Sir Alexander William Younger
Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service
2014 to date
Photo: Courtesy of the London Evening Standard
Sir Alexander William Younger KCMG (born 4 July 1963) is a career British intelligence officer for the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) who, since November 2014, has served as the Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, succeeding Sir John Sawers on his retirement. In April 2019, the Government extended Sir Alex's contract to maintain stability through the Brexit negotiations, a move which would make him the longest-serving MI6 chief in 50 years.
Sir Alex was sponsored by the British Army through university. He was commissioned into the Royal Scots on 5 September 1986 as a second lieutenant (on probation). As a University Candidate he was a full-time student at university and trained in his spare time. On 10 December 1986, he transferred to the Scots Guards. On 16 June 1987, his commission was confirmed and dated to 5 September 1986; this signified the start of his full-time military service. He was granted seniority in the rank of second lieutenant from 9 April 1983. He was promoted to lieutenant, which was back dated to 5 September 1986, and was granted seniority from 9 April 1985. He was promoted to captain on 5 April 1989. On 10 April 1990, he transferred to the Regular Army Reserve of Officers, thereby ending his active military service. Sir Alex joined SIS in 1991. Sir Alex served in the Middle East and Afghanistan. He became head of counter-intelligence in 2009, in which role he was involved in security for the London Olympics 2012. He became Deputy Director in 2012, before being nominated as Chief in October 2014.
In December 2018 Sir Alex gave a rare speech at the University of St Andrews, making emphasis of the need for fourth-generation espionage and fusing human skills with technical innovation. This was the second public speech in the four years since his appointment as "C" of the MI6. During the speech Younger addressed the case of Matthew Hedges, British university student who was arrested in Dubai and later convicted of being the Captain of British MI6, in which capacity he allegedly worked as an undercover agent in the UAE. Younger said he was perplexed by what has happened and that there are some frank conversations ahead between Britain and the UAE. Hedges was later pardoned by UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and reunited with his wife in the UK.
Sir Alex is passionate about helping charitable causes and has helped to raise money for Help for Heroes, The Poppy Factory charity, Sea Cadets Foundation, The Royal British Legion, Women's Royal Naval Service Benevolent Trust, The Officers' Association, SAS Regimental Association, SAS Clocktower Foundation, Forces Pension Society and other charities.
Previous Chiefs of the Secret Intelligence Service
Captain Sir Mansfield Smith-Cumming, RN
Admiral Sir Hugh Sinclair
Major-General Sir Stewart Menzies
Major-General Sir John Sinclair
Sir Richard White
Sir John Rennie
Sir Maurice Oldfield
Sir Arthur (Dickie) Franks
Sir Colin Figures
Sir Christopher Curwen
Sir Colin McColl
Sir David Spedding
Sir Richard Dearlove
Sir John Scarlett
Sir John Sawers
t: Sir Alex Younger