General secretary of Unite the Union, Amicus SectionTuesday 12 February 2008
Derek Simpson left school in Sheffield at 15 to become an apprentice in a local engineering firm.
He comes from a traditional union background and soon became involved in the AEU union, attending the engineering union's youth conference.
He quickly became a shop steward, then a convenor before being elected the union's Sheffield district secretary in 1981.
He took office as General Secretary of AMICUS AEEU and Joint General Secretary of AMICUS the union in December 2002.
He is a member of the TUC Executive Committee and chairs the TUC manufacturing task group.
A keen chess player, he enjoys listening to all types of music and has an Open University degree in mathematics and computers.