Douglas Alexander: Biography highlights
Former Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School.
Hon. Douglas Alexander is currently a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, a Visiting Professor at the Policy Institute of King’s College, London and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Chicago. He is a Member of the European Council of Foreign Relations and a member of the Privy Council.
As Founder and Director of his own consultancy advisory company Mr. Alexander currently offers strategic advice to the international law firm Pinsent Masons and provides Board level advice to a range of international companies; offering a unique analysis on global political affairs, the rise of populism, and the changing political landscape on both sides of the Atlantic, to provide explanations and actionable ideas on key issues impacting business, trade, and civil society. He also advises U2 frontman Bono on development and investment within and beyond Africa to drive economic growth.
Mr. Alexander has almost two decades of experience of elected office and Government, serving at the highest level of politics in the UK. Working closely with Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, he was tasked with developing innovative approaches to address some of the world’s most complex and difficult problems.
Mr. Alexander was first elected to parliament in 1997 and served in numerous UK Ministerial positions, including Minister for E-Commerce and Competitiveness, Minister for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs, and Minister for Europe. In 2006 he was appointed to the Cabinet, becoming the Secretary of State for Transport and Secretary of State for Scotland. Mr. Alexander served as Secretary of State for International Development (2007-2010) and between June 2007 and May 2010 he also served as the UK’s Governor to the World Bank. In Her Majesty’s Official Opposition Mr. Alexander served as Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (2011-2015).
Mr. Alexander attended Cabinet as Minister for Europe during the UK Presidency of the European Union and directly contributed to successful negotiations on the Accession of Turkey and the multi-annual financial framework (the EU Budget). As Secretary of State for Transport, jointly with the Home Secretary, Mr. Alexander led the UK’s response to the 2006 Transatlantic Aircraft Terror Plot, working with Police, Intelligence Agencies, the Airlines and the US Department of Homeland Security. As Secretary of State for International Development Mr. Alexander led over 2500 staff based in 39 counties with a Budget of $10.6 billion. The OECD Independent Peer Review judged the Department “an international development leader in times of global crisis”. Mr. Alexander chaired the Cabinet Committee created within Government to give strategic direction and political oversight to UK trade policy, and oversaw the work of the Government’s Trade Policy Unit. He led the UK Delegation at the WTO Ministerial-level meetings in Geneva in 2008, and was part of the UK Delegation at the UN Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen in 2009.
As UK Governor of the World Bank Mr. Alexander negotiated successfully for reforms including additional representation for developing countries and decentralisation of bank operations. Prior to entering Parliament Mr. Alexander qualified and practiced as a Solicitor in Scotland having achieved an MA Hons (1st Class), LLB (Distinction), Dip.L.P., from the University of Edinburgh (1990-1994).
Mr. Alexander has addressed audiences at Harvard University, Yale University, Oxford University, London School of Economics, World Economic Forum, Royal United Services Institute, International Institute for Strategic Studies, Royal Institute of International Affairs, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the 2015 Deutsche Bank Summit.
Watch Douglas in action
Douglas's speaking topics
The global trendlines beneath the headlines that are shaping politics and economics in what many see as the Asian Century.
The future of Europe and the transatlantic relationship
How the oldest alliance is coming under unprecedented strain and the impact for security prosperity and the future of the West.
The rise of populism and the erosion of trust
A combination of economic anger, cultural anxiety, and political alienation are changing our societies, impacting our economies, and altering our politics. How can businesses organisations lead and succeed in this new environment.
The implications of Britain's referendum decision to leave the European Union and what it means for business in terms of trade, investment, regulation, and long term economic growth.