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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,[1][2] succeeding Sir John Sawers on his retirement.[3] In April 2019, the Government extended Younger's contract to maintain stability through the Brexit negotiations,[4] a move which would make him the longest serving MI6 chief in 50 years.[5]

Sir Alex Younger

Alex Younger.gif
Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service
Assumed office
1 November 2014
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Theresa May
Boris Johnson
Preceded bySir John Sawers
Personal details
Alexander William Younger

(1963-07-04) 4 July 1963 (age 56)
Westminster, London, England
Sarah Hopkins (m. 1993)
EducationMarlborough College
Alma materUniversity of St Andrews
Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
OccupationIntelligence officer
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Branch/service British Army
Years of service1986–1990


Early lifeEdit

Younger was born in Westminster, London on 4 July 1963.[6] He was educated at Marlborough College and graduated from the University of St Andrews with a degree in economics.[7][8] He married Sarah Hopkins in Borgo a Mozzano, Tuscany in 1993.[9][10]


Military serviceEdit

Younger 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).[11] 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.[12][13]

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.[14] He was promoted to captain on 5 April 1989.[15] On 10 April 1990, he transferred to the Regular Army Reserve of Officers, thereby ending his active military service.[16]

Intelligence workEdit

Younger joined SIS in 1991.[2] He joined the service at the same time as Richard Tomlinson, who in his book The Big Breach, portrayed him as 'Spencer', a St Andrews graduate and former Scots Guard who was recruited while working for the Halo Trust in Afghanistan.[17]

Younger 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.[18]

In a leaked list of 160 MI6 agents - which was originally believed to have been released by Richard Tomlinson, although government officials subsequently "acknowledged that the list did not come from Mr Tomlinson" - Alex Younger is mentioned as having been posted to Vienna in 1995.[19]

As of 2015, Younger was paid a salary of between £160,000 and £164,999 by SIS, making him one of the 328 most highly paid people in the British public sector at that time.[20]

In 2016 Younger said cyber-attacks, propaganda and subversion from hostile states pose a “fundamental threat” to European democracies including the UK. In a rare speech by an MI6 chief while in office, Younger did not specifically name Russia, but left no doubt that this was the target of his remarks. Russia has since been accused of interfering in the US presidential election and there are concerns it attempted to do so in French and German elections in 2017.[21][22]

In December 2018, Younger raised questions about Huawei's role in the UK's new 5G mobile network.[23]

Personal lifeEdit

On 30 March 2019, Younger's son, Sam, was killed in a motoring accident in Stirlingshire.[24]



  1. ^ "Appointment of the new Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6)". GOV.UK. Press releases. Her Majesty's Government. 3 October 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  2. ^ a b "MI6 officer Alex Younger named as new SIS chief". BBC News. 3 October 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  3. ^ MacAskill, Ewen; Norton-Taylor, Richard (26 June 2014). "MI6 chief Sir John Sawers to step down". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  4. ^ Evans, Michael (13 February 2019). "MI6 chief Alex Younger set to stay in post over Brexit fears". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
  5. ^ Coughlin, Con (12 April 2019). "Alex Younger agrees to become the longest serving MI6 chief in 50 years". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
  6. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  7. ^ "MI6 'C' Delivers Rare Public Speech at St Andrews University". 3 December 2018. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  8. ^ Pettifor, Tom (8 December 2016). "Everything you need to know about Britain's top spy Alex Younger as he warns of ISIS threat". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  9. ^ ‘YOUNGER, Alexander William’, Who's Who 2014, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2014
  10. ^ Younger, Alexandra (14 February 1994). "Wilder shores of love: Five couples who went abroad to get married tell their stories to Alexandra Younger". The Independent. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  11. ^ "No. 50733". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 December 1986. p. 15534.
  12. ^ "No. 50813". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 January 1987. p. 1079.
  13. ^ "No. 50907". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 May 1987. p. 5856.
  14. ^ "No. 50965". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 June 1987. p. 7669.
  15. ^ "No. 51696". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 April 1989. p. 4292.
  16. ^ "No. 52138". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 May 1990. p. 9158.
  17. ^ Tomlinson, Richard. The Big Breach (PDF). p. 31. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  18. ^ Evans, Michael; Haynes, Deborah (3 October 2014). "Games anti terror chief Alex Younger named as Britain's new top spy". The Times. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  19. ^ Du Chateau, Carroll (30 June 2000). "Outcast: the spy who wants to spill the beans". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  20. ^ "Senior officials 'high earners' salaries as at 30 September 2015 - GOV.UK". 17 December 2015. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  21. ^ MacAskill, Ewen (8 December 2016). "Hostile states pose 'fundamental threat' to Europe, says MI6 chief". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  22. ^ Noack, Rick (10 January 2018). "Everything we know so far about Russian election meddling in Europe". The Washington Post. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  23. ^ "BBC News: Huawei: 'Deep concerns' over firm's role in UK 5G upgrade". BBC News. 27 December 2018.
  24. ^ "MI6 chief's son dies in crash on private Stirlingshire estate". Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  25. ^ "No. 59808". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 2011. p. 3.
  26. ^ "No. 62666". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 June 2019. p. B3.
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir John Sawers
Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service
November 2014–