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Birkbeck alumnus appointed Chief Executive of The British Academy

Hetan Shah, Birkbeck alumnus, becomes the tenth person to hold the position in the Academy’s 117-year history.

Birkbeck alumnus, Hetan Shah

Birkbeck alumnus Hetan Shah has been appointed Chief Executive of The British Academy, leading the development of its programmes for academics, policy-makers and the public. Hetan graduated from Birkbeck in 2002 with a Masters in Contemporary History and Politics and in 2003 obtained a Postgraduate Certificate in Economics with Mathematical Economics from Birkbeck.

Hetan decided to come to the Birkbeck after finding himself “bored” working in a law firm. Upon graduating, Hetan changed his career path and worked in think tanks for several years, helping to bridge academic research and policy. Hetan’s previous role was Executive Director of the Royal Statistical Society, where he led the transformation of the organisation’s reputation and profile.

Hetan has great ambitions for his new role:

“The British Academy is an extraordinary organisation. It is a fellowship of some of the brightest minds, it provides funding for humanities and social science research, and it also convenes thinking on topical issues. My aim is to build on the great work The British Academy already does, and to help bring the voices of the humanities and social science communities into the big issues of the day.”

Looking back on the role Birkbeck played in his success, Hetan added:

“I look back at my three years at Birkbeck with fondness. It was very stimulating to continue with some formal study after I’d begun my working life. Studying in the evening quite simply meant that I could work and earn a living during the day.  I’d recommend it to anyone!”

Nic Katona, Director of Development and Alumni, commented:

“We are delighted to hear about Hetan’s appointment as Chief Executive of the British Academy. Hetan’s story is one of many great examples of the success of our alumni and the important role Birkbeck played in their lives.  We are proud of the impact he is having in shaping society and we wish him continued success in his new role”.

Read more about Hetan’s Birkbeck story and insights on our alumni blog.

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