The new incumbent will take over from Professor Gillian Leng in February next year

Vlad Chorniy leader innovation chief executive business

Dr Samantha Roberts is to take over as Chief Executive of NICE early next year. She will take up her post on 1 February 2022, as the current incumbent Professor Gillian Leng retires.

Experience in health service delivery and life sciences

Dr Roberts has more than 20 years’ experience in healthcare. She studied in South Africa and Australia, before practising as a clinician in the UK and in Australia.

Dr Roberts obtained a DPhil in evidence-based healthcare from the University of Oxford, focusing on health economic modelling and implications for policy, specifically the relative cost-effectiveness of alternative diabetes prevention approaches in England.

Between January 2018 and August 2020, she served as Director of Innovation, Research and Life Sciences at NHS England, and Chief Executive of the accelerated access collaborative at NHS England and NHS Improvement.

In 2020, she was seconded to the Department of Health and Social Care to lead the team establishing the national supply chain for COVID-19 testing.

Since September last year, Dr Roberts has been Managing Director of Health and Care at Legal & General.

‘Golden age’ of medical innovation

Sharmila Nebhrajani, Chairman of NICE, said: ‘I am delighted to welcome Samantha Roberts to NICE. She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of the life sciences sector, and the NHS, that I know will help to drive our future vision.’

Commenting on her appointment, Dr Roberts said: ‘We are living through a golden age of medical innovation. So it is an enormous privilege to be asked to lead an organisation that has both such a proud history and such a significant future role to play in bringing the best of this innovation into practice.

‘I may be a newcomer to NICE but I have been a user of NICE products for the last 20 years, so it is wonderful for me to be taking a role at the heart of something that I have valued so much over the years.’

Minister for Innovation, Lord Kamall, said: ‘We hope that under Dr Roberts’ leadership, NICE will continue to play its vital part in driving improved patient outcomes across the health and care system, and ensuring that the UK is seen as a global centre of excellence for life sciences.’

Professor Leng, who took over as NICE’s second Chief Executive in April 2020, announced in September this year she was retiring from the role following the death of her husband.

She has worked in the organisation for 20 years.

This article was originally published on Medscape News UK, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

For all our summaries of NICE guidelines, click here.



Lead image: Vlad Chorniy/

Image 1: Vlad Chorniy/