John Kerr

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John Olav Kerr, Baron Kerr of Kinlochard GCMG (born 22 February 1942) is a former diplomat and cross-bench member of the House of Lords.

Born in Grantown on Spey, he was educated at Glasgow Academy and at Pembroke College, Oxford (BA modern history 1963).

He served in the British Diplomatic Service from 1966 until 2002. This included postings at the British Embassy in Moscow, and at the High Commission in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. He was Private secretary to the Permanent Under Secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 1974 until 1979, and was on secondment to HM Treasury from 1979 until 1984, during which time he was Principal private secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1981 until 1984. He was Head of Chancery at the British Embassy in Washington DC from 1984 until 1987, then Assistant Under Secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 1987 until 1990.

He was Ambassador and UK Permanent Representative to the European Commission/European Union in Brussels from 1990 until 1995, then Ambassador to the United States in Washington from 1995 to 1997. He returned to Britain in 1997 and was Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office and Head of Diplomatic Service at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 1997 until 2002. After leaving UK Government service he was Secretary General of the European Convention from 2000 until 2003.

He was a Director of Shell Transport and Trading Co from 2002 to 2005, and chaired the group of Directors who brought about the creation in 2005 of Royal Dutch Shell plc, of which he became, and remains Deputy Chairman and Senior Independent Director. He has been a Dirctor of the Scottish American Investment Trust since 2002, and of Rio Tinto plc since 2003.

He is a Trustee of the Rhodes Trust (since 1997), the National Gallery (since 2002),the Fulbright Commission (since 2004),and the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland (since 2005); and is an executive committee member of the Trilateral Commission. He has been Chairman of the Court and Council of Imperial College London since January 2005. He is also a member of the investment advisory board at Edinburgh Partners.[1]

He was appointed CMG in 1987, KCMG in 1991, and GCMG 2001. Three years later, in 2004, he received a life peerage as Baron Kerr of Kinlochard, of Kinlochard in Perth and Kinross. In the House of Lords he serves in Sub-Committee A of the European Union Committee.




  1. Lord Kerr of Kinlochard Parliament.UK, accessed 19 December 2014