The president of the Royal Statistical Society is the head of the Royal Statistical Society (RSS), elected biennially by the Fellows of the Society. (The time-period between elections has varied in the past, and in fact elections only rarely occur.).

The president oversees the running of the Society and chairs its council meetings. In recent years, almost all presidents have been nominated following many years' service to the Society, although some have been nominated to mark their eminence in society generally, such as Harold Wilson.

There has only been one contested election in the Society's history; in 1977, many fellows objected to the nomination by the Council of Campbell Adamson because he was not a statistician, was said to have made derogatory comments about statisticians, and principally because in the previous year he had been defeated in an election to the Council of the Society, and fellows felt that he was being foisted upon the Society by the current 'establishment' in an essentially undemocratic fashion.[1] Henry Wynn was nominated by several fellows (including Adrian Smith, himself later president, and Philip Dawid) and won the election.

Despite women being elected fellows from 1858, only five have been president of the society.

In 2010, Bernard Silverman stepped down very early in his presidential term. This was due to being appointed as chief scientific advisor to the Home Office which presented a conflict of interest as the society sometimes issues expert statements on statistical matters in public life. In 2022 then president-elect David Firth withdrew on health grounds, prompting a further election in which Andrew Garrett, the current president, was elected.[2] The president elect is currently Prof Sir John Aston.[3]

Honorary presidents

Three Princes of Wales have been an honorary president:

List of presidents

19th century

20th century

21st century


  1. ^ "A pivotal episode for the Radical Statistics Group and the Royal Statistical Society – the presidential election of 1977" (PDF). Radical Statistics (108): 21-37. 2013.
  2. ^ "Andrew Garrett confirmed as President Elect".
  3. ^ "Royal Statistical Society announces new president". Research Professional News. 1 September 2023.
  4. ^ "Society's new president". RSS News. Royal Statistical Society. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
  5. ^ "New president takes over". RSS News. Royal Statistical Society. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
  6. ^ "Peter Diggle to begin his RSS presidency early as John Pullinger steps down". Statslife. Royal Statistical Society. Retrieved 2014-07-11.
  7. ^ "David Spiegelhalter's Personal Home Page". Retrieved 2017-04-18.