Heaton was knighted in 2019 in recognition of his public service Louis Ashworth/VARSITY

Robinson College has announced the appointment of a new Warden. Sir Richard Heaton will begin the role in the new academic year, taking over from Professor David Yates, who has been in the role for 20 years.

As college Warden, he will be responsible for defining Robinson’s “agenda” over the coming years.

Upon his election, Heaton commented: “I am delighted and humbled to have been elected as [Robinson’s] next and third Warden.”

He added: “Building on [Robinson’s] proud and relatively short history, it is also clear that Robinson has a limitless future as a modern, academically excellent, inclusive and happy college in the Cambridge tradition.”

Heaton has had a distinguished career in the civil service, having served in a number of legal and non-legal roles. His career has had a particular focus on justice, the constitution and human rights.

Heaton was Permanent Secretary at the Cabinet Office and First Parliamentary Counsel (2012-2015), andPermanent Secretary at the Ministry of Justice and Clerk of the Crown in Chancery (2015-2020).


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He was also the Civil Service Race Champion for six years (2014-2020), helping to improve access for under-represented groups. In addition, he is involved in charity work and is currently a trustee at Koestler Arts, which encourages prisoners to participate in the arts.

In 2019, Heaton was knighted in recognition of his public service. He is also a Bencher of the Inner Temple.

Professor David Yates, the incumbent Warden said: “It has been a great honour, and an enormous pleasure, to lead Robinson for the past 20 years and I am delighted to congratulate Richard on his election as Warden.”

Professor Melinda Duer, Deputy Warden of Robinson College, stated that Heaton is “exactly what [the College] need” to help widen participation and “make Robinson the gold standard for diversity, inclusion and sustainability.”