Bar Council appoints new Chief Executive

14 May 2013

The Bar Council, which represents barristers in England and Wales, has appointed a new Chief Executive. Stephen Crowne, who will take up the post on Monday 3 June, joins with wide-ranging experience of public and private sector leadership, most recently as Senior Director, Global Education, at Cisco, one of the world's leading providers of networking equipment.

The Bar Council's decision to appoint a new Chief Executive reflects its wish to provide the Council with strong leadership and general management expertise to ensure the organisation remains fit for purpose, financially robust, cost-effective and focused on serving the interests and needs of the Bar. The role of the Chief Executive is to facilitate the operations of the Council's various policy-making committees and to support the Bar Council in the development of its strategy and the fulfilment of its Approved Regulator role.

Maura McGowan QC, Chairman of the Bar, said:

"We are delighted that Stephen has agreed to take up the role of Chief Executive. He joins the Bar Council at a time of great change for the profession. His experience in the Civil Service at senior levels and more recently in business will help us as an organisation to address the challenges of the diverse and complex environment in which the profession's governing body operates and enable us meet the needs of the profession and its clients more effectively.

"I am very pleased that Stephen is able to join us so soon after his appointment. I know he will be a very welcome addition to our team."

Stephen Crowne, incoming Chief Executive of the Bar Council, said:

"Barristers are a vital part of our justice system, and the Bar is widely admired around the world. It is a privilege to have this opportunity to help them to respond to very challenging times. I look forward to supporting the officers and members of Bar Council, and to leading and shaping a highly professional organisation. I want to help secure the continuing integrity, excellence and success of the Bar, ensuring access to justice for all." 


Notes to editors:

1. For further information, please contact the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 or

2. The role of Chief Executive has been vacant since May 2011 and is filled following a review of the organisation's requirements for the role. The appointment panel included representatives from the Bar Council and Bar Standards Board.

3. Stephen Crowne joins The Bar Council with wide-ranging experience of public and private sector leadership.

For the last two years he has been Senior Director, Global Education at Cisco, supporting the transformation of education systems around the world to meet the needs of the 21st century. Stephen was responsible for developing education strategy and leading implementation.

Prior to that he was, for five years, Chief Executive of the British Educational Technology & Communications Agency (BECTA), the UK Government Agency charged with promoting technology in learning. He was responsible for advising the Government on strategy, driving improvement across the system, establishing value-for-money procurement arrangements and executing innovative programs such as Home Access, which provided computers and connectivity to over 200,000 children in low income families.

Before BECTA, Stephen was a senior civil servant in the UK Department for Education, working extensively on strategy and programs to raise school standards, and culminating with a spell as interim Director-General for Schools. In various roles he led on central Government intervention in failing local authorities, the development and implementation of the innovative Building Schools for the Future Program, and overall schools funding strategy. He was also the first Chief Executive of the Further Education Development Agency (FEDA), a body established to provide management development and curriculum support to further education colleges in England.

Stephen has a degree in Modern History from Cambridge University.

4. The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes:

  • The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services

  • Fair access to justice for all

  • The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and

  • The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad.

The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board.