Hetan Shah becomes the NAO’s latest non-executive Board member, following an open recruitment process led by the NAO’s Chair, Dame Fiona Reynolds, and approval of his appointment by the Public Accounts Commission on 24 January 2024 following a public evidence session on 28 November 2023.

Hetan is currently the Chief Executive of the British Academy, the UK’s national academy for humanities and social sciences, and has previously served as Chief Executive at the Royal Statistical Society. Hetan also has extensive experience in non-executive roles and is currently Chair of the Board at Our World in Data. He is a visiting professor at the Policy Institute, Kings College London and a Fellow at Birkbeck, University of London. Hetan has extensive Board level experience including having served as Chair of the Friends Provident Foundation and Vice Chair of the Ada Lovelace Institute. 

Hetan’s appointment to the NAO Board begins with immediate effect. Non-executive appointments to the NAO Board are for an initial three-year term and are renewable, subject to re-appointment by the Public Accounts Commission, for a second and final term of up to three years. 

Hetan Shah, non-executive Board member of the NAO, said:

“I strongly believe in the important value of independent institutions that strengthen UK public policy and delivery, and can hold the Government to account. So I’m really delighted to have been appointed to the NAO Board.

“The NAO plays a key role in ensuring the UK public gets high quality, cost effective public services. Much of my professional life has been dedicated to using data, research and evidence to strengthen the public realm, and so I feel well aligned to the NAO’s priorities. I’m really pleased at the prospect of playing an integral part in the NAO’s unique role as the UK’s public spending watchdog.

“It is an exciting time to join the NAO as it develops a new strategy, and I look forward to feeding into this to consider how we can best maximise our impact at a time when there is both growing demand on public services coupled with constraints on public finances.

“I look forward to bringing my experience and individual perspective to the role, while working closely with my fellow Board colleagues, the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), and the Executive Team.”

Dame Fiona Reynolds, Chair of the NAO, said:

“I’m delighted that the Public Accounts Commission has approved the appointment of Hetan Shah as a non-executive Board member at the NAO. Hetan brings tremendous insight and experience across a wide range of policy areas, including data, statistical analysis and evaluation, along with an unwavering commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion. The appointment panel, which I chaired, was hugely impressed by Hetan’s intellectual curiosity and fresh, strategic approach to matters that are core to the NAO’s work. We look forward to welcoming him to the NAO.

“I would like to put on record our heartfelt thanks to Dame Clare Tickell for her outstanding service as a non-executive Board member over the past 6 years. Clare’s original insights, cross-sectoral experience and deep personal commitment to the NAO’s agenda have greatly enriched the Board’s discussions. In addition, she has been a brilliant Chair of the Remuneration and Nominations Committee and a highly effective Senior Independent Director.

“I’m also pleased to confirm that the Public Accounts Commission has re-appointed Gaenor Bagley and Sir Martin Donnelly as non-executive Board members for second and final three-year terms.

“I look forward to working with all our non-executive Directors, the C&AG and the Executive Team at the NAO, as we review and refresh our strategy for 2025-2030.”

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