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The Rt Hon Lord Mandelson

First Secretary of State, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills and Lord President of the Council


Holds overall responsibility for the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills and its policies.


Peter Mandelson was appointed Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) following the creation of the new Department on 5 June 2009, when he was also appointed First Secretary of State, and Lord President of the Council.

He was born in 1953, and studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at St Catherine’s College, Oxford. As a young man he lived in Tanzania for a year, an experience which formed life-long impressions of Africa and the challenges of fighting poverty. A life-long pro-European, he led the British delegation to the first ever meeting of the European Communities Youth Forum in Strasbourg in 1979.

After working as an economist at the Trades Union Congress and as a current affairs TV producer, Peter Mandelson was later appointed Labour Party Director for Campaigns and Communications in 1985.

In 1992 he was elected as member of parliament for the constituency of Hartlepool. He served until his appointment to the European Commission in 2004.

He was appointed to the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in 1998, where he was responsible for the introduction of the National Minimum Wage and overseeing new measures to strengthen regional development through the creation of Regional Development Agencies. During his tenure, he also published the Government’s Competitiveness White Paper – “Building the Knowledge-Driven Economy”.

In 1999 he was appointed Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Between 1999 and 2001 he negotiated the creation of Northern Ireland’s power sharing government and the IRA’s announcement that they planned to put their arms beyond use. He also introduced the radical overhaul of the police service in Northern Ireland.

He is honorary Chair of Policy Network, a European and international think tank whose journal and conferences promote the exchange and debate of centre-left policy ideas and European social democratic thinking. He was UK chairman of the UK-Japan 21st Century Group, which brings together leading academics, politicians and business people. He has travelled widely and has lectured throughout Europe, in Asia and the United States.

He was EU Commissioner for Trade from 2004 to 2008 and was appointed Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform on 3 October 2008.