New chair of the Chatham House Council is appointed

Chatham House is pleased to announce Sir Nigel Sheinwald GCMG takes over as Council chair on 21 July, following Lord O’Neill’s three-year term in the role.

News release
Published 30 June 2021 Updated 1 July 2021 2 minute READ

Press Office

Headshot of Nigel Sheinwald

Sir Nigel brings experience of a distinguished diplomatic career, extensive board experience and experience in higher education.

His previous posts include UK ambassador to the US (2007-12), foreign policy and defence adviser to the UK prime minister (2003-07), and UK ambassador to the EU (2000-03). He also served as the UK prime minister’s special envoy for international data sharing (2014-15).

He is a non-executive director of Invesco, a senior adviser to Universal Music Group, and a member of the management council of the Ditchley Foundation. He was chair of the UK-US Fulbright Education Commission (2015-20) and a member of the governing council of King’s College (2014-20), where he continues to serve as a visiting professor in the War Studies Department. He chaired the Safety, Environment and Sustainability Committee of Royal Dutch Shell, stepping down as a member of the board earlier this year.

Chatham House is fortunate to be able to draw on Nigel’s experience on the frontlines of diplomacy as the world has entered a more complex environment for global governance

Lord O’Neill

Jim O’Neill says: ‘Chatham House is fortunate to be able to draw on Nigel’s experience on the frontlines of diplomacy as the world has entered a more complex environment for global governance. Under Nigel’s leadership, Council will be in a strong position to guide Chatham House through this dynamic context. And I know he will challenge the institute to continue improving its ideas for positive change.’

Nigel Sheinwald says: ‘I am delighted to have this opportunity to chair the Council of Chatham House at the beginning of its second century, after a period of significant growth, at a crossroads in international affairs and in the UK’s global role. I pay tribute to Jim O’Neill’s major contribution over the past three years.

‘Chatham House has a global reputation for independent thinking on the most salient issues of the day. I look forward to continuing to support the director and staff and to ensuring that Council provides the necessary strategic guidance and constructive oversight so that the Institute maintains and increases its impact and appeal in the UK and round the world.’

Sir Nigel takes up his post officially on Chatham House Council on 21 July.

The institute has benefited greatly from Jim O’Neill’s leadership as chair over the past three years. He led a fundamental overhaul of the Council’s governance, consolidating the board from 21 to 12 members, in line with Charity Commission guidance, and engaging all board members in relevant oversight committees. He drove the institute’s increased outreach to younger and more diverse audiences, establishing a Next Generation Committee of Council to support initiatives that include a new Panel of Young Advisers, and the Queen Elizabeth II Academy Ambassadors Programme linking the institute to universities across the UK.

Under his leadership, the institute has navigated the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic while strengthening its operational resilience.

Lord O’Neill will continue his engagement with Chatham House as a member of its Panel of Senior Advisers, as well as through the O’Neill Fund, which will give 13–16-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to learn about the world through a collaboration between Chatham House and the National Saturday Clubs.