John is Former Chief Executive of Middlesbrough Council where he established Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA), and former Chief Executive of Wakefield Council. During his time at Wakefield, John was a key force behind many major regeneration projects planned for the city, including The Hepworth Wakefield, designed by David Chipperfield. John became Chief Executive of Islington Council in June 2008 and in the same year was awarded a CBE for Services to Local Government. He is a collector with a strong interest in ceramics.
He has been a YSP trustee since 2010 and has Chaired the Finance & General Purposes committee since 2012.