Royal honour for high flier Catherine

Former Burnley woman Catherine Quinn has been appointed as the Duchess of Cambridge's new private secretary.
Former Burnley woman Catherine Quinn has been appointed as the Duchess of Cambridge's new private secretary.

The Duchess of Cambridge’s new private secretary is former Burnley woman Catherine Quinn.

Currently the head of Oxford University’s business school, Catherine will take up her new role, which involves running the duchess’s official programme and co-ordinating her charitable interests, at Kensington Palace in October.

The Duchess of Cambridge has appointed former Burnley woman Catherine Quinn as her new private secretary.

The Duchess of Cambridge has appointed former Burnley woman Catherine Quinn as her new private secretary.

A former pupil of Burnley Girls' High School, Catherine gained her MBA from the Saïd Business School in 2006 and returned seven years later as chief operating officer and associate dean of administration and operations.

Her stated aim was to transform “a rather unwieldy, old-school” organisation into something more modern.

Catherine also directed the university’s institution-wide Research Services and co-founded Oxford University Consulting.

She is also a graduate of the school’s Women Transforming Leadership course, and has said: “I can vouch for the fact that when women come together, they can create incredibly powerful networks and start conversations that lead to positive change.”

Catherine joined Oxford from The Middle Temple where her role as chief executive and director of commercial and not-for-profit activities, including the running of a heritage estate with local authority status in central London and a professional membership and training institution for barristers.

Prior to this, Catherine led the grant-giving operations of the Wellcome Trust, a global charitable healthcare foundation.

While there she restructured the trust’s services and operations and led the establishment of a sister organisation in India.

Catherine is a member of the boards of the Charity Commission for England and Wales, the Met Office, the Royal British Legion and The National Memorial Arboretum.

As the Cambridges are increasing their charity work and official duties on behalf of the Queen, Catherine’s appointment will see her effectively become Chief of Staff for the duchess.

Catherine replaces Rebecca Deacon, who steps down as private secretary this summer.

Often referred to as the duchess’s “Girl Friday” the role involves accompanying the duchess on engagements.