She hailed a Government that “looks more like the country it serves”, acting on calls from some in her own party to push fresh talent up the ranks.
Mrs May declared in a statement: “This Government is about building a country fit for the future – one that truly works for everyone with a stronger economy and a fairer society.
“This reshuffle helps us do just that by bringing fresh talent into Government, boosting delivery in key policy areas like housing, health and social care, and ensuring the Government looks more like the country it serves.
“It also allows a new generation of gifted ministers to step up and make life better for people across the whole UK.”
Mrs May had faced criticism for the diversity of her new cabinet that only contains one ethnic minority minister and one who is openly LGBT.
But she bolstered the junior ranks with a greater proportion of fresh talent from diverse backgrounds.
MPs with Pakistani, Mauritian and Iraqi heritage were given ministerial jobs for the first time in their careers.
And of the 13 new politicians on the Government payroll, eight were women and four were black or minority ethnic (BME).
There were beefed up departments, too, with Fareham MP Suella Fernandes taking the number of Brexit ministers from three to four.
She was not the rumoured ”no deal” priminister, but has backed the scenario in the past. “In the event of no deal, that’s great for us,” she wrote in June.
Housing and social care got extra staff and ministers too, following the PM’s attempt to stamp her new direction for the party by adding them to the briefs of Communities Secretary Sajid Javid and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, respectively.
Universities minister Jo Johnson also lost his job and got moved to transport, hours after columnist Toby Young resigned as a non-executive board member on the new Office for Students watchdog.
Meanwhile, Home Secretary Amber Rudd picked up the women and equalities remit left vacant by outgoing Education Secretary Justine Greening, who quit to advance “social mobility” from the backbenches.
Some reshuffle announcements were not universally popular with Tory MPs.