Peter Heap grew up and went to school in Bristol, did his military service largely in West Africa, and studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Merton College, Oxford, before joining Britain's diplomatic service.
His overseas assignments in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office included Dublin, Ottawa, Colombo, and Caracas. He was Deputy Director General of British Information Services in New York, Deputy High Commissioner in Lagos, and High Commissioner in the Bahamas. He was Senior Trade Commissioner in Hong Kong and concurrently Consul General to Macau, and was Ambassador to Brazil. His home assignments in London included spells covering West Africa, Vietnam, and Defence and he was head of the Energy Science and Space Department.
On leaving the foreign service he has filled a variety of roles in the private sector which have included Advisor to the Board of HSBC Investment Bank, Consultant/Advisor with Amerada Hess plc, Chairman of Regal Petroleum, and Chairman of Moorgate Capital. Other activities have included Chairing the Brazilian Chamber of Commerce in the UK, Chairing the Friends of Sri Lanka Association, and founding the Friends of the Bahamas.