Rabbatts was the youngest chief executive of a local authority in the UK in the 1980s in a career that spanned law, sport, film, media and the arts.
As chair, she joins a board comprising chief executive Nan Williams, group managing directors Andrew Jack, Einir Williams and Ray Eglington and investment director George Tsangarides from BGF.
“We have known and respected Heather for some time and it is incredibly exciting to be able to have her join us as chair,” Williams said. “Heather’s experience in local government, the arts, sports, film, media, government and communications crosses over with so much of what we do as an agency. Her senior counsel will be invaluable as we move from recovery to growth again in the next year.”
Rabbatts said: “Following its launch in 2001, [Four] has grown significantly and built scale and impact that has been impressive. The environment we are all working in with the pandemic is of course extremely challenging but the leadership of Four is very talented and experienced and I am looking forward to continuing to build the company.”
An accomplished career
Rabbatts began her career as a barrister before moving into local government, first as deputy chief executive of Hammersmith and Fulham, and then as chief executive of the London Borough of Lambeth, which was then dubbed ‘the worst job in local government’. She has also worked at Channel 4 as head of education, served as a governor of the BBC and on the board of the Bank of England.
In sport, Rabbatts was the executive chair of Millwall FC and an independent director on the board of the Football Association, where she also headed its Inclusion Advisory Board.
She has also served on the boards of Crossrail, the Royal Opera House, Grosvenor Estates and in supervisory roles at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the LSE and the British Council.
In agency land, she is chair of strategic sports agency Vero Communications, which is a partner agency of Four. She has also recently launched a Women's Sports Group with media-rights consultant David Kogan.