On his second day in office, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moonappointed John Holmes to succeed JanEgeland as the next Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs andEmergency Relief Coordinator. Sir John Holmes is currently the BritishAmbassador in Paris, a post he has held since October 2001.
John Holmes Under-Secretary-General 2007
A career diplomat, he joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Officein 1973, and has since served in a wide range of roles. He began hiscareer in London, including a spell covering the United Nations, which involveda period of temporary duty at the 1975 General Assembly as part of the BritishMission to the UN in New York. In 1976, he was appointed to the BritishEmbassy in Moscow as a Second Secretary. Returning to London in 1978, hedealt with Lebanon and the Middle East peace process before being appointedAssistant Private Secretary to the British Foreign Secretary in 1982, coveringthe Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America. In 1984, he went to theBritish Embassy in Paris as First Secretary to cover economic and European Unionquestions.
He returned to London in 1987 as Assistant Head of the thenSoviet Department in the FCO, and subsequently spent two years between 1989 and1991 on secondment to Thomas De La Rue, a British company of security printers. In 1991 he went to India as Political, then Economic and Commercial Counsellorat the British High Commission in New Delhi, supervising the British aidprogramme as well as economic and commercial issues.
On return to London in 1995, he was briefly head of the EuropeanUnion Department (External) in the FCO before joining the then Prime MinisterJohn Major in Downing Street as his Private Secretary (Overseas Affairs) anddiplomatic adviser. He continued this role with Prime Minister Tony Blairfrom 1997 to 1999, becoming Principal Private Secretary. He was also theBritish G8 Sherpa during this time, including the British G8 Presidency of 1998. He was awarded a knighthood in 1999, primarily for his role in the NorthernIreland peace process and the Good Friday Agreement.
From 1999 to 2001, John Holmes was the British Ambassador inLisbon, before moving on to Paris.
John Holmes was born in Preston, in the North of England, in1951, and educated at Preston Grammar School and Balliol College, Oxford. He married Penelope Morris in 1976 and they have three daughters.