Richard Moore named new MI6 chief

New 'C' served as an agent in the Secret Intelligence Service before becoming an ambassador

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Wednesday 29 July 2020 17:29 BST
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The new head of MI6, Richard Moore
The new head of MI6, Richard Moore

MI6’s new “C” has been named with the appointment of career spy and former diplomat Richard Moore to replace Sir Alex Younger when he steps down as chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) in the autumn.

Mr Moore previously served as an intelligence officer in MI6, joining the agency in 1987 and rising to director level, and was also ambassador to Turkey and deputy national security adviser in the Cabinet Office. Since 2018, he has held the senior post of director general for political affairs at the Foreign Office.

Announcing his appointment, the Foreign Office said only that his previous SIS service had involved “a range of roles across the service both in the UK and overseas”.

The foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, said: “I am delighted to appoint Richard as the next chief of the Secret Intelligence Service. He returns to SIS with tremendous experience and will oversee the work of a group of men and women whose tireless efforts are rarely seen in public, but which are critical for the security and prosperity of the UK.

“I pay tribute to Sir Alex Younger for everything he has done during his time leading the Secret Intelligence Service. He has carefully and effectively guided the service during a time of increased and more diverse threats.”

Mr Moore said: “I am pleased and honoured to be asked to return to lead my service. SIS plays a vital role – with MI5 and GCHQ – in keeping the British people safe and promoting UK interests overseas. I look forward to continuing that work alongside the brave and dedicated team at SIS.”

Sir Alex said he was “delighted” by the appointment of his successor, who he described as “a highly accomplished intelligence officer”, adding: “We look forward to welcoming him back to the Service.”

Sir Alex’s six-year tenure was the longest of any SIS chief for 50 years, after the usual five-year posting was extended by a year to take him past the UK’s departure from the EU. It was marked by the normally publicity-shy “C” speaking out about the danger of cyberattacks and digital propaganda from hostile states such as Russia and raising questions about how “comfortable” the UK could be in its telecommunications network being reliant on technology from China’s Huawei.

Born in Libya, Mr Moore has two children with his wife, Maggie, and outside work his interests include playing golf and watching cricket and rugby. He speaks fluent Turkish.

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