Doug Gurr

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Doug Gurr
Doug Gurr.jpg
Douglas John Gurr

July 1964 (age 58)
EducationUniversity of Cambridge (BA)
University of Edinburgh (PhD)
TitleDirector, Natural History Museum, London
PredecessorMichael Dixon
Scientific career
ThesisSemantic frameworks for complexity (1990)
Doctoral advisorGordon Plotkin[1]

Douglas John Gurr (born July 1964) is a British businessman, and the Director of the Natural History Museum, London. He was a global vice-president and head of Amazon UK from 2016 to 2020. He is chairman of the British Heart Foundation. He formerly taught at Aarhus University and held positions in the United Kingdom civil service, at McKinsey & Co, and at Asda.

Early life and education[edit]

Gurr was born in Leeds, England, in July 1964, to parents from New Zealand, and his father was head of the English department at the University of Nairobi.[2] He was educated at the University of Cambridge[3] where he studied the Mathematical Tripos and the University of Edinburgh where he was awarded a PhD in 1990 for research on semantic frameworks using monads supervised by Gordon Plotkin.[1]


Gurr began his career as an academic teaching maths and computing at the Aarhus University in Denmark,[4] before working for the United Kingdom's Civil Service.[5]

Gurr then worked for McKinsey & Co, for six years, where he became a partner.[2][3][5] He then founded Blueheath, an internet-enabled stockless wholesaler, which was later sold to Booker Group.[3][5]

He was then a main board director of Asda.[3] He joined Amazon in 2011, and was China country manager from 2014 to 2016, before becoming UK country manager in 2016, succeeding Chris North who left to become CEO of Shutterfly.[3][6]

Gurr has been the chairman of the British Heart Foundation since 2015, and a non-executive director of the UK government's Department for Work and Pensions.[3][6][7] He is also a trustee[8] of the Landmark Trust.[9]

In July 2018, Gurr received widespread attention for his claim that a no-deal Brexit could lead to civil unrest "within two weeks".[10][11]

Gurr was appointed as Director of the Natural History Museum, London in 2020.[12]

As of 2021, he is a Non-Executive Director of the Department of Health and Social Care, with 'responsibility for the union'.[13][14]

From 1st July 2022, Gurr was appointed the new Chair of the Board of Trustees of The Alan Turing Institute, the UK's national institute for data science and artificial intelligence. [15]

Personal life[edit]

Gurr is married, with two children, and lives in London and Yorkshire.[7][16] He is a former Scottish international triathlete, and a keen ski mountaineer.[4][17]


  1. ^ a b Gurr, Douglas John (1990). Semantic frameworks for complexity (PhD thesis). University of Edinburgh. hdl:1842/13968. OCLC 475827463. EThOS icon of an open green padlock
  2. ^ a b "From the Arctic to the Amazon: a Leeds polyglot expanding Bezos' reach". 17 November 2017. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Doug Gurr". Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Dr Doug Gurr – Speakers for Schools". Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  5. ^ a b c "Dr. Doug Gurr". Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  6. ^ a b Butler, Sarah (27 April 2016). "Former Asda director takes helm of Amazon's UK operations". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Board of Trustees British Heart Foundation". Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  8. ^ "Dr. Doug Gurr". Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  9. ^ en:Landmark_Trust, oldid 898127973[circular reference]
  10. ^ "No-deal Brexit could spark civil unrest 'within two weeks' warns UK head of Amazon". 23 July 2018. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  11. ^ "Amazon reportedly issued a dark warning about Brexit in a private meeting with the UK government". Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  12. ^ "Doug Gurr appointed new Director". Natural History Museum, London. 18 June 2020. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  13. ^ "Doug Gurr". Retrieved 31 October 2021.
  14. ^ "At least 16 Tory allies given paid 'independent' roles in government". openDemocracy. Retrieved 31 October 2021.
  15. ^ "Dr Douglas Gurr appointed Chair of The Alan Turing Institute". The Alan Turing Institute. Retrieved 14 July 2022.
  16. ^ "Londoner's Diary: Bog standard delivery haunts Amazon's chief". London Evening Standard. 26 July 2017. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  17. ^ Gurr, Doug; Roberts, Barry (2012). Staying alive off piste. ISBN 978-1468150490. OCLC 875175467.
Cultural offices
Preceded by Director of the Natural History Museum