John Beard was appointed as the Chief Political Agent of Bengal presidency on 17 July 1684 and was preceded by William Hedges. The Bengal Presidency was one of the 3 major Presidencies in British India, along with Bombay Presidency and Madras Presidency. It was originally comprised east and west Bengal and was a colonial region of the British Empire in India. The region included the territories of undivided Bengal like West Bengal, Tripura, Orissa, Meghalaya, Bihar, Assam and modern Bangladesh. The Bengal Presidency proper was formed with the signing of the treaties of 1765 between the Nawab of Oudh, the Mughal Emperor and the authorities of the British East India Company. As a result of this the regions of Orissa, Bihar, Meghalaya and Bengal were placed under the administrative control of the British East India Company.
Unlike the British Provinces of Bombay and Madras, Bengal Presidency included the British territories located towards the north of the Central Provinces (now Madhya Pradesh), from the openings of the river Brahmaputra and the Ganges River. It also incorporated areas in British Punjab and the Himalayas as well. Beard served in the position till 1685 and was succeeded by Job Charnock. Later in 1698, he was again assigned to serve as Chief Agent of Bengal. Sir John Beard was preceded by Charles Eyre and held office till December 1699.
On 7 January 1701, Beard was appointed as the President of Bengal Presidency and succeeded Charles Eyre. He served in office as the President of the province of Bengal till the year 1705. Edward Littleton, another illustrious British administrator, succeeded him as the President of Bengal.