UK names diplomat Richard Moore as new MI6 spy chief

Moore served as British ambassador to Turkey from January 2014 to December 2017. (Twitter pic/ukpoldirrichard)

LONDON: Britain named diplomat Richard Moore as the new chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, the foreign spy service known as MI6.

Moore, director-general of political affairs at the Foreign Office who previously served as a director in MI6 and as a deputy national security adviser, will take up his role in the autumn, replacing current chief Alex Younger.

“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,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Wednesday.

Moore served as British ambassador to Turkey from January 2014 to December 2017. Born in Libya, he studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Oxford University and was a Kennedy Scholar at Harvard.

“I am pleased and honoured to be asked to return to lead my Service,” Moore, who first joined MI6 in 1987, said. “I look forward to continuing that work alongside the brave and dedicated team at SIS.”

Married with 2 children, he lists his interests as golf, hiking, scuba-diving, Turkish carpets and porcelain, and visiting historical sites.

Younger has served as MI6 chief since November 2014. He stayed on longer than is usual to ensure stability through the political tumult of the Brexit negotiations.

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.