Born in 1964, John Swinney joined the Scottish National Party in 1979 and went on to graduate from Edinburgh University with an MA (Hons) in Politics. He has worked for the Scottish Coal Project, Development Options and Scottish Amicable.
Prior to his election as Westminster MP for North Tayside in 1997, he held a number of posts in the SNP at local and national level. In 1999, he became the MSP for North Tayside, remaining as the constituency's MP until standing down from Westminster at the 2001 General Election.
Having served as the SNP's depute leader since 1998 he became leader in 2000. After relinquishing his post in 2004, Mr Swinney became convener of the Scottish Parliament's European and External Relations Committee.
He was re-elected as an MSP at the 2007 Scottish Parliament election and appointed Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth. Following the elections to the Scottish Parliament in May 2011, he was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth.
As of November 2014, he became Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution and the Economy.
In May 2016, he was re-appointed Deputy First Minister, is currently Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills.
John has three children and is married to Elizabeth Quigley. He lives near Blairgowrie in his constituency and his hobbies include running, cycling and hill walking.