John Sawers Keynote Speaker
- Chief, 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 a keynote speaker and the former chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service.
John modernised the Service and led it through major changes in operations, technology, and public accountability. He was the first outsider to be appointed to SIS in decades, he draws from his experience in managing the most challenging foreign and security policy issues of the last 20 years, including the rise of China, the evolution of Russia, the threat of terrorism and cyber attack, the changes in the Middle East, and the negotiations in Iran.
With a total of 36 years working for the British government, Sir John is a diplomat with close ties to Downing Street and the foreign policy establishment. Since leaving public service Sir John has been advising global companies and investors and in 2019 set up his own company, Newbridge Advisory which advises on geopolitics and risk.
Prior to leading MI6 he was the UK’s ambassador to the United Nations (2007-2009), political director of the Foreign Office (2003-2007), special representative in Iraq (2003), ambassador to Cairo (2001-2003) and foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Tony Blair (1999-2001).
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 studied at the universities of Nottingham, St Andrews and Harvard..He is a visiting professor at King’s College London, a senior fellow of the Royal United Services Institute, and a governor of the Ditchley Foundation. He is also an adviser to Chatham House.
Speaking Topics include:
- Global geopolitics and geopolitical risk
- China and SE Asia
- Russia and the West
- Cyber security
- Leadership and change