Ms Tara O’Reilly: Biography

Tara O’Reilly BEng, Deputy Head (Operations) and Company Secretary, brings many years’ experience of managing business teams and leading digital transformation to her role at Queen Elizabeth’s School.

Before her appointment to the Deputy Head position in 2020, she spent nearly 16 years with the BBC, the last six of these as Head of Business Operations and Business Partner within the Design and Engineering division.

Having started as a Senior Project Manager in 2004, she moved on to lead the product development team for one of the BBC’s largest content management systems.

By the time of the London 2012 Olympics, she had senior responsibility for the transition of BBC Online products and services to the public and thus played a pivotal role in the national broadcaster’s coverage of the Games: it was thanks to her team that all the Olympics events were successfully shown on desktop, mobile, tablet and on the Red Button – “still one of my proudest professional moments”.

After that, her work involved providing strategic business management and administration support to the BBC’s Design and Engineering division, working at divisional HQ level and also running teams within departments, ensuring good governance and regulatory compliance in a fast-changing technology landscape.

Ms O’Reilly grew up in Kingsbury, North West London, and went to junior school in Wembley and secondary school in Ealing. Her degree from the University of Southampton is in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering, where she was one of only five women on the course.

Recognising when she left university in 1997 that the internet was starting to take off, she eschewed a career in engineering, instead accepting a job offer resulting from a summer placement with BT. She was appointed an Applications Developer at BT’s world-class R&D laboratories in Martlesham, Suffolk. In her five years there, she worked on the BT Global Challenge yacht race, airline in-flight entertainment systems and advanced conferencing solutions.

Outside work, for many years she played hockey, captaining teams at school, university and club level, although she is now retired from the game. She holds a PADI Advanced Open Water scuba diving qualification and is a keen skier.