Lord Puttnam of Queensgate CBE spent 30 years as an independent producer of award-winning films including The Mission, The Killing Fields, Local Hero, Chariots of Fire (which won the Academy Award for Best Picture), Midnight Express, Bugsy Malone and Memphis Belle. From 1994 to 2004 he was vice president and chair of trustees at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and was awarded a BAFTA Fellowship in 2006. He retired from film production in 1998 to focus on his work in education and the environment.
David Puttnam founded the National Teaching Awards in 1998 which he chaired until 2008, 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 playing a key role in promoting UNICEF's advocacy, awareness and fundraising objectives.
David was awarded a CBE in 1982, a knighthood in 1995 and was appointed to the House of Lords in 1997. In France he became Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in 1985, an Officer in 1992 and a Commander in 2006.
David Puttnam was the first chancellor of the University of Sunderland from 1997 until 13 July 2007 – and was granted the Freedom of the City of Sunderland upon his retirement. David is now chancellor of the Open University, president of the Film Distributors' Association, chairman of Futurelab, chairman of North Music Trust, deputy chairman of Channel Four, deputy chairman of Profero and a trustee of the Eden Project. He was founding chair of the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) and chaired the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television. He has served as a trustee of the Tate Gallery and the Science Museum.