Oxford-educated career diplomat Richard Moore has taken over as ‘C’ – the new head of MI6.
Moore, 57, joined MI6 in 1987, just four years before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
While there he ‘undertook a range of roles across the Service both in the UK and overseas,’ according to his official profile.
He is currently the director general of political affairs at the Foreign Office.
An accomplished spy and well respected across Britain’s intelligence community, Moore served in various senior diplomatic and security roles before winning MI6’s top job, which he will take up from Alex Younger in the autumn.
Richard Moore (pictured above), director general of political affairs at the Foreign Office, will take up his role as MI6 chief in the autumn, replacing current head Alex Younger
Moore has frequently shared photographs of him and his wife Maggie (pictured) on social media. They have been married since 1985
The next head of the Secret Intelligence Service 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.’
Moore’s brief official biography says he was born in Libya and is married with two children.
It reads: ‘Outside of work, Richard’s interests include playing golf and watching cricket and rugby,’ says the biography. He speaks fluent Turkish.’
He was educated at St George’s College in Surrey – a Roman Catholic school – before reading philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford University.
Moore’s brief official biography says he was born in Libya and is married (pictured with wife Maggie) with two children
Mrs Moore (right), while still in school, met her husband (left) while on a pilgrimage to Lourdes
We went onto study at the Kennedy School of Government in Harvard University via a scholarship for British graduates of universities in the UK.
Moore has frequently shared photographs of him and his wife Maggie on social media. They have been married since 1985.
Mrs Moore – who is visually impaired – was part of the inspiration behind the first guide dog partnership in Turkey.
She told local media: ‘Having a guide dog by your side goes beyond having a pet.
‘You are a working team, but Star is also my companion, my buddy.
‘For me, being independent is really important, particularly if I want to go out on my own.’
She lost about 90 per cent of her vision at the age of ten due to juvenile macular degeneration – a term denoting multiple inherited and uncommon diseases.
Mrs Moore, while still in school, met her husband while on a pilgrimage to Lourdes, she told BBC Radio 4. She said Mr Moore – who she dubs her ‘little miracle’ – was the team leader in the hotel where she stayed.
He appears to be the first MI6 boss with an active Twitter account.
Outgoing MI6 chief Younger said: ‘I am delighted by this appointment. Richard is a highly accomplished intelligence officer and we look forward to welcoming him back to the service.’
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab appointed the former intelligence officer, who worked for the SIS in the UK and overseas, to become the new chief with the agreement of the Prime Minister.
Mr Raab said on Wednesday: ‘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.’
Outgoing MI6 chief Sir Alex Younger, pictured above, said he is ‘delighted’ by the appointment, adding: ‘Richard is a highly accomplished intelligence officer’
MI6, depicted by novelists as the employer of some of the most memorable fictional spies, from John le Carré’s George Smiley to Ian Fleming’s James Bond, operates overseas and is tasked with defending Britain and its interests.
The current SIS chief, Younger, has served since November 2014.
Younger’s predecessors Sir John Sawers, Sir John Scarlett and Sir Richard Dearlove all left the role within five years – but Younger stayed on longer than is usual to ensure stability through the political tumult of the Brexit negotiations.
Younger identified cyber-security as a top priority for Britain during his term, describing the internet as ‘an existential threat’ to intelligence work in a rare public address in 2016.
He has also raised concern about the safety of China’s private telecoms giant Huawei, which Britain this month decided to phase out of its 5G network.
Mr Raab said Younger ‘carefully and effectively guided the service during a time of increased and more diverse threats.’
Other possible candidates for one of the top jobs in Western intelligence were Karen Pierce, Britain’s ambassador to the United States, and Tom Hurd, an interior ministry security official.
A general view of the MI6 building in Vauxhall, London. The Secret Intelligence Service operates overseas and is tasked with defending Britain and its interests (file photo)
Having first joined MI6 in 1987, Mr Moore went on to serve as the UK’s ambassador to Turkey between 2014 and 2017.
His FCO profile also says he has had postings in Vietnam and Turkey between 1990 and 1992, as well as in Pakistan and Malaysia.
Moore was appointed his role at the Foreign Office in April 2018.
Beforehand he was Director for Europe, Latin America and Globalisation between 2010 and 2012, and Director for Programmes and Change between 2008 and 2010, previously being posted to Vietnam, Turkey, Pakistan and Malaysia.
Born in Libya, Moore attended Oxford University to study a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics and took part in the Stanford Executive Programme in 2007.