In the news

September 3, 1999

'He is "an inveterate user of contacts" with a sharp eye for people in positions of power and for his own and his organisation's profile' David Green's first work for the British Council, of which he recently became director-general, landed him in an Afghan jail. As an 18-year-old volunteer teacher in Pakistan, he agreed, with a friend, to bring a car over from Kabul for a British Council employee. The car was stopped, found to contain none of the relevant paperwork and the young Green spent a night in a cell.

If rumours are to be believed, working for the council was hardly a more comfortable experience for his predecessor, David Drewry, who left after just ten months amid allegations of disagreements with chairwoman Helena Kennedy. But Green, 50, is said to relate well to people and likely to be good at handling office politics if necessary.

He is described as "not a high octane person" and no master of the soundbite or macho management style, but an excellent planner, courteous to staff, allowing them scope to do their own thing, and possessing natural authority.

At the same time he is also "an inveterate user of contacts" with a sharp eye for people in positions of power and for his own and his organisation's profile.

After secondary school at The Leys public school in Cambridge, he became one of the first volunteers with Voluntary Service Overseas for a year before taking a teacher training course at Keswick Hall College, Norwich, and a BEd at Trinity Hall, Cambridge.

For five years, he taught art at state schools in South Yorkshire, then, after a further period in Pakistan, became director of Children's Relief International, which ran schemes for disadvantaged young people.

When this merged with the Save the Children Fund in 1979, he worked his way up the larger charity, becoming a deputy director, before going to VSO as director in 1990.

Spurred on in his work by idealism and interest in other peoples and cultures, he is also a family man and a keen painter.

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