External Affairs

Alex Ellis Appointed New British High Commissioner to India

The 53-year-old British civil servant will succeed Sir Philip Barton.

London: Alex Ellis, a British strategic expert, will take charge as the new UK high commissioner to India, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) announced on Tuesday.

The 53-year-old civil servant has been serving as deputy national security adviser in the UK cabinet office for the government’s integrated review on diplomacy, development and defence.

In his New Delhi-based role, he will succeed Sir Philip Barton, who moved back to the UK last year to take charge of the newly-expanded FCDO as its permanent under secretary.

“Mr Alex Ellis CMG has been appointed British High Commissioner to the Republic of India in succession to Sir Philip Barton KCMG OBE. Mr Ellis will take up his appointment during January 2021,” the FCDO said in a statement.

Ellis is described as having extensive experience in security issues and strategy, including as director-general responsible for the UK and European Union (EU) security partnership, international agreements with the UK’s closest partners and domestic and EU engagement on Brexit in the erstwhile department for exiting the European Union (DExEU).

He has also served as British Ambassador to Brazil between 2013 and 2017 and as ambassador to Portugal between 2007 and 2010. Ellis was also director of strategy in the foreign office, responsible for developing new tools for improving FCO and government policy.

As a member of the cabinet of the president of the European Commission, he had responsibility for energy, climate change, competition, development, trade and strategy; and before that in the UK representation to the EU working on the negotiations to establish the euro, the seven-year budget, and then institutional issues including the Treaty of Nice.

Ellis has also worked in the British embassy in Madrid, Spain, and started his civil service career as part of the team supporting the transition to multi-party democracy in South Africa, following the release of Nelson Mandela.

Prior to his civil service work, he was a history teacher and his other interests include singing in a choir, music, theatre and sports.

He is married to Teresa Adegas, and they have one son, Tomàs, who has Asperger’s Syndrome.