Sir John Scarlett KCMG OBE served as chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS or MI6) from 2004–2009. He joined SIS in 1971 and over the next 20 years served in Nairobi, Paris, and twice in Moscow, as well as several assignments in London covering the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Soviet Union. His second time in Moscow (1991–1994) coincided with the end of the USSR and the early years of the Russian Federation. In 2001 he retired from SIS on appointment as chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) in the Cabinet Office. He rejoined SIS as head of the service in 2004. Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, Scarlett shares insights on the geopolitical hot spots of the world and cyber security.
Head of the Service. In August 2004, Scarlett rejoined SIS as its chief. As head of the service, he was responsible for the management of resources, the conduct of operations, and advice to the government during a period of major shifts in the global balance of power and significant global uncertainty and risk from international terrorism, regional instability, and potential conflict. He retired in 2009 after 38 years in government service.
Before running the SIS, Scarlett took up an appointment at the JIC – six days before 9/11. During the following three years, he was responsible for the co-ordination and presentation of intelligence advice to the Prime Minister and senior members of the government and reinforcing links with his counterparts in America.
Life Post MI6. Since leaving SIS he has become a senior advisor at Morgan Stanley. He is chairman of the strategy advisory council at Statoil and a member of the advisory boards at Swiss Re and PricewaterhouseCoopers. He is a director of Times Newspaper Holdings, senior associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), honorary visiting professor at the University of Exeter, chairman of the Bletchley Park Trust and a trustee of the Imperial War Museum. Other trusteeships include the Royal Medical Foundation of Epsom College, the Friends of the French Institute, London and the Defence, and National Rehabilitation Centre (DNRC).
Sir John Scarlett was appointed OBE (Officer of the British Empire) in 1987, CMG (Commander of Saint Michael and Saint George) in 2001, and KCMG in 2007. In 2011, he was appointed Officier of the Légion d’Honneur. He was born in 1948 in London and educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, where, in 1970, he was awarded First Class Honours in modern history. He is fluent in French and Russian.
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