Philippe Legrain is the founder of OPEN. He is an independent thinker, communicator and political entrepreneur who is a passionate believer in openness. Three big things define his wide-ranging career: trying to understand how the world works; communicating this to a wider audience; and trying to make the world a better place. Through his work, writing and media appearances, he has been at the heart of many big debates of the past 15 years – globalisation, international migration, the financial crisis, the euro and Brexit – from a variety of vantage points:
- studying economics and international political economy at the London School of Economics and returning there as visiting fellow at the European Institute (2007-10) and now as a senior visiting fellow since 2014;
- as a journalist (at The Economist), editor and commentator for a wide range of international media outlets and currently a columnist for Project Syndicate, Foreign Policy and CapX;
- as a senior policy and media adviser (to World Trade Organisation Director-General Mike Moore) and as independent economic adviser to European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and head of the team that provided him with fresh thinking and strategic policy advice (2011-14);
- as a political campaigner; and
- as an independent writer, consultant and public speaker.
- Open World: The Truth about Globalisation (2002), which defended free trade but warned of the dangers of unfettered finance, was described as “wonderfully lucid and intelligent” by Martin Wolf, chief economics commentator of the Financial Times;
- Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them (2007), was shortlisted for the FT Business Book of the Year award;
- Aftershock: Reshaping the World Economy After the Crisis (2010) attracted the attention of President Barroso and persuaded him to hire Philippe;
- European Spring: Why Our Economies and Politics are in a Mess – and How to Put Them Right (2014), was described as “essential reading” by the Financial Times and was among its Best Books of 2014.