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Appointment of the new Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6)

Foreign Secretary announces Alex Younger as the next Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service. 

With the agreement of the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary announced last week that Alex Younger has been appointed as successor to Sir John Sawers as Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service. Alex will take up his appointment next month.

Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond said:

I am pleased to announce that Alex Younger has been appointed as the next Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service. The work of SIS is world-class, and its operation vital to the safety and security of the United Kingdom. Alex brings a wealth of relevant experience including his work in Afghanistan and helping keep the country safe during the London 2012 Olympics. I’d also like to thank Sir John Sawers for his strong leadership, and personal commitment to a modernising agenda. I wish him well for the future.

Alex Younger, commenting on his appointment, said:

I am delighted and honoured to become Chief of SIS and lead one of the best intelligence agencies in the world. Our dedicated staff work tirelessly against an array of threats that this country faces. They do so in close partnership with both MI5 and GCHQ with whom I am looking forward to co-operating closely.

I would like to pay tribute to John Sawers for his lifetime’s dedication to the country and particularly to his time as C. He brought us into a new era, and I am determined to build on this and bring my ideas for a modern Service to life.

Sir John Sawers said:

I’m delighted that my colleague and friend is taking over from me. He has played a vital part alongside me in modernising SIS and ensuring that the Service is in the best possible shape to play our part in defending the country’s security and our values.


Alex Younger is a career SIS officer and has been in the Service since 1991.

For the last two years he has been overseeing the Service’s intelligence operations worldwide. He has had overseas postings in Europe and the Middle East and was the senior SIS officer in Afghanistan.

He has filled a variety of operational roles in London, including leading the Service’s work on counter terrorism in the three years running up to the Olympic Games.

Before joining the Service, Alex was an officer in the British Army. He is an economics graduate.

Outside of SIS, Alex enjoys music, sailing and mountaineering. He is married with children.

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