About: Dame Stella Rimington
Dame Stella Rimington DCB is the former Director General of the Security Service (MI5). She has published several acclaimed novels and a best-selling autobiography, “Open Secret” (Arrow, 2002).
She joined the Security Service in 1969 as a full time employee. An expert on managing risk, she worked in counter subversion, counter espionage and counter terrorism, becoming successively director of all three branches.
Dame Stella Rimington was appointed Director General of MI5 in 1992, the first woman to hold the post and the first Director General to be publicly named. During her time as Director General she pursued a policy of greater openness for MI5, giving the 1994 Dimbleby Lecture on BBC TV and several other public lectures, and publishing a booklet about the Service.
Retiring from MI5 in April 1996, Dame Stella Rimington went on to write novels that blended issues of terrorism, risk, class and gender. “At Risk” (Arrow, 2004) mixes East End gangsters, hierarchy and the role of women in government organisations; “Secret Asset” (Arrow, 2006) plots the task of an MI5 intelligence officer in the search for a terrorist bent on bringing down the British establishment.
Her most recent novels are “Rip Tide” (2012) and “The Geneva Trap” (2013). “Close Call” (the 8th novel about her principal character, Liz Carlyle) will be published in July this year.
Dame Stella is currently an Associate Director of CPS, where she does executive coaching and mentoring. In 2011, she served as Chair of the judging panel for the Booker Prize for Fiction.
During her career at MI5, from 1969-1996, Rimington worked in all the main fields of the Service’s responsibilities – counter-subversion, counter-espionage and counter-terrorism – and became Director of all three Branches. She led the Service’s counter-espionage work in the closing days of the Cold War when the intelligence services of the Soviet Union and her Warsaw pact allies were engaged in a strong assault on Britain’s secrets.
As the Cold War drew to a close, Dame Stella Rimington led a delegation from the Service to establish contact with the former KGB. She was in charge of the Service’s work against international and Irish terrorism at the time of the Lockerbie airline disaster and when the Provisional IRA was actively targeting British military personnel on the continent of Europe.
Former Director General of MI5, Non-Executive Director for Marks & Spencer
First female Director General of MI5
First woman promoted to the rank of Director of a Service
Appointed Dame Commander in 1996
Awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Social Science from Nottingham Trent University
Chair of Judges for the Man Booker Prize 2011