David Puttnam is the chair of Atticus Education, an online education company based in Ireland. Atticus delivers interactive seminars on film and a variety of other subjects to educational institutions around the world.
David spent thirty years as an independent producer of award-winning films including The Mission, The Killing Fields, Local Hero, Chariots of Fire, Midnight Express, Bugsy Malone and The Memphis Belle. His films have won ten Oscars, 25 Baftas and the Palme D’Or at Cannes. From 1994 to 2004 he was Vice President and Chair of Trustees at the British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA) and in 2006 was awarded the BAFTA Fellowship.
He retired from film production in 1998 to focus on his work in public policy as it relates to education, the environment, and the creative and communications industries.
In 1998 he founded the National Teaching Awards, which he chaired until 2008, also serving as the first Chair of the General Teaching Council from 2000 to 2002. From July 2002 to July 2009 he was president of UNICEF UK, playing a key role in developing UNICEF’s education and child trafficking programs. In October 2013 David stepped down as Chancellor of the Open University a post he was appointed to in 2006, following ten years as Chancellor of The University of Sunderland.
He is Digital Champion for Ireland, President of the Film Distributors’ Association, Chairman of the TSL Advisory Board, a member of Accenture's Irish Advisory Board, a Trustee of Science Gallery, Dublin, a UNICEF Ambassador and Adjunct Professor of Film And Digital Humanities at University College Cork.
He was Deputy Chairman of Channel 4 Television from 2006 until January 2012, and Chairman of North Music Trust (The Sage Gateshead) from 2007 until November 2012.
He was founding Chair of the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) and chaired both the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television and the National Film and Television School for ten years. He has also served as a trustee of the Tate Gallery, the Science Museum, the Thomson Foundation and a number of other organizations.
In 2007 he was appointed Chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Climate Change Bill, having performed the same role on the 2002 Communications Bill.
He has been Chairman of two Hansard Society Commission Reports on the relationship between Parliament and the Public, and has served as a non-executive director on a number of public companies.
David was awarded a CBE in 1982, a knighthood in 1995 and was appointed to the House of Lords in 1997. In France he was made a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in 1985, becoming an Officer in 1992, and a Commander in 2006. He has been the recipient of 44 honorary degrees from Universities in the UK and overseas.
For the past four years he has served as the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.