New Director General appointed by the CLA

The CLA has appointed its next Director General following news that Sarah Hendry will step down later this year

The CLA has appointed Isabella (Bella) Murfin to be its next Director General, with effect from 1 September 2024.

Currently a senior civil servant in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Bella has worked on environment and farming issues as a policy-maker, strategist and programme director for over 20 years.

She has led the development of policy in a variety of challenging and complex areas, including agri-environment, natural resource management, waste and fisheries, along with organisational design and development. She set up Defra’s EU Exit Programme in 2016, designed to ready the department to transition environmental policy onto a domestic footing.

Bella spent two years at environmental NGO Earthwatch Europe as Strategy Director and then interim CEO, steering the organisation through a major change programme and strategy redesign.

In 2020, Bella returned to Defra to establish and deliver the £750m Nature for Climate (NCF) Tree Programme, aiming to transform England’s treescape and treble tree planting in support of net zero and nature recovery.

Bella Murfin updated
Having grown up in rural Shropshire, Bella now lives in West Sussex with her family

I care deeply about rural issues and the environment. I can’t wait to get out and meet CLA members and to start working together to navigate the challenges and opportunities ahead

Bella Murfin

“We are delighted to be welcoming Bella as our new Director General, following a thorough and highly competitive process" says Gavin Lane, CLA Deputy President and chair of the board. "The CLA is extremely fortunate to have recruited someone of her calibre.”