Christ’s College elects new Master 

Head and shoulders of Simon McDonald in dark suit, white shirt and blue tie

The Fellows of Christ’s College, Cambridge, have voted to appoint Lord (Simon) McDonald of Salford as the Master-elect to succeed Professor Jane Stapleton when her tenure ends at the end of August 2022. 

Simon McDonald was born and educated in Salford, and read History at Pembroke College, Cambridge.  He joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1982 and, early in his career, served in Jeddah, Riyadh, Bonn and Washington, D.C.  He was British Ambassador to Israel (2003-06) and to Germany (2010-15).  In September 2015, Simon became Permanent Secretary at the FCO and Head of the Diplomatic Service.  He left the FCO in autumn 2020 and was then nominated for a crossbench life peerage. 

Simon is married to Olivia, and they have four adult children. 

Christ’s College advertised the role of Master earlier this year and received a very strong field of applicants.  Professor Richard Mortier, President of Christ’s College and chair of the selection process, said “We are delighted to announce Simon has accepted the role of Master-elect and we look forward to welcoming him to the College next summer to begin work with the College, to steer our community as we emerge from the COVID pandemic and look to the future.  We place a high priority on improving access and participation in our admissions and Simon’s commitment to diversity and equality speaks for itself.” 

Simon McDonald said “I am honoured and thrilled to have been elected next Master of Christ’s.  College Statutes ask Fellows to vote for the person ‘best-qualified to preside over and to promote the honour and welfare of the College'.  My main aim now is to prove myself worthy of that trust.  I look forward to returning to Cambridge next September and to getting to know everyone at Christ's: Fellows, staff, students and alumni.”