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Sir William Patey

William Patey


Sir William Patey KCMG is a powerful, insightful and amusing public speaker who has had a distinguished career with the UK Diplomatic Service and is now pursuing a successful private sector career.

Sir William is one of the world’s leading experts on the Middle East after frontline diplomatic action in especially challenging postings. After rising through the FCO ranks with postings in Abu Dhabi, Libya and Australia, he was UK Ambassador in Sudan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and finally Afghanistan.

He has played a leading personal role in some of the most challenging diplomatic events of our times:

In Sudan he worked to achieve the 2005 comprehensive peace settlement that ended the country’s ruinous civil war. In Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein he helped bring in a new constitution and a positive inward investment regime and as Consul-General in Riyadh he helped resolve a high-profile consular case involving two British nurses charged with murder who eventually were given clemency by the Saudi King.

As Ambassador in Riyadh he worked to develop relations with Saudi Arabia across a wide spectrum of sensitive policy and trade questions.

As Ambassador in Kabul he led the UK’s largest Embassy in a difficult and dangerous environment. He played a key role when fraud was discovered at Afghanistan’s largest bank and helped bring about an outcome that met international standards and allowed a resumption of the IMF programme.

Sir William left the FCO in 2012. He advises businesses working in the Middle East, in particular the oil and gas sector, financial services and defence. He is Government and International Affairs Adviser at Control Risks and a Director at WCP Consultants and a non-executive director of HSBC Middle East and HBME. He is part of The Ambassador Partnership team.

Sir William also served as non-executive Chairman of Swindon Town Football Club from October 2012 to February 2013 when Paolo Di Canio was manager, helping steer the club to new ownership.

Sir William is a highly respected commentator on international affairs. His public and private presentations draw on his many high-level encounters with political leaders and dramatic and even dangerous policy problems. He speaks frankly and bluntly about moral and practical dilemmas, using vivid examples to make thought-provoking points that stay with audiences long after an event is over.


For availability, speaking enquiries and fees or to book William Patey contact a Specialist Speakers agent on 01455 633289 or email Specialist Speakers

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