John Sawers – Keynote Speaker

Former Chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service (also known as MI6) and Executive Chairman, Newbridge Advisory

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Specialist Subjects

  • Geopolitics and the State of the World
  • Global Investments in a Chaotic World

Language

  • English

Biography

Sir John Sawers is Executive Chairman of Newbridge Advisory, a firm he founded in 2019 to advise corporate leaders on geopolitics and political risk.

Sir John has 36 years of experience in diplomacy and intelligence, culminating in five years as Chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). As MI6 Chief, he took part in the UK National Security Council and the Joint Intelligence Committee, contributing to the strategies and policy decisions on how to promote and protect British interests around the World. He led the Service through a period of international political upheaval and high terrorist threat, including against the 2012 London Olympics. He also modernised the way the Service works and created a more open approach to public accountability.

Prior to leading MI6, Sir John was the UK’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Political Director of the Foreign Office, Special Representative in Iraq, Ambassador to Cairo and Foreign Policy Adviser to Prime Minister Tony Blair. In his earlier career he worked overseas in Yemen, Syria, South Africa and Washington, and at home was involved in policy on the EU, Russia and the Middle East.

Sir John became Chairman and Partner at Macro Advisory Partners after he left public service until he set up Newbridge Advisory, his own company. He was a Non-Executive Director of bp from 2015 to 2024.

He studied at the universities of Nottingham, St Andrews and Harvard. In addition to his corporate work, he has pro bono roles with King’s College London, Nottingham University, the Council on Foreign Relations, Chatham House, the European Council on Foreign Relations, the Royal United Services Institute, the Bilderberg Association, the Ditchley Foundation and Sevenoaks School.

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