Dame Stella Rimmington

Dame Stella Rimmington

Stella Rimington DCB was the first woman to become Director General of MI5. Educated at Edinburgh University and Liverpool University, Dame Stella started her career working part-time for MI5 at their office in New Delhi, India. 

On her return to the UK she joined the Security Service full time. During her thirty-year career at MI5, Stella Rimington worked in all the main fields of the Service’s responsibilities - counter-subversion, counter-espionage and counter-terrorism.


She became Director General of MI5 in 1992 and led the Service’s counter-espionage work in the closing days of the Cold War. In the late 1980’s she was in charge of the Service’s work against International and Irish terrorism. 

Stella Rimington pursued a policy of greater openness at MI5, seeking to explain to the public what the Service was and the extent of its responsibilities. She delivered the 1994 Dimbleby Lecture on BBC TV, has given several other public lectures and also published a booklet about the Service. Stella Rimington was made a Dame Commander of the Bath (DCB) in the New Year’s Honours 1995/6. She has been awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Law by the Universities of Nottingham and Exeter and in 1994 she was elected Alumna of the Year by Edinburgh University. 

In 1996 Dame Stella Rimington was appointed to the Boards of Marks & Spencer and British Gas plc. 

Stella Rimington is a lively and entertaining speaker, who uses her well-developed sense of humour to great advantage.