Dame Helen Ghosh is resigning after a 33-year civil service career
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Profile: Dame Helen Ghosh

Dame Helen Ghosh, the most senior official at the Home Office, is resigning after a 33 year civil service career to take up the role of director general of The National Trust.

Having worked in Government since 1979 for both Conservative and Labour Ministers, her tenure included controversy at Defra over the Rural Payments Agency and more recently at the Home Office with concerns over the Border Agency.

Dame Helen is one of a number of permanent secretaries who have left the civil service this year. She said she was "torn about leaving" but the chance to work for The National Trust was "a rare opportunity".

Chris Bowlby assesses her career and the qualities that propelled her to the senior ranks in Whitehall and asks what they tell us about the approach she is likely to bring to her new role.

This edition of Profile was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Saturday, 18 August 2012. Listen again via the Radio 4 website or download the podcast.

  • 20 Aug 2012
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