Julia Chain has been appointed as the new chair of the UK's fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).
She will take over from Sally Cheshire CBE, who has held the position since 2014 and who will step down later this month.
'I am delighted to be joining the HFEA at such an exciting time in its 30-year history,' said Chain. 'I am greatly looking forward to leading the organisation, building on Sally's legacy and continuing to put the needs of patients and the wider public at the heart of everything we do whilst ensuring the UK remains a great place to offer assisted reproduction services and undertake research involving human embryos.'
Chain is a lawyer by background, and was the first female managing partner at a top 100 law firm in the UK. In her legal career, she was a managing partner at Garretts, managing director at Huron Legal and general counsel and chair of the risk committee at T Mobile.
She subsequently began acting as a consultant, advising legal departments, and her most recent position was as managing director and executive vice president of Advanced Discovery, a firm that offers risk management and legal consulting services. She also has experience within public bodies, having been deputy chair of the Commission for Racial Equality from 2003-2007.
In addition, Chain has held voluntary positions within the charity sector, notably as deputy chair of Norwood (a Jewish charity supporting people with learning disabilities and autism) and as chair of the board of trustees at Sadeh (a farm and environmental community centre).
'Julia's background and skills will provide a unique insight and contribution to our regulatory role,' said Peter Thompson, the HFEA's chief executive. 'Fertility services in the UK are developing rapidly, and Julia's experience as a senior executive and as a non-executive board member, in both the public and private sectors, will be invaluable as we go forward.'