Dame Stella Rimington (born 1935) was the first woman to become Director General of the Security Service on her appointment to that position in 1992. The following year she became the Service's first publicly acknowledged DG.
She joined the Service in 1969 and worked in a variety of roles, including counter-subversion and counter-terrorism. She became the first woman to be promoted to the rank of Director of a Service branch. Under her management as Director General, the Service took on the lead role in the fight against Irish republican terrorism. Dame Stella also instituted a policy of greater public openness that included the beginning of an ongoing programme of releasing historical Service files to the National Archives.
Dame Stella retired from the Service in 1996. She was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the Bath in the same year and published her autobiography, Open Secret, in 2001. Since then she has published a number of novels set in the world of intelligence and counter-terrorism.