Dr Kate Richards in line to become RCVS President in July

The Council of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has today [15 April 2021] elected veterinary surgeon Dr Kate Richards as Junior Vice-President with immediate effect and, subject to its recommendation in June and ratification at its Annual General Meeting on 9 July 2021, the next RCVS President.

A graduate of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Kate was a farm vet for 15 years, a partner in a 15 vet practice in Aberdeen. She then moved to the pharmaceutical industry as a veterinary advisor before joining the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra). From there, she moved into non-veterinary Senior Civil Service (SCS) roles in several Whitehall departments including the Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Justice. As a senior civil servant she was Principal Private Secretary to three Secretaries of State for Scotland, handling a diverse policy portfolio and working across Whitehall, including No.10 Downing Street and the Devolved Administrations.

First elected to RCVS Council in 2015 for a four year term and again in 2020, Kate has previously served as Chair of the RCVS Standards Committee and RCVS representative on the UK co-ordination group for the Federation of Vets of Europe (FVE). Currently Vice Chair of the Education Committee, member of the Registration Committee and the Environment & Sustainability Working Party, Kate is an appointed veterinary member of Veterinary Nurses’ Council.

Kate is a qualified Official Veterinarian (OV), a Non-Executive Director on the Moredun Foundation and Scottish Agriculture College (SAC) Commercial Boards, a veterinary advisor on a Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) mental health project and on the Council of the Association of Government Veterinarians. She’s a member of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Veterinary Public Health Association. A Council member of the British Cattle Veterinary Association (2004-10), Kate served as a Trustee of the BVA Animal Welfare Foundation (2014-17).

Kate’s election by her RCVS Council peers also means that, come July and subject to ratification by RCVS Council, the offices of RCVS President, Senior-Vice President and Junior Vice-President will all be held by women for the first time in the College’s 177-year history.

Current RCVS President Dr Mandisa Greene will become Senior Vice-President, and joining Kate and Mandisa on the Officer team will be Dr Melissa Donald, who last month was elected Junior Vice-President for 2021-22. Current Senior Vice-President Dr Niall Connell was recently elected RCVS Treasurer.

The vacancy in the RCVS Officer team arose following Professor David Argyle’s decision to resign from Council in March, meaning that Council needed to hold two votes in quick succession: one at its scheduled meeting in March for the 2021-22 JVP position; and one today for the current JVP vacancy.

Speaking following confirmation of her election, Kate said: “I am delighted to be elected JVP. It’s been an exceptionally challenging year for those in all walks of veterinary life, including students aspiring to join our profession. It will be an honour to lead the RCVS as its tenth female president, working with veterinary colleagues as well as reaching out to allied professionals acknowledging that there will be challenges to navigate as well as triumphs to celebrate.”

The College’s AGM will be held online again this year, and further details will be published in due course.

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