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Originally a union official, George Robertson became Labour’s Defence Secretary after the 1997 election. An Atlanticist and a pro-European, he was then appointed to the NATO role. Since then he has held senior and advisory roles in energy, engineering and telecoms companies.
As Secretary General of NATO, Lord Robertson was described as ‘the most powerful Scotsman in the world.’ After leaving public office he served in a range of business, political and advisory roles.
George Robertson was born in the village police station on the Isle of Islay, into a family of policemen. He began his career as a union organiser in the Scottish whisky industry. Then as Labour MP for Hamilton he began to specialise in foreign policy, and to build a lasting reputation for both Atlanticist and pro-European views. He served as Opposition Spokesman for Scottish and Foreign Affairs, as well as Defence. On Labour’s 1997 election victory he became Secretary of State for Defence, but within three years he left Parliament to take up the lead role at NATO during a period encompassing UK-US tensions, conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and major geo-political shifts in the post-Cold War era.
After his term in charge of NATO George took on roles including Special Advisor to BP and Chairman of BP Russian Investments, Deputy Chairman of Cable & Wireless, and non-executive roles in engineering, construction and transport companies. He also served as President of foreign policy think tank Chatham House.
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