Former Southampton Deputy VC Appointed As UK’s Official Statistician


The former Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton has been appointed as the new head of the Office for National Statistics (ONS). 

Sir Ian Diamond, who has also worked as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen and Visiting Fellow at Nuffield College Oxford, was knighted in the Queen’s 2013 New Years Honours for his services to social science and higher education, and will take over from John Pullinger as the UK’s national statistician in the Autumn.

The ONS prides itself on being the ‘UK’s largest independent producer of official statistics‘, and measures figures such as the employment rate and national GDP as part of its large-scale research. The ONS, which is the UK’s official Statistics Authority, also observes social changes such as drug usage and family types.

Dean of Social Sciences at the University of Southampton, Jane Falkingham, said of the appointment, ‘Sir Ian’s appointment is fantastic news. Whilst at Southampton, he was instrumental in establishing both the Department of Social Statistics & Demography and our close partnership with ONS, which continues to this day. Ian is passionate about statistics and providing robust evidence to inform policy and practice that makes a difference for society, and I can think of no one better for the job‘.

John Pullinger, who has also worked for the Central Statistical Office (CSO), served at the head of the ONS from July 2014 until his retirement in June 2019. His deputy, Jonathan Athow, then took the role on an interim basis after an initial recruitment process failed to find a replacement for Pullinger in the £160,000 per annum position.

Hetan Shah, who works as Executive Director of the Royal Statistical Society, commented, ‘[a]longside being a top-class statistician, [Sir Ian] is a visionary about the potential for data‘.


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