François Heisbourg

Chairman IISS,

Chairman, GCSP,

Special Advisor, FRS

Since 1998 Professor François Heisbourg has been Chairman of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. In 2001 he became Director of the Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique, Paris, and has served since 2005 as their Special Advisor. In addition to his role as a Trustee, Prof. Heisbourg was appointed Chairman of the IISS Council in September 2001.


Prof. Heisbourg began his career in the Policy Planning division of the French Foreign Ministry and was subsequently First Secretary at the French Permanent Mission to the UN (New York) and a security advisor to the Minister of Defence. In 1984 he moved into the private sector as Vice President at Thomson-CSF, serving as Director of the IISS in 1987, before joining MATRA-Defense-Espace as Senior Vice President in 1992. He has worked on several French national security and defence white papers and served on several international commissions, including on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament (2008–2010), the Balkans (2004–2006), and the European Commission’s Group of Personalities on Security Research and Development (2003–2004). Prof. Heisbourg is a frequent commentator in academic and general media and has contributed to a number of books on foreign and strategic affairs. His latest book is Comment Perdre la Guerre Contre le Terrorisme (How to Lose the War against Terrorism) (2016).