Born in Tullibody in Clackmannanshire in 1939, George Reid was educated at Abercromby School, Dollar Academy and the University of St Andrews. He started his career as a journalist in the 1960s, working for the BBC, Scottish Television, Granada and a number of newspapers in UK, Europe and Africa. Mr Reid has represented Clackmannanshire at both the Westminster and Holyrood Parliaments. He served as MP (SNP), and Member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, between 1974 and 1979 Returned as an MSP (SNP) in 1999 and 2003, he served as (non-party) Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament from 2003 and 2007. Between 1984 and 1986 he was Director of Public Affairs of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent, based in Geneva but also working worldwide in conflict and disaster zones.
He was appointed Privy Councillor in August 2004. In 2007 he was made a Freeman of Clackmannanshire. He was appointed by Her Majesty as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 2008 and 2009. A visiting Professor to Glasgow and Stirling Universities he has been awarded Doctorates by them and by St Andrews, Queen Margaret and Edinburgh Universities.
He is married with 2 daughters.