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Profile: Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, KT, GCMG, PC, Hon. FRSE

Lord (George Islay MacNeill) Robertson is Special Adviser to BP plc and Senior International Adviser to Cable and Wireless Communications plc. He was NATO Secretary General from 1999-2003, UK Defence Secretary from 1997-1999, and Member of Parliament for Hamilton and Hamilton South from 1978-1999.

Born in Port Ellen, on Scotland’s Isle of Islay, and educated at Dunoon Grammar School and the University of Dundee, Lord Robertson was the Scottish Organiser with the GMB trade union from 1969-1978. Elected to Parliament in 1978, from 1979-1993 he held senior Opposition roles, including eleven years on foreign affairs, and in particular Europe. In 1993 he was elected to the Shadow Cabinet and served as Principal Opposition Spokesman on Scotland until the General Election of 1997.

He was Chairman of the Scottish Labour Party in 1977, serving on the Board of the Scottish Development Agency, the Board of Governors of the Scottish Police College, as Vice Chairman of the British Council and Deputy Chairman of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy. He was appointed the UK Defence Secretary in 1997 and, in October 1999, the 10th Secretary General of NATO and elevated to the House of Lords.

Lord Robertson was appointed to Her Majesty’s Privy Council in 1997, appointed by the Queen as a Knight of the Thistle (KT), and awarded the GCMG (Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George) in 2004. In 2011 he was appointed Chancellor of the Order of St Michael and St George and was awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2003. He has been awarded the highest national honours from many countries and was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2003. He has thirteen Honorary Doctorates and is currently an Honorary Professor of Politics at the University of Stirling

Lord Robertson is also a non-executive Director of The Weir Group plc and Western Ferries (Clyde) Ltd, and The Cohen Group (USA). He served on the Smiths Group Board between 2004-2006, was Joint President of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (2001-2011), is an Elder Brother of Trinity House, Chairman of the Commission on Global Road Safety, and Chairman of the Council of Management of the Ditchley Foundation. He is also Honorary Regimental Colonel of the London Scottish (Volunteers).

He is a Trustee of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust and has been appointed by the Prime Minister to the Advisory Board of the Commemoration of World War One.