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Lord Adonis appointed Visiting Professor

Posted on 18/11/2014

Lord Adonis has been appointed visiting professor to the Policy Institute at King’s, a hub linking insightful research with rapid, relevant policy analysis to stimulate ‘edgy’ forward-looking debate and shape future policy agendas. He will also become advisor to the Strand Group, the new signature events series of the Policy Institute at King’s.

Sir Nicholas Macpherson, Professor John Rentoul, Sir Kevin Tebbit and William Keegan CBE have also been appointed Visiting Professors and advisors to the Strand Group.

Andrew Adonis worked as a journalist for the Financial Times and the Observer, before joining Tony Blair’s Number 10 policy staff in 1998 as education advisor, later becoming Head of the Policy Unit. Lord Adonis was made a life peer in May 2005 and drove through the academy schools programme as Minister for Schools. He described the process in his book Education, Education, Education (2012).

In 2008 he became Minister of State for Transport and in 2009 was promoted to become Secretary of State for Transport. He was instrumental in the post-election negotiations between Labour and the Liberal Democrats in 2010 and published a book on the topic, 5 Days in May: The Coalition and Beyond (2013).

Lord Adonis is advising Labour’s Policy Review on industrial strategy and the ‘Adonis Growth Review: Mending the Fractured Economy’ was published to wide attention in July 2014.

Lord Adonis said: ‘I’m delighted to become a visiting professor at King’s College London and advisor to Jon Davis’s Strand Group. The university makes an outstanding contribution to public policy and debate and I look forward to engaging with academics and students on the big policy challenges facing modern Britain as a former politics lecturer myself. I have a profound belief in the importance of bringing together the study of political science and the study of politics for the benefit of both communities.’

Dr Jon Davis, Director of Partnerships and the Strand Group in the Policy Institute at King’s, said: ‘Lord Adonis’s appointment is tremendous news for King’s. He is Parliament’s foremost thinker in issues such as schools policy, apprenticeships, national infrastructure, regional policy and much more besides. His burning desire to change his country for the better is clear for all to see. We look forward hugely to his upcoming lectures and wider involvement.’

Jonathan Grant, Director, Policy Institute at King’s, said: ‘We are very excited to be launching the Strand Group as a monthly forum that connects policy with politics through reflections, discussions and debate with leading civil servants and politicians.’

Sir Nicholas Macpherson will also be joining King’s as visiting professor. He began at the Treasury in 1985, becoming Permanent Secretary to the Treasury in 2005, making him the longest serving permanent secretary currently in Whitehall. He served chancellors of the exchequer Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling and George Osborne. He was also Principal Private Secretary to Ken Clarke when he was Chancellor 1993-1997. He has been integral to the Governments’ reaction to the global financial crisis which began in 2008, the austerity measures which followed the Coalition Government in 2010 and the Scottish referendum.

Sir Nicholas's inaugural lecture as visiting professor, ‘The Treasury and the Union’, on 19 January 2015 will also be the first Strand Group event.

Professor Rentoul is the chief political commentator for the Independent on Sunday. He was previously chief leader writer for the Independent and is regularly invited on television and radio. He is the author of Tony Blair (2001), Tony Blair: Prime Minister (2013), The Banned List: A Manifesto Against Jargon and Cliche (2011), Questions to Which the Answer is ‘No!' (2012) and Listellany: A Miscellany of Very British Top Tens, From Politics to Pop (2014).

Professor Rentoul was Public Affairs ‘Political Tweeter of the Year’ in 2011 and was cited as one of the most influential UK journalists on social media by Press Gazette earlier this year with 40,000+ Twitter followers.

From 2008 he taught undergraduates and postgraduates, with Dr Davis, at Queen Mary, University of London. ‘The Blair Government’ was his special subject and a ‘New Labour in Government’ MA module.

Sir Kevin Tebbit is a retired career civil servant, who held senior posts in the defence, intelligence and diplomatic fields. Notably, Sir Kevin served as Director of GCHQ (1998) and was Permanent Under Secretary of State in the Ministry of Defence (1998-2005).
Sir Kevin joined the Ministry of Defence in 1969. He then spent a period in the diplomatic service, serving as First Secretary in the UK delegation to NATO, as Head of Chancery at the British Embassy in Turkey and from 1988-91 was Politico-Military Counsellor in Washington DC.
Since retiring from the Civil Service, Sir Kevin has been a Governor of the Ditchley Foundation, as well as holding a range of public sector, private sector and academic roles.

William Keegan CBE is Senior Economics Commentator at the Observer, having enjoyed a long and prominent career in economic journalism.
Previously economics editor of the Observer, William Keegan has worked as a journalist for the Financial Times (1963-4) and the Daily Mail and News Chronicle (1964-7), before a series of more senior economics-related roles at the Financial Times and the Observer. He also worked in the Economic Intelligence Department of the Bank of England 1976-7.
He has published many books, dealing primarily with economic history, including Mrs Thatcher’s Economic Experiment (1984), Britain Without Oil (1985) The Prudence of Mr Gordon Brown (2003) and Saving the World? Gordon Brown Reconsidered (2012). His latest work, Mr Osborne’s Economic Experiment, will be launched at King’s in early 2015.

Dr Davis said: ‘These five new appointments are really exciting for the Policy Institute and represent a huge moment in the university’s determination to be at the very forefront of partnership with government through policy interaction, public engagement and teaching.’

Notes to editors

Dr Jon Davis is available for media interview. Please contact Anna Mitchell, PR Manager, Arts & Sciences, on 0207 848 3092 or

For further information about King's visit our 'King's in Brief' page.

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