General Counsel and Senior Advisor
John is General Counsel and Senior Adviser to Shift, an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that is chaired by Harvard Kennedy School Professor John Ruggie, the author of the UN Guiding Principles on Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and former UN Special Representative of the Secretary General on Business and Human Rights. Shift is staffed by former members of Prof. Ruggie’s UN team, who helped him draft and shape the Guiding Principles.
As a member of Prof. Ruggie’s team, John drew on his legal and business experience, to focus on the integration of human rights due diligence into existing corporate governance, enterprise risk management, compliance and ethics, safety and environmental management, and dispute resolution systems.
At Shift, John advises multinational companies, trade associations, and other institutions on their alignment with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In addition, John heads Shift’s Legal Outreach Initiative, whose purpose is to implement the Guiding Principles into the legal profession by advising and training law firms, in house law departments, and law societies and bar associations.
John retired in 2008 as Deputy General Counsel of National Grid, where he was in charge of litigation, environmental, and safety law in the US. He also had executive responsibilities for compliance and ethics, corporate governance, enterprise risk management, safety and environmental auditing, and corporate social responsibility.
At National Grid, he represented the company at the Business Leaders Initiative on Human Rights (BLIHR), an industry-led group of sixteen major multinational companies whose aim was to put human rights on the global business agenda.
John is a Senior Program Fellow at the CSR Initiative of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at the Harvard Kennedy School, a member of the UN Global Compact Human Rights Working Group, and an Executive Fellow at the Center for Business Ethics at Bentley University. John is a former co-chair of the Corporate Social Responsibility Committee of the International Bar Association and a former member of the Executive Advisory Board of the International Institute of Conflict Prevention and Dispute Resolution.
Prior to joining National Grid, John clerked for the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, and practiced antitrust and commercial law at a Boston law firm. John is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Dartmouth College, and lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, USA.