With the agreement of Prime Minister David Cameron, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has announced that Alex Younger is appointed as successor to Sir John Sawers as Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service. Younger will take up the appointment in November.
The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), often known as MI6, collects Britain’s foreign intelligence. The Service is based at Vauxhall Cross in London and provides Her Majesty’s Government with a global covert capability to promote and defend the national security and economic well-being of the United Kingdom.
Philip Hammond stated: “I’m pleased to announce that Alex Younger has been appointed as the next Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service. The work of MI6 is world class and its operation vital to the safety and security of the United Kingdom. Alex brings a wealth of relevant experience to the role, including his work in Afghanistan and helping keep the country safe during the London 2012 Olympics.”
Hammond added: “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.”
Commenting on his appointment, Alex Younger said: “I’m delighted and honoured to become Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service 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’m looking forward to co-operating very closely.”
Younger also commented: “I would like to pay tribute to John Sawers for his lifetime’s dedication to the country and particularly to his time as Chief of MI6. He brought us into a new era, and I’m determined to build on this and bring my ideas for a modern Service to life.”
In response, 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 the SIS and ensuring that the Service is in the best possible shape to play its part in defending the country’s security and our values.”
Alex Younger: the Curriculum Vitae
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. Younger has held 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 2012 Olympic Games.
Before joining the Service, Younger – an economics graduate – served as an officer in the British Army.