Chair: Dr Charlie Laderman, Lecturer in International History
Discussant: Professor John Gearson, Vice Dean - International, Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy , Professor of National Security Studies
Speaker: Sir John Sawers, former Chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and Executive Chairman of Newbridge Advisory.
Sir John Sawers will discuss his 36 year career in diplomacy and intelligence, culminating in five years as Chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), as well as how he went on to found his own company, Newbridge Advisory, to advise corporate leaders on geopolitics and political risk.
'Conversations with Strategy' is an events series offering all War Studies students a unique opportunity to gain insights from some of our most prestigious visiting fellows. From former diplomats to intelligence analysts, journalists, civil servants and policymakers, visiting fellows will discuss their career journey, key tips, advice for success in their chosen profession and the lessons they’ve learned, and offer insights into contemporary strategic challenges.
This will be followed by a Q & A and conversation with students.
John Sawers is Executive Chairman of Newbridge Advisory, a firm he founded in 2019 to advise corporate leaders on geopolitics and political risk. He is also a Non-Executive Director of BP.
Sir John has 36 years of experience in diplomacy and intelligence, culminating in five years as Chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) until he left public service in 2014.
As MI6 Chief, he was a member of 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 he 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 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, Chatham House, the Royal United Services Institute, the Bilderberg Association, the Ditchley Foundation and Sevenoaks School.