John Sawers Keynote Speaker

  • Chief of British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) (2009-14)
  • British Permanent Representative to the United Nations (2007-09)
  • Expert on geopolitics and risk

John Sawers's 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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John Sawers's Speaking Topics

  • • Global geopolitics and geopolitical risk

  • • China and SE Asia

  • • Russia and the West

  • • Cyber security

  • • Leadership and change

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Videos of John Sawers

Robert John Sawers: Changing Politics and Geopolitics - What does it mean for Europe?
Robert John Sawers: Changing Politics and Geopolitics - What does it mean for Europe?
Cambridge University Panel | Leadership or Survival: What should the UK prioritise in foreign and national security policy after Covid-19?
Cambridge University Panel | Leadership or Survival: What should the UK prioritise in foreign and national security policy after Covid-19?
Lecture at Nottingham University | Sir John Sawers on technology and security
Lecture at Nottingham University | Sir John Sawers on technology and security
The Limits of Security
The Limits of Security
Keynote at the Edelman Trust Barometer
Keynote at the Edelman Trust Barometer

Articles, Media & Podcasts

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