Sir Julian King was the UK’s EU Commissioner 2016-19, responsible for EU policy on security, cyber and important aspects of tech and data. He was previously UK Ambassador to Paris and Dublin, headed the Northern Ireland Office, and has 30 years of experience working on international and multilateral issues in the UK, the US and Brussels.
You were the last British EU Commissioner, why did you choose Flint for your next step?
It was time for a change. After 30 years working on international policy delivery, I’d spent 3 years proposing, negotiating, passing European legislation, and then working with Governments, business and civic society on its implementation. I wanted to try something new, but I was – am – still deeply interested in how politics, policy and implementation work. I knew Flint’s reputation for working on these issues, including the effective delivery of policy and regulation. So, it looked like a good fit. I’m glad it worked out.
How does your experience help in your role as a Flint Senior Adviser?
It helps, I hope, to navigate these extraordinary times. Covid may have slowed aspects of our private and social lives, but in other respects the world is still speeding up, including for many businesses. There are the obvious things: Brexit fallout, Biden’s arrival, the reassessment of China. Covid itself and how we think about health. New momentum on tackling climate change. And underpinning much of this, the way tech is changing all our lives, personal and professional. Business is having to deal with a lot, at the same time as coming out of the lockdown, looking to the future. UK business is going to have to deal with new regulation, divergence across different markets, in Europe and beyond, and new international standards. Flint can help. And Flint’s Senior Advisers, spread out across Europe, covering the major countries and markets, bring their different national and international experience and well established networks. I do think it makes a difference to have worked inside the different political, policy and regulatory systems. It means the Senior Advisers can help, with the rest of the Flint team, bring a new perspective to working through issues, including the European and international dimensions.
How have you found your first months at Flint?
The welcome was great. Given the way Flint has grown, I’m really impressed, by how smoothly it runs, from the induction for newbies, through to including you into teams, working with clients and developing business. It’s partly about having the right systems in place, but it’s even more about the people. I’ve worked in a lot of different organisations and environments, in London, in Brussels and elsewhere: Flint works. You manage to integrate really effectively a diverse group of people, from different backgrounds, with different experience, from different countries. Getting the best out of working together. And, as Covid constraints gradually lift, we might even be able to get together in the same place…
Flint’s senior advisers have worked at the most senior levels in national governments, the European Commission, regulatory agencies, competition bodies and the private sector. Over the coming months, we will be interviewing all of the senior advisers in our network to find out more about their experience and expertise.