NICE chairman Sharmila Nebhrajani begins her new role

NICE is delighted to announce that today (26 May 2020) Sharmila Nebhrajani, OBE, has taken up her position as its new chairman following her appointment by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and an independent open recruitment process.

Sharmila has strong industry, government and charitable experience across a wide range of sectors. A biomedical scientist by background she read Physiological Sciences at the University of Oxford and began her business career as a management consultant. She was most recently chief executive of Wilton Park, a not-for-profit agency of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office which organises events on key issues including global health and international patient safety.

She has also previously held the post of chair of the Human Tissue Authority and currently holds a non-executive role at the Health Foundation.

Other past positions include director of external affairs for the Medical Research Council and chief executive of the Association of Medical Research Charities. She also spent 12 years at the BBC where, as chief operating officer of BBC Future Media and Technology, she oversaw the launch of the BBC iPlayer service.

Sharmila was made an OBE in 2014 for services to medical research.

Sharmila is NICE’s third permanent chairman, replacing Sir David Haslam who held the role from 2013 to 2019, and before him Professor Sir Mike Rawlins who was NICE’s inaugural chairman from 1999.

Latterly NICE vice-chair Professor Tim Irish has acted as interim chairman.

Professor Gillian Leng, NICE chief executive, said: “On behalf of the entire Board and staff at NICE, I am very pleased to welcome Sharmila to NICE. Her extensive experience in health and a wide range of other sectors, as well as her knowledge of NICE and the challenges it faces, will ensure that we’re in good hands as we move into the into the next exciting chapter of our development."

"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Tim Irish for his exemplary leadership during his tenure as interim chairman, and in particular for his significant role in helping NICE meet the unprecedented challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought.”

Sharmila Nebhrajani said: “I am delighted to be joining NICE at what is a critical juncture for patients, for the health and care system and indeed the country, as we collectively respond to COVID-19 and its aftermath. Often one is asked to take on a job that it is interesting; and sometimes to take on a job that is important. Becoming the chairman of NICE at this time is that rare thing - a role that is both supremely important and acutely interesting. 

“NICE has had an immensely successful past with a deserved international reputation for rigorous evidence based analysis. I am honoured to be appointed as only the third chairman since its foundation over 20 years ago, and to take on the task of working with its excellent senior management team and staff to prepare the organisation for the years ahead."

Becoming the Chairman of NICE at this time is that rare thing - a role that is both supremely important and acutely interesting.

Sharmila Nebhrajani, NICE Chairman