A career Foreign Office official, he spent 'eight years a career diplomat, serving in Lagos, the British Mission to the United Nations, and in the Foreign Office.' Maclay then left the diplomatic service for a media career, spending eight years in the media, first at LWT and then, with David Lipsey, as a founding figure of the Sunday Correspondent. After the paper's collapse Maclay was rapidly recruited to Robert Maxwell's new newspaper venture, The European. He then returned to the Foreign Office as a special adviser to Douglas Hurd as foreign secretary, dealing mainly with the politics of the European Union and the Balkans. Maclay then joined Carl Bildt, the Swedish Conservative, High Representative for Bosnia, as his special adviser and chief spokesman.
Maclay was also an early member of the British American Project (BAP) and remains on its advisory board. He was director of Hakluyt, the strategic intelligence firm, many of whose directors were formerly senior figures in MI6, between January 1998 until 30 June 2002. He joined the Citizenship Foundation, a British charity which encourages active and effective citizenship in 1993, became chairman in 2000 and retired from the board in 2013.  ' He was senior adviser, now steering board chairman, to the Franco-British-German Club of Three/Institute for Strategic Dialogue  Maclay 'has been closely involved with the Club of Three since helping Lord Weidenfeld to set it up in 1995/6.'
- 'Educated at the Universities of Cambridge and Freiburg'
- Citizenship Foundation, a trustee since 1993, and took over as its chair from Andrew Phillips in 2000
- Senior adviser to the Franco-British-German Club of Three
- Member of the advisory board of the British American Project
- Former director of Hakluyt
His publications include Multi-Speed Europe (Chatham House, 1992), Maastricht Made Simple (The European 1993), and the Pocket History of the European Union (Sutton 1998).
- Montrose Associates board members accessed 23 September 2014
- Hakluyt Watch, Private Eye, No. 1031, 29 June - 12 July, 2001
- Club of Three Michael Maclay, Retrieved from the Internet Archive of 3 July 2007, accessed 30 March 2009
- Appointments in 1993 The Independent, 3 July 1993, accessed 23 September 2014
- Michael Maclay Profile Citizenship Foundation, accessed 23 September 2014
- Personal Profile Michael Maclay