Special Message for the Summit Special Edition 2020

Ciarán Devane

Chief Executive
British Council
Special Messages

Sir Ciarán Devane took up the role of Chief Executive of the British Council in January 2015. Ciarán has focused on ensuring that all stakeholders understand and value the contribution that soft power, cultural relations and the British Council makes to security, prosperity and influence, and that the organisation and staff are aligned behind that vision.

Previously Devane was Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support from 2007 to 2014. He transformed the scale and impact of the charity, by collaborating with other organisations, leading to Macmillan being named the UK’s ‘Brand of the Year’ in 2014.

Devane was educated at University College, Dublin where he gained first-class honours in biochemical engineering. He began his career as an engineer and manager for Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) before becoming a management consultant, mostly with Gemini Consulting. He specialised in complex change programmes with companies such as AstraZeneca and Rolls Royce.

He holds a Masters degree in International Policy and Practice from George Washington University, USA. Devane has held non-executive roles on the board of organisations ranging from small local charities to NHS England. He is currently on the board of Social Finance Limited.

Ciarán Devane was awarded a knighthood in 2015 for his services to cancer patients.