Gus O'Donnell served Prime Ministers Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron as Cabinet Secretary and Head of Civil Service from 2005 to 2011. He stood down from this position at the end of 2011 and was appointed to the House of Lords in January 2012. He played a leading role in the preparations for the 2010 election, which eventually resulted in the formation of the UK's first coalition government since the Second World War. He was awarded the CB, KCB and GCB for his services to government.
Prior to his role as Cabinet Secretary, Lord O'Donnell served as Permanent Secretary of the UK Treasury from 2002 -2005 and as Press Secretary to Prime Minister John Major from 1990-1994 .
From 1997-98, he was the UK Executive Director on the boards of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Lord O'Donnell spent most of his career with HM Treasury. In 1999 he was appointed Managing Director of Macroeconomic Policy and International Finance and was responsible for fiscal policy, international development, and European Union Economic and Monetary Union. During this period, he oversaw the production of the 'fve tests' analysis for whether the UK should join the Euro.
He studied Economics at Warwick University and then Nuffield College, Oxford, before lecturing in political economy at the University of Glasgow. He has honorary doctorates from Warwick and Glasgow Universities.