Jane-Frances Kelly to take over as director of David Hume Institute

 Jane-Frances Kelly
Jane-Frances Kelly

Edinburgh-based economic think-tank The David Hume Institute has appointed Jane-Frances Kelly as its next director.

She will take up the role on 1 August, working jointly with outgoing director Ray Perman until his retirement at the end of that month.

Chair of the institute’s trustees, Sir John Elvidge, said: “The Institute has flourished under Ray’s leadership, during a period when the turbulence in Scotland’s political world and in the global economic environment has led people to seek a forum for diverse points of view and a source of reliable evidence.

“I and the other trustees are very grateful for Ray’s success in building the Institute’s reputation for relevance at the heart of discussion of these major issues. His achievements form the foundation for the Institute’s ambitions to build an additional dimension to our work in the period ahead.”

Jane-Frances Kelly has recently returned home to Scotland after a career developing high-level policy in the public, private and non-profit sectors in London and Australia.

Sir John added: “The Institute is delighted to have attracted a new Director with experience of the development of public policy at the highest levels in the UK, elsewhere in Europe, Australia and the US. Her recent experience in a senior role in Australia’s renowned Grattan Institute and the fresh insights which she has developed following her return to Scotland create a powerful combination which equip her to lead the Institute into the next phase of our ambitions to be at the heart of public policy thinking in Scotland and beyond.”

After several years at the Boston Consulting Group’s London office, Jane-Frances was recruited in 2001 by the Strategy Unit of the UK Prime Minister’s Office, a role that involved providing evidence-based policy advice to Prime Minister Tony Blair and the British cabinet. In 2003, she led the team that produced the UK’s first Strategic Audit, described by The Economist as “A detailed and frank survey examining the state of the nation.”

A nine-month secondment to Australia in 2004 evolved into an eleven-year stay. During that time, she led strategic policy stocktakes for the Victorian and Queensland Governments, worked in a senior capacity at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and played a central role in organising the Australia 2020 Summit. She also worked with the Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, Cape York indigenous leader Noel Pearson and the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne, and as a senior adviser to the global public sector practice of the Boston Consulting Group.

She then helped set up the Grattan Institute, which quickly established itself as Australia’s most prominent policy think tank. From 2010 to 2015 she directed Grattan’s Cities Programme. Her work, which was extensively covered by the media, resulted in a range of legislative and other policy changes at local, state and Federal levels of government.

She holds a first class degree from Oxford University, a Masters from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

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