President and vice presidents

Our President represents the best of our Society and the discipline of statistics and as chair of our Council, has a decisive influence on our policy and activities.

We now select our Presidents based on their acknowledged statistical achievements and contribution to the progress of the discipline. Past Presidents have included former Prime Minister, Harold Wilson and social reformer Sir William Beveridge, as well as experts from the field such as William Guy, a 19th century luminary. Go to our Past Presidents page to find out more.

Dr Andrew GarrettCurrent President - Dr Andrew Garrett
Andy is executive vice president of scientific operations at the clinical research organisation ICON plc, where he is responsible for the strategic direction and operational delivery of a range of clinical trial services. Having worked extensively in the area of rare diseases, he has held various biostatistics managerial positions in the pharmaceutical industry, including vice president of biostatistics, medical writing and regulatory affairs at Quintiles (now IQVIA).

A member of the UK Statistics Authority’s Research Accreditation Panel, Andy was also commissioned by the National Statistician in 2016 to undertake an independent review of ONS methodology.

Having been an RSS member for over thirty years, he has held several roles with the Society. He was elected to RSS Council in 2003 and served on Executive Committee from 2004-10, becoming a vice president for professional affairs in 2008. In 2013 he chaired the long-term strategy group that led to the RSS tag line Data, Evidence, Decisions and initiatives such as Statisticians for Society. More recently, Andy formed the Data Science Section and was the chair of the group for its first two years.

Vice presidents

Professor Rachel Hilliam, VP for Professional Affairs
Rachel Hilliam is a professor of statistics at the Open University, where she has held various leadership roles. As director of teaching for mathematics and statistics, she introduced a new degree in Data Science which had over 400 students across the UK in its first year in 2019. She is an expert in teaching statistics at higher education level to adult students who do not necessarily have standard university entrance qualifications. In addition to university academic roles, she has worked as the medical statistician for Derby Hospitals NHS Trust. 

At the RSS she chairs the Professional Affairs Committee and is a member of the Special Interest Group in Teaching Statistics. She is also an RSS university accreditation assessor. 

Professor Christl Donnelly, VP for External Affairs
Christl Donnelly CBE FMedSci FRS is professor of statistical epidemiology at Imperial College. Her research brings together and develops statistical and biomathematical methods to analyse epidemiological patterns of infectious diseases. She also has interests in ecology, conservation and animal welfare.

Christl was elected a fellow of the Royal Society (2016) and the Academy of Medical Sciences (2015) and is an Honorary Fellow of the ZSL Institute of Zoology. She was a member of RSS Council (2001-05) and again since 2018. In 2016-17 she was the RSS William Guy lecturer and last year chaired the RSS Florence Nightingale 2020 planning group. Christl is currently a member of the RSS Covid-19 Task Force.

Professor Jonathan Forster, VP for Academic Affairs
Jon is professor and head of the Department of Statistics at the University of Warwick. He has held academic appointments at Loughborough and Carnegie Mellon Universities and the University of Southampton, where he was head of the School of Mathematical Sciences. He has published widely on statistical methodology and applications in various fields; he is co-author of Kendall's Advanced Theory of Statistics (Vol 2b: Bayesian Inference) and was awarded the 1999 RSS Guy Medal in Bronze. In 2019 he was a member of the advisory group for the Pearce review of the Teaching Excellence Framework.

At the RSS he has served on the Research Section committee, Council, chaired the editorial board of Significance magazine and has been associate editor for Series B and Series C RSS journals.

Dr Sophie Carr, VP for Education and Statistical Literacy
Sophie trained as an aeronautical engineer and whilst working on flight trials became interested in the concept of information overload. She completed a part time PhD in Bayesian Belief Networks whilst working and in 2009, redundancy provided a unique opportunity for her to set up her own company, Bays Consulting, which specialises in data science and statistical analysis. A crucial part of her work is explaining the results of the analysis to increase people’s ability to understand, articulate and engage with the values and statistics that impact key business projects, initiatives and insights.

In 2020, Sophie was elected to the RSS Council where she sits on the Audit and Risk committee and the Official Statistics Section committee. Sophie is also a member of the Society’s Data Science Task Force and is a founding committee member of the newly formed Statistical Engineering special interest group. Also enjoying applied mathematics, Sophie also serves on the Council of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications whom she represents on the Alliance for Data Science Professionals.

Outside of work, Sophie currently holds the title of the World’s Most Interesting Mathematician and takes part in STEM outreach through activities such as writing and delivering Royal Institution Masterclasses on a range of statistics topics to help enthuse and engage the next generation in developing a love of data and statistics.