Chair of Court

DBE, CBE, FRSE

Frances Cairncross

Frances Cairncross is the former Rector (ie, head) of Exeter College, Oxford University. Prior to her decade at Oxford, she was a journalist, spending 13 years on The Guardian as an economic columnist and 20 years at The Economist magazine as a senior editor.

She is the author of a number of books, including "The Death of Distance: How the Communications Revolution is Changing our Lives" and "Costing the Earth: The Challenge for Governments, the Opportunities for Business." She chairs the executive committee of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, and in 2001-07 she chaired the Economic and Social Research Council.

In June 2015 she was made a Dame of the British (DBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to education and in recognition of a very successful career as a leading British economist, journalist and academic.

Frances Cairncross went to school in Glasgow, and to university at Oxford and at Brown University in the US. She lives in London and is married to the columnist Hamish McRae.