the Francis Crick Institute, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Board Member. He was previously President of Rockefeller University New York and was President of the Royal Society. Nurse received a knighthood in 1999, the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2001, the Legion d’Honneur from France in 2002, and the Order of the Rising Sun from Japan in 2018. In November 2022, he was appointed to the Order of Merit. Sir Paul Nurse’s term commenced on the 8th of March 2024 and he will serve a further four years.
  3. Professor Christopher Gilligan is currently a Director of Research at the University of Cambridge, where he has previously held the posts of Head of the School of Biological Sciences and Professor of Mathematical Biology. He has chaired a number of complex bodies, including the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, the Science Advisory Council for Defra and the UK Tree Health and Plant Security Taskforce. He is also a former Trustee of the Natural History Museum. Gilligan was awarded the CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2015 for services to plant health in the field of epidemiology. He continues to lead research programmes in epidemiological modelling to manage disease in staple crops and the natural environment. Gilligan’s term commenced on the 8th of March 2024 and he will serve a further four years.
  4. Judith Batchelar OBE has worked in the food and drink industry for over 35 years, starting her life in manufacturing before moving into retail at Marks and Spencer. From 2004 to 2021, she worked for Sainsbury’s as Director of Sainsbury’s Brand with responsibility for all aspects of Sainsbury’s product offer, including Corporate Responsibility and Public Affairs. She is a Non-Executive Director of the Environment Agency, Chair of the Rugby Players Association, an ambassador for the Woodland Trust and a member of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Europe Council. Batchelar was awarded an OBE in 2015 for services to Farming and the Food Industry. She is also a Commissioner on the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission. Her term as RGB, Kew Trustee commenced on 1 April and she will serve a further three years.
  5. David Richardson grew up in Northern Ireland and is currently Director of Horticulture at Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), which has a global historic estate which spans over 150 countries and is one of the world’s largest gardening organisations. He has worked predominantly within the horticultural discipline for the CWGC for over 30 years, in all its major geographies and has recently led initiatives on performance management and chemical reduction. He is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture and has served on the Institute’s Council. He is also a Liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Gardeners.

Dame Amelia Fawcett, Chair of the Board of Trustees, says: “I am delighted to welcome Fay Cooke to the Kew Board of Trustees. Fay brings a wealth of expertise and experience that will significantly enhance our already robust and dedicated Board. In addition, I am also very pleased that all four of our Trustees have been re-appointed for a second term as their contributions are vital as we advance our ambitious 10-year strategy. Our mission to end the extinction crisis and foster a world where nature is sustainably protected and managed for the benefit of humanity and our planet relies greatly on the experience, expertise and leadership of our Trustees. We remain grateful for their time and commitment”

The current RBG Kew Board of Trustees now includes: Dame Amelia Fawcett, Steve Almond, Judith Batchelar, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Professor Christopher Gilligan, Sir Paul Nurse, David Richardson, John Scanlon, Kate Priestman, Professor Ian Graham and Fay Cooke.