Heather Rabbatts is a businesswoman whose career covers law, government, sport and media, including high profile positions at the Football Association, Millwall Football Club, the BBC and Channel 4.
Starting her career as a barrister, Heather became a government advisor and then worked in local government; first as Deputy Chief Executive of Hammersmith and Fulham before becoming CEO of the London Borough of Lambeth, then regarded as the worst job in local government. She introduced a new dynamic culture with innovations in housing, education and council tax collection and was widely credited for establishing a fundamental, and positive, change in the organisation.
Heather Rabbatts joined Channel 4 as Head of Education, commissioning programmes and projects and introducing a range of talent development initiatives. She also served as a Governor of the BBC and on the board of the Bank of England. Her work in private equity drew her to football and the restructuring of Millwall where she was Executive Chair. She saw the role in three parts: spearheading regeneration in the local area, modernising a stock market listed company and transforming a football club with a ‘challenging reputation’ inside and out.
Heather also recently completed two high profile terms of Independent Director on the board of the Football Association, as well as a board member of the Royal Opera House.
Described as one of Britain’s most influential women and famed for taking on “the worst job in local government” and now “the worst job in football”, Heather credits her robust nature to the influence of her domineering Jamaican mother, Cynthia — one of the first black fashion models in the United States.
Until 1991 she had held a variety of managerial positions at the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham before being appointed Deputy Chief Executive with responsibility for policy, personnel, communications, equality and community relations. She then moved to be the Chief Executive of the London Borough of Merton before moving to Lambeth.
Upon leaving Lambeth Council, Heather became Chief Executive of iMPOWER, a public sector consultancy providing strategic consultancy to national and local government, focused on the use of new technologies to improve citizens access to services. She subsequently became co-chair of iMPOWER and moved on to be Managing Director of Channel 4’s education programmes and business, 4Learning.
She has served on the boards of Arts Alliance, the Royal Opera House, and the Football Association, where she also headed the FA’s Inclusion Advisory Board. She has served on the board of Crossrail and in supervisory roles at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the LSE, and the British Council. She was also a non-Executive Director of the Bank of England.
Heather Rabbatts’ leadership skills have been widely recognised and reported in the UK press, and are testimony to her clear sense of vision and ability to effect real change within public and private sector organisations. Heather speaks on leading and managing change in the most demanding of environments as well as areas around attracting and retaining talent and increasing workplace diversity.
“I continue to learn from the different organisations and people I work with. Knowing that you don’t know everything is key”. Heather
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