ONE of Scotland's most exclusive private schools has appointed the first female chair of the board of governors in its 81-year history.

Gordonstoun, in Moray, where Prince Charles was educated, has announced that Edinburgh-based academic Dr Eve Poole will take up the post in June.

A lecturer and writer in leadership, ethics, spirituality, capitalism and theology she will take over from Professor Bryan Williams OBE, who is stepping down after 11 years as chairman.

Simon Reid, the school's principal, said: "I am really looking forward to working with Eve to steer Gordonstoun through the next phase of its development.

"I am especially excited that she shares our belief in a broad curriculum, combining academic ambition for every child with a broad range of experiences to develop life skills.

"Her commitment to education, experience in business and leadership, deep rooted moral values, and her dynamic personality make her highly qualified to fulfil this important role."

Dr Poole, who lives in Edinburgh, said she was "delighted" to be Gordonstoun's first female chair, adding: "My work in leadership development through the business community has shown that it is character more than anything else that wins through, and we badly need more of it both in our current and future leaders.

"Gordonstoun has pioneered character-based education since its foundation, and I firmly believe the school must continue to set the agenda for those who are genuinely interested in a broader educational experience."

Gordonstoun is currently the most expensive independent school in Scotland charging in excess of £25,000 a year for a senior school day pupil and more than £30,000 for boarders.

Dr Poole has a degree in theology from Durham University, an MBA from Edinburgh, and a PhD in capitalism and theology from Cambridge.

She is an associate at Ashridge Business School, in Hertfordshire, where she teaches leadership and ethics. She has published extensively, and has a particular interest in the neurobiology of learning.

She is an associate lecturer at Edinburgh University and a visiting lecturer at the business schools of the universities of Bath and Surrey. She was formerly a consultant at Deloitte.

Mr Williams said: "Eve Poole has exactly the right experience, enthusiasm and commitment to the ethos of Gordonstoun to be a successful chair. After 11 years, it is very pleasing to be handing over to such a suitable successor."

Gordonstoun was founded in 1934 by Kurt Hahn a German educationalist. Hahn fled Germany in 1933 under threat from the Nazis for opposing fascism and founded Gordonstoun in Moray the following year.

Former pupils include Zara Philips, Olympic gold medallist Heather Stanning, author William Boyd and investigative journalist Liz MacKean.

Gordonstoun was one of the first independent boys schools to allow entry to girls going co-educational in 1972. The first female firefighters in the country were Gordonstoun students in 1974. Thirty three per cent of the current board of governors are female.