Royal Society appoints new Executive Director

09 July 2011

Dr Julie Maxton has been appointed as the new Executive Director of the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of science.  She will succeed Stephen Cox who will step down in early 2011.

The Executive Director is appointed by the Council of the Royal Society and is responsible for the general administrative business of the Society.  It is a full time post and Dr Maxton will be the first woman to hold the post in the history of the society.  Dr Maxton is currently Registrar of the University of Oxford and was previously Professor of Law, Dean of the Law Faculty and Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Auckland.

Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society said:” We are delighted that Dr Maxton will be the Royal Society's new Executive Director. She will be joining us at an exciting but also challenging time. We will have just celebrated our 350th anniversary, which has raised the profile of the Society significantly. Science's place in society has never been more important as we face challenges such as climate and environmental change, possible energy shortages, pandemics and an ageing population. Especially in these tough economic times the Royal Society must do all it can to ensure that the UK benefits from its current strengths in science, and that investment in science is channelled optimally.”

Sir Paul Nurse, who has just been confirmed as President Elect of the Royal Society said:” It is good news for the Society and the wider science community to have someone of Dr Maxton’s calibre leading the Royal Society’s staff.  She is held in high regard at the University of Oxford and I am sure Dr. Maxton will do an outstanding job for the Royal Society.”

Dr Maxton said:”It is a great honour for me to join the team at the Royal Society.  I have greatly enjoyed my time at Oxford and I am now ready for a new and different challenge.  The celebration of the Society’s 350th anniversary has been a wonderful success and the task will be to build on the momentum of that success.  I am looking forward to meeting that challenge.”

Stephen Cox, the current Executive Director, who will be stepping down after 13 years, said: “The last thirteen years have been a wonderful experience for me, culminating in the hugely successful 350th anniversary celebrations.  The Royal Society has a wonderful history but science is about moving things forward and I am leaving a Society that is in the vanguard of scientific advance.  I wish Dr Maxton every success.”