Director, Diplomacy 20:20

Paul Rennie OBE


Paul Rennie is the Director for Diplomacy 20:20, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s strategic transformation programme to deliver 21st century foreign policy.

Paul was born in Edinburgh and educated at George Heriot’s School, before going on to graduate with an MA in Economics & Politics (Edinburgh University) and an MSc in Economics (York University).

He joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2001 as the first of a new group of Diplomatic Service Economists. He has served in New York (United Nations), Brazil and India, as well as working on secondment to the Cabinet Office and the Department for International Development. Most recently he was Deputy High Commissioner in Malaysia where he also led on Education Strategy for South East Asia.

Paul is a professional economist, with a particular expertise the analysis of emerging markets. He has also worked with leading education providers from across the world and presented on the future of education at several international conferences. He was appointed Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s 2015 New Year’s Honours List for services to UK-India relations.

Away from work and family, Paul writes blogs on leadership, plays tennis when he can (British weather permitting!), and tries to read as many history and politics books as his spare time will allow. He speaks English, Portuguese, Dutch, French and Hindi.


  • 2014 to 2018: Deputy High Commissioner, Malaysia
  • 2011 to 2014: Head of the Political Department, British High Commission, India
  • 2009 to 2010: Senior Programme Manager, Department for International Development, India
  • 2008 to 2009: Head of G8/G20 Team, Cabinet Office
  • 2006 to 2008: Private Secretary to the Cabinet Secretary, Lord O’Donnell
  • 2003 to 2006: Head of the Economic Department, British Embassy, Brazil
  • 2002: temporary duty, UK Mission to the United Nations, New York
  • 2001 to 2002: Desk Officer, Economic Policy Department of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office

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Director, Diplomacy 20:20

The Director is responsible for coordinating and leading a broad transformation programme aimed at making the FCO a more expert and agile organisation by 2020.

Previous roles in government

  1. Deputy Head of Mission, British High Commission Kuala Lumpur

    • 2014 to 2018


  1. Opening address of the Oxford AQA Thought Leadership Seminar at Taylors University
  2. Future Education - A Father's Perspective
  3. Human Rights: 50th Anniversary of the Adoption of ICCPR and ICESCR by UNGA
  4. Brexit And The Commonwealth: What Next? (Speech by Paul Rennie)