David Puttnam spent thirty years as an independent producer of award-winning films including The Mission, The Killing Fields, Local Hero, Chariots of Fire, Midnight Express, Bugsy Malone and Memphis Belle. His films have won ten Academy Awards, 25 Baftas and the Palme D'Or at Cannes. From 1994 to 2004 he was Vice President and Chair of Trustees at the British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA) and was awarded a BAFTA Fellowship in 2006.
He retired from film production in 1998 to focus on his work in public policy as it relates to education, the environment, and the creative and communications industries.
David was awarded a CBE in 1982, a knighthood in 1995, and was appointed to the House of Lords in 1997. In France he was made a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in 1985, becoming an Officer in 1992, and a Commander in 2006.
In 1998 he founded the National Teaching Awards, which he chaired until 2008, also serving as the first Chair of the General Teaching Council from 2000 to 2002. From July 2002 to July 2009 he was president of UNICEF UK, engaging with issues as diverse as water security and child trafficking.