Tony Leon is a senior advisor at K2 Intelligence. In his advisory role, Tony draws upon his deep understanding of the interplay between the private sector and the local and national government to support clients across a range of sectors in leading traditional and emerging markets. He is based in Cape Town and regularly spends time in London and New York.
Tony is an award-winning author, noted speaker and consultant, and has had two highly successful careers in both frontline South African politics and international diplomacy.
For nearly 20 years, Tony was a member of parliament in South Africa, and for 13 years he led the Democratic Alliance. He is the longest-serving leader of the opposition in parliament since the advent of democracy in South Africa in April 1994.
A trained lawyer, Tony actively participated in the critical constitutional negotiations that led to the birth of a democratic South Africa. He has been at the forefront of national and international events, both as a front-ranking parliamentarian and renowned orator and writer and as a vice president of Liberal International. He has addressed many international conferences, institutes, and think tanks, including the Council on Foreign Relations and the Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House), London; the German Council on Foreign Relations, Berlin; the European Parliament, Brussels; and the World Economic Forum, New York.
Tony has published four critically acclaimed books and has been widely published in academic journals and in the media.
After standing down from the leadership of the opposition in 2007, he was awarded a Fellowship at the Institute of Politics, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
On the nomination of President Jacob Zuma, he served as South African Ambassador to Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay, based as head of mission in Buenos Aires, from 2012 to 2015. In February 2015, on the occasion of its 90th anniversary, Rotary Club of Durban awarded him the Paul Harris Fellowship “in appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world.”
Nelson Mandela said of Tony Leon, on his retirement from political leadership (2007): “Your contribution to democracy is enormous; you have more support for all you have done than you might ever read about.”
Tony received his LL.B. and B.A. from the University of the Witwatersrand. He is a qualified attorney.