Bill Emmott is an independent writer, lecturer and consultant on international affairs, based in Oxford and Somerset. He was Editor of The Economist, the world's leading weekly magazine on current affairs and business, from 1993 until 2006. Now he is chairman of The Wake Up Foundation, a charity dedicated to education and communication about the decline of western societies which he co-founded in 2013 with an Italian film-maker, Annalisa Piras. In 2016 the Japanese government awarded him the “Order of the Rising Sun: Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon” for services to UK-Japan relations. His next book will be “The Fate of the West: The Decline and Revival of the World's Most Successful Political Idea", to be published in April/May 2017 by Profile Books in the UK, Public Affairs in the USA and Nikkei Books in Japan.
Born in London and educated at Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith, Bill studied politics, philosophy and economics at Magdalen College, Oxford in 1975-78, and then moved to Nuffield College to do postgraduate research into the French Communist party's spell in government in 1944-47.
Before completing that, however, in 1980 he joined The Economist's Brussels office, writing about EEC affairs and the Benelux countries. In 1982 he became the paper's economics correspondent in London and the following year moved to Tokyo to cover Japan and South Korea. In mid-1986 he returned to London as the finance editor and in January 1989 he became business affairs editor, responsible for all the paper's coverage of business, finance and science. He was appointed Editor in March 1993. When he left in March 2006, The Economist's circulation was almost 1.1m worldwide, having more than doubled in the previous 13 years. (As of 2016, the worldwide circulation had surpassed 1.6m.)
Bill has published thirteen books, a list of which can be found here.
The first he co-wrote with Rupert Pennant-Rea "The Pocket Economist", part of The Economist series of pocket guides, which was published by Blackwell's in 1983.
Eight of Bill's books have been on Japan, with six of those published only in Japanese translation. In 1989 "The Sun Also Sets: the limits to Japan's economic power", was a bestseller in Japanese, with more than 300,000 copies sold.
"Rivals: How the Power Struggle between China, India and Japan will Shape our Next Decade", was published in 2008 and was shortlisted for the Lionel Gelber prize for books on international affairs and for the Duke of Westminster Medal for books on military history.
Then in October 2010, "Forza, Italia: Come ripartire dopo Berlusconi", was published in October 2010 by Rizzoli in Italian translation only. It depicted his journey to find La Buona Italia, as distinct from La Mala Italia, and to see what can be done to unleash more of the good. This was then revised, updated and expanded for English and other markets, under the title "Good Italy, Bad Italy", published in 2012 by Yale University Press in Britain and America, and by PHP in Japan.
In partnership with Annalisa Piras as director and co-author and him as narrator, they then made a documentary feature film on Italy, “Girlfriend in a Coma”. It was broadcast on BBC Four, Sky Italia, La7, and numerous European TV channels, as well as in public screenings all over the world, and has been seen by more than one-and-a-half million people.
In 2014-15 Annalisa Piras directed, produced and wrote a documentary about the crisis in the European Union, “The Great European Disaster Movie”, for which Bill acted as Executive Producer. The film was broadcast by BBC4, Arte, NHK, SvT, ORF, and many other European broadcasters. The Wake Up Foundation then took non-exclusive educational rights to the film in order to offer it free of charge to anyone wanting to host a debate about the future of Europe, in a project called Wake Up Europe.
Bill writes regular columns on international affairs for La Stampa in Italy, Nikkei Business in Japan, and Project Syndicate, and has also written frequently for The Times, Prospect and the Financial Times in Britain. In 2003, Bill was chosen by a jury of senior Italian journalists as the winner of the "È giornalismo" ("This is journalism") award, the first time that a foreigner had been given this prestigious Italian journalism prize. In 2006-07, Bill received four journalism awards in Britain: a special award from the Wincott Foundation; the "business journalist of the year" award from the London Press Club; the "decade of excellence" award from the World Leadership Forum's business journalism awards programme; and a "lifetime achievement" award from the Work Foundation. In 2009 he received the Gerald Loeb "lifetime achievement" award, a prestigious American business journalism awards programme organised by the Anderson School of Management at UCLA.
Bill Emmott was chairman of the trustees of the London Library from 2009-15; was group economic adviser for Stonehage Fleming, a fund manager, in 2011-15; was a trustee of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in 2009-15. He rejoined the IISS board in November 2016, and became a member of the advisory board of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism in Oxford in the same year. He is a member of Swiss Re’s Panel of Advisors; a member of the President's Council of the University of Tokyo; a Visiting Professor at Shujitsu University in Okayama, Japan; a Visiting Fellow in Practice at the Blavatnik School of Government in Oxford; a member of the All Nippon Airways UK advisory panel; and a member of the senior advisory panel of Critical Resource, a consultancy.
Bill was a board director of The Economist Group from 1993 until 2006, was a non-executive director of Development Consultants International, a Dublin-based company, from 2006-09, was an outside director of eAccess, a Japanese mobile telecoms company in 2009-10 and was chairman of Peerindex, an internet start-up, from 2010-13.
He has honorary degrees from Warwick and City universities in Britain and Northwestern University in America, and is an honorary fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford.
Born in 1956, Bill is married to Carol. They live in Somerset and Oxford with their three dogs.