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Areas of Expertise:

Richard Burn has spent his career moving between the public and private sectors but always at the intersection of government and business. He has a lifelong interest in China, most recently spending three years as a British diplomat in Beijing. He also has expertise in sustainable technologies, critical minerals and the energy transition. He currently serves as a senior counselor based in APCO’s London office.

Always be humble and kind.

Prior to joining APCO, Richard was the UK’s Trade Commissioner for Europe, covering 33 countries in the EU, EFTA, the Western Balkans and Israel. Appointed to the role in May 2020, he led his Europe-based team at the UK Department for International Trade (DIT) through the Brexit transition and first three months outside the EU. Before that, he was appointed as the first British Trade Commissioner to China and Hong Kong, following the creation of DIT by Prime Minister Theresa May after the EU Referendum result in 2016.  Based in the British Embassy in Beijing, Richard led the DIT team in China across the Embassy and four Consulates-General, with responsibility for supporting UK exports, encouraging inward investment from China and tackling market access issues on behalf of UK business.

Richard has also worked as group government affairs director for Johnson Matthey plc, the global sustainable technologies company, whose innovative products and processes help the world to achieve net zero. From 2014-2016, he was global public policy director for the leading beverage alcohol company, Diageo plc, after nine years as corporate affairs director for Diageo Asia Pacific, based in Singapore. In that role, he built a regional corporate affairs network, launched a female empowerment program and negotiated the acquisition of a Chinese white spirits business in China. Before that, he was the managing director of APCO’s Asia region, having co-founded the China investment and public affairs consultancy, Batey Burn, which was acquired by APCO in 1999. During his tenure, he tripled the size of the business, leaving in 2005 to join Diageo. He started his career as a civil servant in the then-British Hong Kong Government and became private secretary to former UK Prime Minister Edward Heath, travelling widely with him to China, the United States and Europe.

Richard holds a first-class bachelor’s degree in classics (Literae Humaniores) from Oxford University.