Christopher Patten, Baron Patten of Barnes CH PC (born 12 May 1944) is a British public servant. He is a former chairman of the BBC Trust and serves as Chancellor of the University of Oxford.
Patten began his career in the Conservative Party (UK), serving as Member of Parliament for Bath and joining the cabinet.
Patten served as Minister for Overseas Development at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 1986 to 1989. In 1989 he was appointed to the Cabinet as Secretary of State for the Environment.
In July 1992, he became the 28th and the last Governor of Hong Kong until its transfer of sovereignty to the People’s Republic of China on 30 June 1997. He was given an official Chinese name, Pang Ding-hong (Chinese: 彭定康), a name with an etymology based on the words „stability” and „health”. Unlike most previous Hong Kong Governors, he was not a career diplomat from the UK Foreign Office although he was not the first former MP to become a Governor of Hong Kong. After the handover ceremony he left Hong Kong, together with Prince Charles, on board the British royal yacht, HMY Britannia. Patten was noted to be in tears throughout the day, notably after his speech at Tamar.
From 1998 to 1999, he chaired the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland, better known as the Patten Commission, which had been established in 1998 as part of the Belfast Agreement.
In 1999, he was appointed as one of the United Kingdom’s two members to the European Commission as Commissioner for External Relations.
Patten was Chancellor of Newcastle University from 1999 to 2009, and was elected Chancellor of the University of Oxford in 2003.
On the advice of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government led by Prime Minister David Cameron Lord Patten of Barnes was appointed by the Queen-in-Council as Chairman of the BBC Trust, and he took office on 1 May 2011. He resigned on 6 May 2014.
In the 1998 New Year Honours, Queen Elizabeth II appointed him a Companion of Honour.