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Dame Heather Victoria Rabbatts, DBE (born 6 December 1955) is a British lawyer, businesswoman, and broadcaster, who rose to prominence as Chief Executive of the London Borough of Lambeth, the youngest council chief in the UK. Born in Jamaica, she moved to the UK at the age of three.
Early life and education
Rabbatts was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1955 and moved to England aged three. She left school with five O-levels and attended evening classes to study for A-levels. She attended the London School of Economics and became a barrister in 1981.
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From 1987 she worked in local government, becoming Deputy Chief Executive of Hammersmith and Fulham in 1989. She became Chief Executive of Merton before being appointed to the post of Chief Executive of Lambeth in 1995.
There were significant improvements in housing, education, and council tax collection. She made her name as the youngest council chief in the country. On leaving Lambeth, in March 2000, Rabbatts became Chief Executive of iMPOWER, a public sector consultancy, which she both founded and was co-chair.
Directorships and oversight
Rabbatts was a Governor of the BBC from 1999 to 2001, but resigned upon her appointment to Channel 4 where she was Managing Director of Channel 4’s education programmes and business, 4Learning. She is a Governor at the London School of Economics, an Associate of The King's Fund and on the board of directors at the British Council,
In 2010 Rabbatts became a Trustee of Malaria No More UK and later took over as the Chair of Trustees.
On 3 May 2006, Rabbatts was appointed as the new Executive Deputy Chair of Millwall F.C., and on 27 October 2006 she was appointed as Executive Chairwoman of Millwall Holdings plc, taking over from Peter de Savary.
In October 2013 she criticised the make-up of the Football Association's commission to improve the national team as being "all-white, all-male"; Rio Ferdinand was subsequently added to the commission.
In April 2014, she was a judge in the BBC Woman's Hour power list 2014.
Rabbatts was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2000 New Year Honours and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2016 New Year Honours for services to football and equality.
- Stevenson, Alexander (2013). The Public Sector: Managing The Unmanageable. ISBN 978-0-7494-6777-7.
- "Woman's Hour - The Power List 2013". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
- "Heather Rabbatts: 'Pushing back the boundaries - that's what really excites me'". The Independent. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
- Football Association names Heather Rabbatts as first female director, guardian.co.uk; retrieved 22 December 2011.
- "Fifa crisis: FA's Heather Rabbatts resigns from FIFA over 'disastrous' events". the Guardian. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
- http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/desert-island-discs/castaway/d7984e93#b012qn4z Desert Island Discs Heather Rabbatts; retrieved 29 July 2011.
- "Woman's Hour Power List 2014 – the panel". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
- The London Gazette: . 30 December 2015.
- "New Year's Honours 2016". GOV.UK. Cabinet Office. 30 December 2015. Retrieved 30 December 2015.