Sir Stephen John Hillier

Sir Stephen John Hillier

Chair of the Civil Aviation Authority, and a number of other organisations

Sir Stephen Hillier is the Chair of the Civil Aviation Authority, the UK’s Air and Space regulator, responsible for the safety, security and consumer interests of those who fly and those affected on the ground. He is also a Board member of the UK Atomic Energy Authority, helping develop fusion power, and Chair of a property investment and development company, focused on social housing.

He was the Chief of the Air Staff, commanding the Royal Air Force from July 2016 to July 2019. He led a Whole Force of some 35000 people and was personally accountable for the safe and effective operation of over 700 manned and unmanned aircraft and for meeting the air and space power needs of Defence on operations world-wide.

Prior to becoming Chief of the Air Staff, he was the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Military Capability) in the Ministry of Defence between 2012 and 2016, responsible for strategic force design, balance of investment and capability coherence across all areas of UK joint military capability. He has significant other previous experience in MOD capability planning, acquisition and programme delivery.

A Tornado GR4 pilot and flying instructor, he has over 3500 flying hours and extensive operational and command experience, ranging from squadron pilot to theatre commander of British Forces.

He received his Knighthood (KCB) in 2014 and was appointed GCB in 2020. He was appointed CBE in 2004. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for operations over Iraq in 1999, the United States Bronze Star for Iraq operations in 2003, and the United States Legion of Merit and the Gold Cross of the German Bundeswehr in 2019.

Born and raised in Kilmarnock, Scotland, he is married to Elaine and has 2 grown-up children. Reluctantly now describing himself as a former long distance runner, frustrated by injury, he now relaxes by road biking, photography, hill-walking and reading. He supports a number of charities as a Patron, President or Trustee, with a particular emphasis on social mobility, veterans’ care, and inspiring young people.