Martin Davidson

Former Chief Executive of the British Council


Martin Davidson took up the role as Chief Executive in April 2007, having been Deputy Director General since September 2005. Martin's commitment to international relationships has been a constant feature of his career, since as a young English graduate he went to Hong Kong as Administrative Officer, taking the high-level decisions on the running of a town of a million people. When he joined the British Council as Assistant Representative in Beijing in 1984, British Council China was an operation of 6 people working in a converted bicycle shed at the British Embassy. In those days it was illegal for a Chinese national to speak to a foreigner.   Martin played a pivotal part in building this fledgling presence up to its present strength of more than 230 people in four state-of-the-art offices. Martin himself was responsible for opening the South China office in Guangzhou and returned to Beijing in 1995 as Director of an operation fast establishing a reputation in an environment where understanding the Chinese way of working is fundamental. He speaks both Cantonese and Mandarin.   He has also held various posts in the British Council's Geographical Directorate with responsibilities that have included South East Europe, in a particularly troubled time in the region's history, the Middle East, East Asia and the Americas. Martin was born in Lowestoft in 1955. He graduated with an honours MA in English Language and Literature from St Andrew's University. He is married with 3 children.

Martin Davidson was a Counsellor at One Young World Summits: 2010 in London.