List of G8 leaders
This is a list of the heads of government of the Group of 8 nations at each G6, G7, G8 summit since the organisation's inception in 1975. The Group consists of the 6-7-8 largest industrialized democracies, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Also in attendance is the President of the European Commission, who represents the European Union. The G8 holds an annual summit, which each nation's head of government attends. Each year the heads of government take turns assuming the presidency, whose job it is to set the agenda for and host the annual summit. The leader who has been in office the longest of the eight leaders is considered the Senior G8 leader.
While the current G8 consists of eight nations, it didn't always. The group was formed as the Group of Six, G6, including all of today's members minus Canada. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Canada joined in the second year of the group's existence, 1976, forming the Group of Seven, G7. Russia, as the successor nation to the USSR, joined the group in 1997, following the collapse of its Communist predecessor, under the leadership of President Boris Yeltsin. As of 2019, Russia is currently suspended from the Group of 8.
Chronology of longest serving G7 Leaders
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The following is a chronology of senior G7 leaders from the founding of the G6 (a precursor organization to the G8) to the present.
|Entered office as
Head of State
|Began time as
senior G8 leader
|Ended time as
senior G8 leader
|16 October 1964||15 November 1975||5 April 1976||142 days||Harold Wilson||Prime Minister of the United Kingdom|
|16 May 1974||5 April 1976||27 June 1976||83 days||Helmut Schmidt||Chancellor of West Germany|
|20 April 1968||27 June 1976||4 June 1979||2 years, 342 days||Pierre Trudeau||Prime Minister of Canada|
|16 May 1974||4 June 1979||3 March 1980||273 days||Helmut Schmidt||Chancellor of West Germany|
|20 April 1968||3 March 1980||30 June 1984||4 years, 119 days||Pierre Trudeau||Prime Minister of Canada|
|4 May 1979||30 June 1984||28 November 1990||6 years, 151 days||Margaret Thatcher||Prime Minister of the United Kingdom|
|10 May 1981||28 November 1990||17 May 1995||4 years, 170 days||François Mitterrand||President of France|
|1 October 1982||17 May 1995||27 October 1998||3 years, 163 days||Helmut Kohl||Chancellor of Germany|
|10 July 1991||27 October 1998||31 December 1999||1 year, 65 days||Boris Yeltsin||President of Russia|
|20 January 1993||31 December 1999||20 January 2001||1 year, 20 days||Bill Clinton||President of the United States|
|4 November 1993||20 January 2001||12 December 2003||2 years, 326 days||Jean Chrétien||Prime Minister of Canada|
|17 May 1995||12 December 2003||16 May 2007||3 years, 155 days||Jacques Chirac||President of France|
|2 May 1997||16 May 2007||27 June 2007||42 days||Tony Blair||Prime Minister of the United Kingdom|
|7 May 2000||27 June 2007||7 May 2008||315 days||Vladimir Putin||President of Russia|
|20 January 2001||7 May 2008||20 January 2009||258 days||George W. Bush||President of the United States|
|10 May 1994||20 January 2009||16 November 2011||2 years, 300 days||Silvio Berlusconi||Prime Minister of Italy|
|22 November 2005||16 November 2011||7 May 2012||173 days||Angela Merkel||Chancellor of Germany|
|7 May 2000||7 May 2012||24 March 2014||1 year, 321 days||Vladimir Putin||President of Russia|
|22 November 2005||24 March 2014||Incumbent||5 years, 147 days||Angela Merkel||Chancellor of Germany|
- The longest period anyone has been the senior G7 leader is the six years, 151 days of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Margaret Thatcher, who was Prime Minister for eleven years.
- The shortest period any past G7 leader has been the senior G7 leader is the 42 days of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair in 2007.
- Despite the fact that Japan was a founding member of the G6 (which later became the G7, and then the G8), no Japanese Prime Minister has ever become the Senior G7 Leader.
- Except for Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Harold Wilson, the first person to be Senior G7 Leader, no past Senior G7 Leader has held office for less than eight years.
- Silvio Berlusconi currently holds the record of G8 Summit hosting, having hosted it in Italy three times.
- Okita was actually Foreign Minister at the time, filling in for Prime Minister Ōhira, who died 10 days before the conference began.
- Canada did not join the organization until 1976 while Russia did not join until 1997. Therefore, Canadian leaders prior to 1976 and Russian leaders before 1997 are not included in this list.
- Wilson first served as Prime Minister from 16 October 1964 to 19 June 1970, and then again from 4 March 1974 to 5 April 1976.
- Canada joined the organization on this date. Trudeau had been in office longer than any of the other leaders and so took the title of senior G8 leader from Schmidt.
- Trudeau first served as Prime Minister from 20 April 1968 to 4 June 1979, and then again from 3 March 1980 to 30 June 1984.
- Berlusconi first served as Prime Minister from 10 May 1994 to 17 January 1995, then again from 11 June 2001 to 17 May 2006, and then again from 8 May 2008 to 16 November 2011.
- Putin first served as President of Russia from 2000 to 2008.