Dame Stella Rimington
Former Head of MI5 & Keynote Speaker
Dame Stella Rimington is the former Director General of the Security Service MI5.
Dame Stella is known to billions of people worldwide as the role model for the character “M” played by Dame Judi Dench in the James Bond 007 films. It is said that her personal style influenced the clothes for “M”… who knows whether that is true?
A best-selling thriller writer, she chaired the Judging Panel for the Booker Prize for Fiction in 2012. The 10th book in her Liz Carlyle thriller series, The Moscow Sleepers, was published 2018. Her next thriller, the first in a series with a new female principal character, is published in Spring 2022.
Born in 1935, Stella Rimington was educated at Nottingham High School for Girls and Edinburgh University. She gained a Postgraduate Diploma in the Study of Records and the Administration of Archives at Liverpool University, and then worked in the Worcester County Record Office and the India Office Library, London.
In 1965, she accompanied her husband on a posting to the British High Commission in New Delhi, where she worked part-time for the Security Service, which had an office there. Returning to the UK in 1969, she joined the Service full-time and worked in all the main fields of the Service’s responsibilities – counter-subversion, counter-espionage and counter-terrorism. She was the only person to become Director of all three branches.
Appointed Director General of MI5 in 1992, Stella Rimington was the first woman to take the post and the first Director General to be publicly named in the Government’s new spirit of open-ness. She retired in April 1996.
Made a Dame Commander of the Bath in the 1996 New Year Honours List, Dame Stella has Honorary Degrees from Universities including Nottingham, Warwick, Lucy Cavendish Cambridge and Exeter. Edinburgh University elected her as their “Alumna of the Year 1994”.
Formerly a Non-Executive Director of Marks & Spencer Plc, BG Group Plc, and an Associate Director of CPS, she was Chairman of the Institute of Cancer Research, Trustee of the Royal Marsden Hospital NHS Trust, and Honorary Air Commodore of 7006 (VR) Intelligence Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force and a Trustee of the RAF Museum.
A Governor of Town Close House Preparatory School in Norwich, she has two daughters and five grandchildren.
Dame Stella Rimington speaks about her life and career as Former Director General of MI5 and as an international thriller writer. Her clients include major national and international companies, business professionals, the public and private sectors, trades associations and schools.
Her straightforward approach and friendly, candid manner are combined with an informed view and intelligent judgement.
• Security & Risk
• Leadership & Change
• Current Affairs
• Women in Work
“She was fantastic, everyone loved her, and she was such a great addition to the event. Please pass on how much of a pleasure it was for us to have her attend. So interesting, such an amazing life, we enjoyed having her speak.”
— Katie, Refinitiv
"On behalf of White & Case, I would like to thank you so much for a wonderfully entertaining evening. You covered so much - not just your own fascinating career, but also 50 years of political and social history in the UK. The changing role of well-educated women in that period is something you don't appreciate until you hear someone with your perspective. I was very sad I didn't have my16-year-old daughter in the room to hear it from you first hand. There was a mix of senior lawyers and senior clients (from banks and corporates) in the room, and we have received fantastic feedback."
— Partner, White & Case LLP, London
"Dame Stella was absolutely excellent - our audience were spellbound. She was an excellent choice, and we would highly recommend her. Excellent support from DBA Speakers, going the extra mile."
— Optimum Events for iTelligence Business Solutions
"Dame Stella was superb. Excellent feedback. Delegates thought she was excellent. An absolute pleasure to have her at our event."
— PMK BNC for Microsoft