National Trust promotes Hilary McGrady to director-general

The conservation charity has named Hilary McGrady as its new leader and chief, set to take up the helm in March

Helen McGrady: Photograph: National Trust
Chief operating officer Hilary McGrady to be promoted. Photograph: National Trust

The National Trust has announced its chief operating officer Hilary McGrady will be promoted to leader and chief.

The conservation charity made the announcement in December, with McGrady officially taking over on 12 March.

She has worked for the National Trust for the past 12 years, the last four of which have been in the executive team.

In her current role she has been responsible for the operation, care and management of the trust’s property portfolio in England, Wales and Northern Ireland comprising almost 250,000 hectares of countryside, 778 miles of coastline and more than 500 historic buildings.

McGrady previously worked as the trust’s regional director firstly in Northern Ireland, then Wales and finally London and the South East.

Originally trained in graphic design, McGrady’s career path started in the drinks industry in brand and marketing. In 1998 she moved to become director of a national arts charity and was subsequently seconded in 2002 to become CEO of Belfast’s bid to become European Capital of Culture. A two year return to the private sector as a cultural tourism consultant preceded her move to the National Trust.

McGrady said: “I am immensely proud to have been appointed as director-general of the National Trust. This is a charity I love because it looks after the things that matter to me personally, the outdoors, the arts, heritage, nature and beauty.”

McGrady succeeds Helen Ghosh who will leave the charity in early March to take up a new role as the master of Balliol College, University of Oxford.